Scripted television these days is not the immutable experience it once was—it’s subject to the whims of its audience, and sometimes changes in response to viewers’ feedback or internet blowback. Generally, however, the audience doesn’t literally make those changes itself.
But that’s what some intrepid fanboys of HBO’s Game of Thrones believe needs to happen in order to fix the show’s widely loathed storyline, in the sun-dappled region of Dorne. They started a Kickstarter project to write, produce, and distribute ”replacement” scenes for Dorne, and are asking for $20 million to do so.
Introduced in season five of the show last year, Dorne is a kingdom in the south of the show’s fictional world, Westeros, inspired loosely by Spain (though Dornish accents seem to range from vaguely Eastern European to Middle Eastern). Critics and fans have noted that its characters are poorly drawn and have indecipherable motivations. Their dialogue, for the most part, is incredibly cheesy—one character calls another a “greedy bitch” after she selfishly skewers a young prince through the face with a spear, rather than letting the other kill him.
For many Thrones fans, these miscues are especially egregious because they totally diverge from George R.R. Martin’s source novels, A Song of Ice and Fire. To fix them, the crowd-funders want to film their own alternative scenes that viewers can watch instead of the Dorne scenes from the HBO show, a plan they describe using the techy language of coders:
Our plan is to create a “patch” for Game of Thrones season five’s Dorne storyline with our own fairly interesting and competently executed alternative plot. Once we finish with our promised delivery of season five, we will continue as far as the rest of our funding will take us into season six and beyond. Enthusiasts will rejoice to know that these scenes will “plug and play” with the existing episodes, meaning that all they have to do is watch the episodes as usual on HBOGO or blu-ray, pause whenever the show’s “Dorne” comes on, and play the next supplemental scene in its place before skipping to the end.
The project is organized by Dave Panfilo, who “wrote one-third of the trivia questions for the officially licensed Game of Thrones trivia board game,” and Sean Ireland, a “film producer and first AD [assistant director].” The Kickstarter was first spotted by New York Magazine.
If they raise $20 million, they promise to deliver the replacement scenes by May 2018, barring any “dramatic legal hurdles.” For $20.5 million, they will “try to hire” Alexander Siddig, who plays Doran Martell—the ruling prince of Dorne who was (spoilers!) murdered in the first episode of season six.
As of today (May 11), the fund has raised about $13,000. Only 99.9% left to go!
Even if they raise the target amount, these Thrones fans may discover that not everything can be fixed with money. Game of Thrones, which costs about $10 million per episode, has probably put untold millions of dollars into its Dorne storyline already. Not to mention, the idea of watching Game of Thrones and then having to “plug and play” the alternative scenes before going back to the HBO show to finish an episode sounds just as unappealing as simply dealing with the Dorne storyline as it currently exists—even if that means accepting that it just isn’t very good.
This kind of thing happens. Good shows have bad moments. All the time. That $20 million should probably go to something more useful, like coaxing Martin to actually finish the next book in his series.