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George R.R. Martin on having a book adapted for television: "It can be...traumatic"

Photo: Dan MacMedan (Getty Images)

The further we get from that divisive Game Of Thrones finale, the more candid A Song Of Ice And Fire author George R.R. Martin is getting about it. He famously chose not to read the final scripts—an indicator of his headspace in itself—and went on to word salad his way through questions about how the show and books differ. Lest we forget, he’s still got two volumes to release, the likes of which will fill roughly 3,000 pages, so it makes sense that something would be lost in trying to compress that much story into six hours. In fact, Martin says in a new interview with Fast Company (via Digital Spy) that HBO would’ve needed “another five seasons” to accommodate his story.

“The [final] series has been...not completely faithful,” he said, tellingly describing the book-to-screen adaptation process “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,” he continued.

Later, he lamented the studio system and the “extraneous” notes creatives inevitably get from the suits in charge. “You get totally extraneous things like the studio or the network weighing in, and they have some particular thing that has nothing to do with story, but relates to ‘Well this character has a very high Q-Rating so let’s give him a lot more stuff to do’.”

Luckily, he’s the only one driving the narrative of his final two books, having made it clear that the show won’t be influencing his story as it continues to unfold on the page. So, even if Bran ends up as the new ruler of Westeros in his vision, let us rest assured that we’ll have a much better understanding as to why.

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About the author

Randall Colburn

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.