The Los Angeles Times Show Tracker blog had a chance to interview Game of Thrones writer and executive producer D.B. Weiss recently. Weiss talked, among other things, about the post-production and visual effects on season two, their approach to adaptation, and addressed last season’s controversial brothel “training” scene.
On the current status of season two:
Yes, we are in post-production and getting it all ready as quickly as we can for the drop-dead dates when they pry it out of our cold, dead hands. We’ve got a couple of episodes locked and done and in the can, but we still have some work to do on the back end.
On their approach to adapting the books to TV:
Our approach has always been what we pitched to George at the very beginning: We’re adapting his entire series. The changes we make, taking something from one book and putting it in the middle of events from another book, are always at the service of the series as a whole — both George’s series and our series. Oftentimes an event from Book 2 will serve as a better end point for a character in Season 1 than it would as a starting point in Season 2.
This year there are definitely things we took from Book 3 and pulled them back a season and there are things we hold off on introducing from Book 2 to put in a later season and there are things, regrettably, there’s just no room to include at all. George, luckily, isn’t just a seasoned novelist. He’s also a seasoned television writer and he knows how the sausage is made and understands the sacrifices that often need to be made in the service of preserving the impact of a show as a whole.
On the controversial Littlefinger monologue and “training” session:
It’s a challenge you face getting inside a character’s head when you don’t have any of the novelistic devices George has at his disposal. Many of which are the equivalent of voiceover, telling us what a character is thinking. The Littlefinger scene was born from the necessity to learn who this person was behind the mask, and unfortunately this is someone who’s such a confident total game player that the truth about who he really is and what he’s really about is something he’s not going to reveal to the other game players he encounters over the course of his daily life. In this situation, the prostitutes serve as psychiatrists, which is the conception behind that scene and setting it where we set it and doing what we did with it.
On the visual effects in season two:
Visual effects definitely play a much bigger role in the show this season than it did last season. I don’t have a shot count in front of me, but I know those can be deceptive. Lots of visual effects shots are fixes. And one of the great things that we’ve learned this season was how to minimize those low-value fix shots by not needing the fixes to begin with … how to get the right blood spray that you want in production so you don’t need to add it in later. For every one of those you can save, it’s more money spent on a visual effects shot that people are really going to notice …. But we have such an amazing group of visual effects artists this year that you’re sometimes hard-pressed to remember what was real and what was added in later.
Be sure to check out the rest of the interview where Weiss talks about the season one box set, and addresses the previous reports over the length of a certain big battle scene.
Winter Is Coming: First time I think they’ve addressed the Littlefinger scene. Does knowing the thinking behind it change your opinion of the scene at all? Also, I am getting more and more excited about this season. It sounds like David & Dan are much more comfortable as showrunners and I think that is going to be evident in everything from the writing to the visual effects. Only 25 more days!