In the lead-up to the "True Blood" finale, HBO aired clips of a bunch of its upcoming shows. Most of those are set to debut very soon, like "Boardwalk Empire," but one won't be premiering until sometime in 2011: "Game of Thrones," the lavish adaptation of George R.R. Martin's fantasy novels. We saw two clips, and HBO also unveiled a new making-of website. For those who didn't have their HBO tonight, I'll have the two clips after the jump, along with a thought or three about "Game of Thrones" and how I may approach it.

Despite the best efforts of Mo Ryan, James Poniewozik and various other geeky friends, critic or otherwise, to get me to crack open the Martin books, I haven't yet been able to find the time. (Or, in some cases, the space in my carry-on luggage. Those puppies are large.) I had hoped to at least sample the first book before the series started, but now I'm starting to wonder if I might be better off just leaving the books aside and watching and reviewing the show as a show, and not an adaptation. Obviously, every adaptation has to be judged on its own merits to an extent; faithfulness to the source material doesn't matter if the work isn't entertaining, right? If I skip the books, I imagine I'll be missing out on a lot of nuance, but if the show doesn't work without my ability to fill in the blanks, then something's gone wrong, because HBO isn't just making this for fans of the books.

But we still have some time (and probably one or two more road trips/flights/etc. in which I can do some hardcore reading) before I have to decide. In the meantime, the clips: 

The first clip, "Raven":

 

 

The second clip, a behind-the-scenes look: