The final episodes of “Game of Thrones” reportedly cost around $15 million each, a huge sum by television standards that puts the final season of the HBO blockbuster series at a $90 million budget. Compare that to the show’s debut season, where each episode cost roughly $6 million, and one gets a sense at just how massive “Thrones” became over its eight-season run. The show’s first season episode budget was far from cheap, but it wasn’t big enough to fully satisfy creator George R.R. Martin. The “Thrones” author reveals in the new book “Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon” (via EW) that a lack of budget contributed to his least favorite scene in the show’s history.
“Where we really fell down in terms of budget was my least favorite scene in the entire show, in all eight seasons: King Robert goes hunting,” Martin said. “Four guys walking on foot through the woods carrying spears and Robert is giving Renly shit. In the books, Robert goes off hunting, we get word he was gored by a boar, and they bring him back and he dies. So I never did [a hunting scene].”
Martin continued, “But I knew what a royal hunting party was like. There would have been a hundred guys. There would have been pavilions. There would have been huntsmen. There would have been dogs. There would have been horns blowing — that’s how a king goes hunting! He wouldn’t have just been walking through the woods with three of his friends holding spears hoping to meet a boar. But at that point, we couldn’t afford horses or dogs or pavilions.”
The hunting scene as depicted in the first season is a small affair, but viewers would’ve been treated to a more epic hunting party had the budget for the series bit a bit bigger from the get go. The show stayed in the $6-million-per-episode ballpark for much of its run. Starting in Season 6, the episode budget rose to $10 million.
“Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon” will be released Tuesday, October 6 and tells the behind-the-scenes story of the making of “Game of Thrones.” Author James Hibberd spoke with Martin, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, and all of the show’s cast members to get a complete look at how “Thrones” was created, produced, and released.