James Poniewozik of TIME Magazine recently conducted a long and in-depth interview with George R. R. Martin in his hometown of Santa Fe. They talk extensively about the novels and George’s history in television, and, of course, Game of Thrones. The interview is broken down into four posts on Poniewozik’s Tuned In blog. You can find the first part here. And here are parts two, three and four. I encourage you to read them all as they are a great read. (And spoiler free.)
Here are some snippets where George talks about the show that I thought were interesting. Click through to read them all, or better yet, head over to Tuned In to read the full interview.
On how much input he had in the visual design of the show:
Not a whole lot. I mean, they would occasionally show me something and I would comment, but the main thing that I was involved with was the casting… People ask me, is it what you imagined, and my answer is, no, not really. I have very strong visual pictures in my head about what they look like. And unless you’ve read my mind, that would be very hard for someone to get that.
But what they’ve done is good. If you are getting very creative people on [a show], you have to give them room to be creative. You can’t bring in a costume designer and then essentially design the costumes for them by saying, wrong, you have to follow slavishly everything that’s down here. You’re not going to get good people then.
On the child actors:
So you watch all this stuff and you reach a point where you’re just ready to despair and say, this can’t be done here because most child actors—a lot of child actors out there are in sitcoms. And their role in sitcoms is to mug and look cute, you know. Our kids have actual dramatic roles where they have to deal with grief and loneliness and anger and a lot of very adult stuff. [I thought] my God, how the hell, are we going to do this, you know? But then you find that one in a hundred, or one in a thousand that suddenly… oh my God, thank God, this is great. And Maisie Williams, who plays Arya, was one of those. I mean, just from the moment we saw her audition, I knew she was, she was our Arya and you know, the same was true for Sansa and Bran; two good actors who played those roles too. They were extraordinary.
On his experience writing episode eight:
Simply enjoyed the hell out of it. It was great.
I was a little anxious when we got into it on a number of levels. One, I was anxious, could I meet the deadline? Because I haven’t been doing very well in the last few years about meeting deadlines. And I was anxious about what it would feel like going back to this material I wrote in the ‘90′s. And I was anxious that I would even remember how to write a teleplay. I mean, it’s been more than a decade since I’ve done one. But it turned out to be fine. I wasn’t changing much, I was just moving it from one medium to another medium and making cuts and trims, which I did plenty of in my Hollywood days. I did meet the deadline, so that was good. And I remembered how to write a screenplay pretty well too.