Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin has revealed that the last four seasons of HBO’s live-action adaptation of his work were produced almost entirely without his input, as by that point, he had been left “out of the loop” by series showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.
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Martin spoke briefly to the seemingly intentional efforts to detach him from the series during a recent interview given to The New York Times in promotion of the upcoming premiere of HBO’s House of the Dragon.
Speaking to an admission made by the Game of Thrones prequel’s co-showrunner Ryan Condal in the same interview that he readily and heavily on Martin’s insight while creating the series, the author noted that their working partnership was much the opposite of his with Benioff and Weiss in the original series’ later seasons, as “by Season 5 and 6, and certainly 7 and 8, I was pretty much out of the loop.”
Asked by NYT media reporter John Koblin if he had any idea as to why he believed Benioff and Weiss had chosen to seemingly force him out of his own creation, Martin simply asserted, “I don’t know — you have to ask Dan and David.”
According to Koblin, when reached, a representative for the two showrunners declined to provide a comment on Martin’s claims.
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Martin’s description of a degrading partnership between him, Benioff, and Weiss echoes a similar recollection put forth by his representative, Paul Haas, for James Andrew Miller’s book, Tinderbox: HBO’s Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers.
“George loves Dan and Dave, but after Season 5 he did start to worry about the path they were [going down] because George knows where the story goes,” said Haas. “He started saying, ‘You’re not following my template.’ The first five seasons stuck to George’s roadmap. Then they went off George’s roadmap.”
Notably, the aforementioned roadmap provided by Martin was not just a mere scribbling of various notes, but rather a full-blown exploration of the A Song of Ice and Fire’s future and how he planned to get there.
“Last year [Dan and I] went out to Santa Fe for a week to sit down with [Martin] and just talk through where things are going, because we don’t know if we are going to catch up and where exactly that would be,” Benioff told Vanity Fair in 2014.
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“If you know the ending, then you can lay the groundwork for it,” he added. “And so we want to know how everything ends. We want to be able to set things up. So we just sat down with him and literally went through every character.”
The next year, Martin would announce via his personal blog that he had made the decision “not to script an episode for season six of GAME OF THRONES” in order to focus on finishing the still-unreleased next book in the series, Winds of Winter.
“Writing a script takes me three weeks, minimum, and longer when it is not a straight adaptation from the novels,” the author elaborated. “And really, it would cost me more time than that, since I have never been good at changing gears from one medium to another and back again.”
“Writing a season six script would cost me a month’s work on WINDS, and maybe as much as six weeks, and I cannot afford that,” he concluded. “With David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, and Bryan Cogman on board, the scriptwriting chores for season six should be well covered. My energies are best devoted to WINDS.”
Martin’s latest admission comes just a few short weeks after the author expressed his desire to avoid having his career end up like “Stan Lee’s at the end”.
“He had no power, no influence,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “He wasn’t writing any stories. He couldn’t say, ‘Don’t do this character.’ He was just a friendly person they brought to conventions and who did cameos. To be sidelined on the world and characters that you created, that would be tough.”
House of the Dragon premieres on HBO on August 21st, 2022.
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