As House of the Dragon gears up to take us back to Westeros, we’re finally getting some clarity as to what went awry in the last few seasons of Game of Thrones. In a New York Times article, A Song of Ice and Fire creator George RR Martin shed some light on the ordeal, revealing that while he was more active on earlier seasons—penning and reading episodes, helping with casting, and being present on set—that wasn’t the case with later seasons of the hit HBO series from showrunners DB Weiss and David Benioff.
Citing that he simply got busy and shifted gears to focus on the long-delayed The Winds of Winter, Martin shared that “by season five and six, and certainly seven and eight, I was pretty much out of the loop,” which could have had some role to play in what led to the divisive finale.
Why exactly was he left out? Even Martin is unsure. “I don’t know—you have to ask Dan and David,” he said (Weiss and Benioff declined to comment to the Times). Martin also offered a reminder that Winds of Winter—while “very, very late”—will not resemble what we saw on the show: “My ending will be very different.”
So what’s changed this time around House of the Dragon? “He was very passionate about this particular story,” shared Miguel Sapochnik, showrunner of House of the Dragonwho also worked on Game of Thrones. He and Martin give credit to co-showrunner and writer Ryan Condal for getting him back into the televised world of Westeros. In Condal, Martin found a kindred spirit. “When we would get together we would, you know, talk like two fanboys do,” Martin said; their mutual fandoms (including Tolkien) led to conversations that got Martin involved in revisiting the Targaryen era—so this team seems like perhaps a more natural fit to keep true to the realm.
House of the Dragon premieres on HBO and HBO Max August 21.
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