Published On: Thu, Sep 26th, 2019

Game of Thrones Emmys: How involved was George RR Martin in Season 8 of HBO show? | Books | Entertainment

Game of Thrones has been one of the biggest TV shows of all time. The HBO show started Season 8 riding high on public and critical opinion but ended two months later with a staggering fall from grace. Millions watched the final episodes and many of them (not all, by any means) were not happy with what they saw. There was a consensus among the huge backlash that the show suffered from no longer being able to draw on Martin’s source books. On top of the novels themselves, Martin has consulted heavily on previous seasons and even written some episodes. Just how much was he involved in the last six episodes?

Martin has also been less involved with the show itself since Season 4, when the pressure of trying to finish Winds of Winter began to mount.

He wrote the scripts for the eighth episode of the first season, the ninth episode of the second season, seventh episode of the third season and the second episode of the fourth season.

Even so, fans may be startled with just how little input he had in the grand finale. Without source novels to draw upon, surely producers David Benioff and DB Weiss needed any pointers he could give, however much their vision had begun to diverge from the original books?

After all, certain plot points are said to be absolutely canon. Yet, Martin said there had been only “several days of story conferences taking place in my home in Santa Fe, New Mexico.”

Did he see any scripts before the climactic – and hugely divisive – episodes were filmed?

Martin said; “No, I haven’t. I haven’t … I mean I know some of what’s going on there, but I haven’t actually seen any footage. So I’ll be seeing that for the first time with everybody else.

“I haven’t read the scripts, although I’ve had meetings with David (Benioff) and Dan (Weiss) where we’ve discussed stuff.”

The author confirmed the producers had always agreed to abide by certain fixed storylines: “I mean, I think … the major points of the ending will be things that I told them, you know, five or six years ago. But there may also be changes, and there’ll be a lot added.”

However, he has also been aware that TV adaptations will never always please an author, including real “conflict”.

Martin worked for many years as a Hollywood screenwriter on TV shows like Beauty And The Beast and was prepared for his experience on Game of Thrones.

He said: “When you’re writing short stories and novels, yes you may have editors and all that, but essentially the writer is king. The writer decides how everything is going to be; people can give suggestions, and you can say yes or no to them.

“When you get involved in television and film… you’re working with a large team. But it can also be… traumatic. Because sometimes their creative vision and your creative vision don’t match, and you get the famous creative differences thing — that leads to a lot of conflict.”

Fans will never know exactly what Martin thought of the HBO finale and it may still be many years before they see how the author himself will end the saga in Book 7, A Promise of Spring.

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