The New York Times recently scored an in-depth interview with George R.R. Martin, whose “A Song of Fire and Ice” books are the basis for HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” (Martin has also scripted episodes of the show, as he has a background in TV dating back to the ’80s.) Reading through the interview, I was reminded of an old friend who, despite being a massive Tolkien fan, was not on board with Peter Jackson’s interpretation, because it didn’t look like what he’d imagined. Turns out, George R.R. Martin is that exact type of fan about his own books.
Take, for example, Martin’s feelings about the Iron Throne, as showcased on the series:
“It’s not the Iron Throne I see when I’m working on ‘The Winds of Winter’ [The next ‘Fire and Ice’ book.] It’s not the Iron Throne I want my readers to see. The way the throne is described in the books … HUGE, hulking, black and twisted, with the steep iron stairs in front, the high seat from which the king looks DOWN on everyone in the court … my throne is a hunched beast looming over the throne room, ugly and asymmetric … The HBO throne is none of those things.”
Martin’s fanboy tendencies also come out in discussing the changes that the series has made to his books, referring to a “butterfly effect” that occurs when minor characters from the book are shifted around. “Small changes can lead to big changes,” he told the Times. Does that include a cut scene from the book he wished had made it into the show, a scene where sisters Arya and Sansa Stark argue about going to tea with the Queen? We’ll probably have to wait until Season 5 for those answers.
Point is, none of this is making him work any faster — Martin has been writing the “Fire and Ice” series since 1991, and he’s still working on “Winds of Winter,” the sixth book in the series. Concerns that Martin won’t finish the series before HBO catches up to book events are so intense that recently showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss went to Martin’s Santa Fe home and were told what he had in mind for the ending. You know, just in case.