In the latest sign that the author’s fear of losing control over his own franchise has already come to pass, George R.R. Martin has revealed that he feels more consequential to the Game of Thrones spin-off series House of the Dragon than he did over the latter seasons of HBO’s original adaptation of his books, which he says he made “no contribution” to outside of “inventing the world, the story and all the characters.”
The author spoke to his eventual detachment from the original Game of Thrones during a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal given ahead of House of the Dragon’s August 21st premiere.
Reflecting on the series’ failure to stick its landing, Martin told the outlet that he “had no contribution to the later seasons except, you know, inventing the world, the story and all the characters.”
“I believe I have more influence now than I did on the original show,” he further asserted.
In an example of this lack of influence, Martin recalled how despite the insistence of both himself and HBO, original series showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss chose to end Game of Thrones after eight seasons, believing it best to draw the curtain on their time with Westeros before the show passed its prime.
“I was saying it needs to be 10 seasons at least and maybe 12, 13,” said the author. “I lost that one.”
Conversely, House of the Dragon series co-showrunner Ryan Condal, who was also present during the interview, explained that Martin was so central to the spin-off series’ development process that he would not submit any episode drafts to HBO without the author’s tacit approval.
“My feeling was, if George is happy, that is the huge first hurdle, and that everything should be judged from then on,” said Condal.
Yet, despite this production drama, Martin revealed that he was excited at the prospect of producing further Game of Thrones spin-offs for HBO, a number of which are apparently currently in development.
“How many shows will make it to air?” asked Martin in conclusion to the interview. “I don’t know, but I hope the answer will be several and we’ll have something akin to the Marvel or Star Wars model by the time it’s all settled.”
Martin’s elbowing out from the original Game of Thrones series has been a regular topic of discussion for the author whilst out on the House of the Dragon‘s press tour.
During one such interview with The New York Times, Martin noted that his working relationship with Condal and House of the Dragons co-showrunner Miguel Sapochnik was the polar opposite of the one he shared 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.
Perhaps most tellingly of his current feelings towards his role in his creation’s future, particularly in light of his above hope that Game of Thrones becomes a franchise of the same caliber as Marvel, the author also recently expressed a 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.”
The first season of House of the Dragon is currently airing on HBO and HBO Max.