In my search for any sort of tidbit of news related to Game of Thrones, I came across this old interview with David Benioff by the BBC. In it he talks mostly about his novel, 25th Hour and Troy, but he also shares his thoughts on how to adapt a book to screen.
When adapting a book, what is the first step after reading the material – especially when the material is so long and has so much depth. How do you decide what to leave out? Lucilla
I think the adapter’s job is to find a narrative throughline and excise any material not critical for that narrative’s success. That sounds a little surgical, and I suppose it is, but – as your question suggests – the most difficult task is deciding what to cut. In adapting my own novel, I cut a character (LoBianco) because he wasn’t essential for the principal journey of the movie. Again, there is very little time in a script.
Winter Is Coming: Based on the pilot script, not much has been cut so far. Of course, there really isn’t much you can cut in the first 80 or so pages of the book. It is all important character introductions. I expect that as the series goes on though, more and more will need to be cut.