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In this category I do have a horse in the race, obviously: the first season of HBO's series GAME OF THRONES. So it goes without saying that, if you enjoyed the show and think it worthy, I'd be most pleased if you included it amongst your nominations.

However, it is not quite that simple. So, a little background for those who are maybe new to the Hugo Awards and the nomination process.

First off, what the hell is a "dramatic presentation," you may ask. Well, most of the time, it is a television show or a feature film. But the category is actually broader than that. It was named "dramatic presentation" rather than "best tv and film" way back when to suggest that. And indeed, over the years, radio series, albums, live theater, and even convention slide shows have been nominated. A few have even won. That's rare, however. Nine years out of ten, the category is all about television and film.

Secondly, there are actually TWO categories. Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form and Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form. For most of the long history of the award, that was not true. There was only one category, and TV shows and movies competed against one another for the Hugo. With the occasional interloper in the form of a radio series or slide show. Most of the time, a movie won, but that made some of the television folks unhappy, so they started showing up at the worldcon business meeting year after year to try to split the award. That effort was defeated a whole bunch of times, until finally one day it wasn't. And the split was ratified the next year, so now we have the two categories.

Given the realities, it might have been simpler to call the new categories "Best Film" and "Best Television Show," but of course that would have excluded the radio series, live theatre, etc, so instead we have the split we have. And there's wiggle room there too. It call comes down to RUNNING TIME, not budget, means of distribution, etc. So in theory, a eighty-minute-long feature film could be nominated in Short Form, and a long television movie or miniseries... or season... can be nominated in Long Form. The break comes at ninety minutes.

And to how all of this impacts GAME OF THRONES... well, it makes it complicated.

As I understand the rules -- (and I know there are SMOFs who read this Not A Blog, so if I get anything wrong, please step in and correct me) -- the HBO series is eligible for nomination in both categories.

You can nominate the entire first season of GAME OF THRONES, which had a running time of ten hours, in Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form. Considering it as one long story. Which it was, kinda, being an adaptation of the first of my Ice & Fire novels. Should the show make the ballot in Long Form, it would most likely be competing for the award against four major motion pictures.

Or, you can nominate the show in Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form, the usual TV category, where it will vie against other TV shows. However, for this category, you need to nominate INDIVIDUAL EPISODES. If you just write GAME OF THRONES on your nomination form in Short Form, your nomination will not be counted. You need to list an episode title.

FYI, here are the season one episodes:
101 Winter Is Coming (written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss)
102 The Kingroad (written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss)
103 Lord Snow (written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss)
104 Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things (written by Bryan Cogman)
105 The Wolf and the Lion (written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss)
106 A Golden Crown (written by Jane Espenson and David Benioff & D.B. Weiss)
107 You Win or You Die (written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss)
108 The Pointy End (written by George R.R. Martin)
109 Baelor (written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss)
110 Fire and Blood (written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss)

There is nothing in the rules to prevent more than one episode from the same show from making the ballot, if they receive sufficient nominations. In theory, one series could have two, three, or four nominees, or even fill up all five slots on the ballot. I do not believe that has actually happened in recent times, though DR. WHO had three nominations just a few years ago, I recall, and way back when, I believe there was a year when the original STAR TREK monopolized the entire ballot, in a year when there were no good SF movies.

What's less clear (to me) is whether a show can be nominated in both Long Form and Short Form. THAT has never happened,and I don't believe it's allowed to. I suspect that if the series as a whole gets sufficient votes to make the Long Form ballot, while one or more individual episodes place among the top five in Short Form, we'll end up in one category or the other, but not both. However, I have no idea who actually gets to make that choice. Is it prescribed by the Hugo Rules? Is it a judgement call to be made by Chicon's 7 Hugo administrators? Or will someone connected to the series need to make the decision? David and Dan, perhaps. Or HBO.

I do know it won't be ME who makes the call, and for that I am grateful. It is by no means an easy choice. In Long Form, we'd be competing against some major feature films (HUGO, if it is considered fantasy, is probably the favorite, and I have to admit there's something cool about the idea of HUGO winning a Hugo). In Short Form, any GOT episodes to make the ballot would be up against episodes of all the other SF and fantasy shows now on the air... and in particular against DR. WHO, which has been the unstoppable juggernaut in the category since Short Form was calved off, winning year after year after year.

Of course, all this could be moot. The two Dramatic Presentation categories, along with Best Novel ('the Big One') are the categories that get the largest number of nominations, so unless a lot of people nominate the HBO series, it may not get on the ballot at all.

That, of course, is up to you. All I can do is explain these arcane rules, and keep my fingers crossed.


Jan. 25th, 2012 08:30 pm (UTC)
Hi George,

I've certainly felt very strongly that the series should be nominated as a whole in the Long Form category - apart from anything else, the narrative is so tightly intertwined between episodes that it seems invidious to select one or two or three of them and leave out the rest - and I certainly intend to put it down in that category.

It is worth pointing out that (as I understand it only those who join the Worldcon before 31 January (or were members of last year's Worldcon) will get to nominate, though those who join later will get to vote even if they don't nominate.
Jan. 26th, 2012 12:03 am (UTC)
Due to a change in the WSFS constitution that was ratified last year, persons who get memberships to next years Worldcon - LoneStarCon 3 - prior to January 31 will also be eligible to nominate.

However, only members of Chicon 7 will be eligible to vote on the final ballot for the Hugo Awards.
Jan. 25th, 2012 09:02 pm (UTC)
The WSFS Constitution suggests the Worldcon Committee will determine eligibility and proper category for a work, and I'm pretty sure there's a bit here about not having a work in two categories. So I guess they'd be the ones to decide, somehow. I think maybe if multiple individual GoT episodes make the cut, they'll probably go with Short Presentation rather than Long.

As for nominating it as a Long Presentation, I'm not sure how many people will go for it. I recall efforts to get the first season of Heroes nominated as a long presentation (after all, each episode started with a chapter number), and I don't think that worked -- people just treated it as a Short Presentation.

It certainly is possible to nominate in both categories, though, and then let the Worldcon Committee figure it out. For individual episodes, "Baelor" is probably going to get the most nominations, but I think "The Pointy End", "Fire and Blood", and perhaps "The Wolf and the Lion" would be very good choices as well.

Although, that said, I think the show has the best shot at winning in the Long Presentation category. Neil Gaiman's Doctor Who episode joins two groups of fans with strong representation at your typical Worldcon -- I'll eat my hat if it doesn't take Short Presentation.
Jan. 25th, 2012 09:19 pm (UTC)
No, Season One of Heroes made the 2008 ballot in Long Form, but lost to Stardust, an adaptation of a Neil Gaiman book.

As I understand it, the Hugo Administrator makes the category decision, usually with substantial influence on how many nominations were made in each category. As a different example, there's actually some wiggle room in the definitions with respect to run time, such that there's around a 10 minute run time spread where a single thing is technically eligible for both categories. In that case, if it got 30 nominations for Long Form and 20 for Short Form (and those numbers would put it on both final ballots), the administrator should, barring other considerations, put it in Long Form due to the voters having made their preference clear.

One problem is that it's not considered kosher for the administrator to make a ruling in advance, as some folk consider any mention of a specific possible nominee by the administrator to give it an advantage due to having been mentioned while other possible nominees weren't. I disagree with this, but in practice you won't see any clarifications in advance.

I suppose it would be possible for the "owner" of an item to withdraw it from consideration for one or the other categories, but at this relatively late date with respect to nominations, I wouldn't recommend doing so.
Jan. 26th, 2012 12:16 am (UTC)
Ah, there goes my memory. Should have looked it up.

Thanks to the official Hugo Awards site, I found the vote and nomination breakdowns. My memory was completely wrong on this -- in fact, fans who nominated clearly listened to the discussions on-line and seem to have decided en mass to nominate it in Long Form.

Only a single episode got onto the nomination long list, and that with just 8 nominations -- in fact, it looks like people actively avoided nominating individual episodes, perhaps for fear that if a particular episode had too many nominations, the administrators might place the show in the short category.
Jan. 25th, 2012 10:10 pm (UTC)
Dr. Who - Westeros Crossover!
Well, George, if you are competing against an unbeatable juggernaut like Dr. Who, and you can't beat him, then join him!

I think a Dr. Who-Westeros Crossover episode would be fun and I'm sure others would as well! Who doesn't love the Dr. and aSoIaF? It'd have to be a little tongue-in-cheek, obviously, but why not have the Doctor travel to the distant past of Westeros and drop in on Valyria or something! The Doctor is always traveling to fantastic realms and nothing is more fantastic than Westeros!
Jan. 26th, 2012 12:01 am (UTC)
Without revealing any inner secrets, I can report that the Hugo Award administrator is already aware of the possibility of Game of Thrones receiving nominations in both Dramatic Presentation categories, and has a strategy for dealing with it.
(no subject) - Joseph Emery - Jan. 26th, 2012 04:01 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 26th, 2012 03:15 am (UTC)
[Advance notice: Although I'm Chairman of the WSFS Mark Protection Committee and a member of the Hugo Awards Marketing Committee, I have nothing to do with the administration of the 2012 Hugo Awards, which is solely Chicon 7's responsibility. My opinions here are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Chicon 7 or any group of which I a member. I say this because there are people who have confused the promotion of the Hugo Awards and the protection of the Hugo Award service mark to be the same thing as the administration of those awards, and it's not.]

It would help a lot if you, George, would express a definitive opinion about whether GAME OF THRONES Series 1 is one long story or ten short ones. Not where you'd rather see it competing, but where you think it falls dramatically. (You seem to be leaning toward "one long work.") That would give the voters (and the administrators) some guidance should it be needed.

In general, administrators are unlikely to let both individual episodes and the series as a whole onto the ballot in the short and long form categories in the same year. They will try to listen to the will of the voters, but there is considerable resistance to having the same works be in two categories simultaneously.

Personally, it "feels" like a single long-form work to me, and that's where I think it's best nominated. If, like Heroes Series 1, almost every nomination is there, it makes it much easier to administer and doesn't put the Administrator in an position where no matter how the ruling goes, someone is going to be outraged.
John Pula
Jan. 26th, 2012 12:51 pm (UTC)
It seems like should your fans want to nominate in the "Short Form" category, there ought to be a rally around 1 (or 2) episodes. I can't nominate, but "Winter is Coming" or "Fire and Blood" seem logical, being the opening or closing of the season, respectively. However, "Baelor" had the interwebs quite astir with the surprise (that I suspect all the readers here saw coming).
Jan. 26th, 2012 05:02 pm (UTC)
Anyone can nominate, fwiw. All you need to do is join the con before January 31. It doesn't even need to be the expensive attending membership. A supporting membership includes voting privileges, and is much cheaper.
Jan. 28th, 2012 10:16 pm (UTC)
another goodie for being a supporting membership
when the final ballot is announced, the writers/publishers of many of the fiction and non-fiction works allow them to be included in a e-text format bundled exclusively for the members of the WorldCon. The cost and time involved in finding all the nominees, especially in the shorter fiction categories, would be greater than the cost of a supporting membership, and allows for greater readership of the nominees works.

You also receive the publications of the WorldCon, which includes the usually excellent program book which includes appreciations of the GoHs, art by the Artist GoH, and other interesting aspects of that year's WorldCon.

Quite a bargain, actually.
Jan. 26th, 2012 10:14 pm (UTC)

Can't say I am very good in math but I do know the following is an absolute:


ALso thanks for the primer on the HUGO ballot - while I did not find it all that difficult I can see where some others may be confused (especially virgins - ha ha).

Jan. 26th, 2012 10:40 pm (UTC)
Re: HUGO!!!
1000% agree. If the show doesn't take it home, we know something's crooked.

I've always wanted a hugo myself, though they are a little phallic for my taste...
Jan. 28th, 2012 10:23 pm (UTC)
Re: HUGO!!!
not crooked, the Hugo Awards committee is notoriously tight-lipped and honest.

What it would mean is that not enough members of the WorldCon decided to nominate and then vote for ADWD, or the show or other categories that the HBO show or George is eligible.

He's too modest to note this, but since it's the 25th anniversary of the first published WILD CARDS anthology, the longest running shared world in the genre, I'll note George is also eligible for Best Editor, Short Form, for the Wild CARDS books published in 2011 and for the other anthologies he edited that were also published in 2011. His editor at Bantam, Anne Groell, is also eligible for nomination in the Best Editor Long Form category.
Jan. 29th, 2012 07:09 pm (UTC)
Re: HUGO!!!
Thanks so much for pointing that out (I'll note George is also eligible for Best Editor, Short Form, for the Wild CARDS books published in 2011 and for the other anthologies he edited that were also published in 2011.) That is a category that could be easily missed when completing the ballot.

Those of us who have lived in the world of "Wild Cards" for many years would certainly want to have an opportunity to have this outstanding series (where so many people have made contributions) recognized. I would also imagine it may encourage others who have not done so in the past to give Wild Cards a try.

Thank you for noting this on the blog.

p.s. as a funny aside - I have ordered bumper stickers "This is George's Year" and am planning on handing them out to my friends as many of us have been big fan's of Mr. Martin for many years.
Jan. 27th, 2012 01:39 am (UTC)
Done and done, before you posted. (Short form, Pointy End)
Christopher Blake
Jan. 28th, 2012 02:20 pm (UTC)
Next book!
Just got finished with Dance, checking back through the print dates, and seeing potentially terrible news. The last few books are going YEARS between publishing. I'm going to lose my mind if the next two planned take that long!

The show got me into the books, and the books are now an addiction. Thank you for being such a superb writer!


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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