At Worldcon on Saturday, George R.R. Martin fielded several questions in a panel led by Maureen Ryan and Peter Sagal. The 70-minute long panel was recorded and a podcast of the discussion is now online. (An iTunes version is also available.) Maureen Ryan has an article at the Huffington Post detailing the podcast and providing additional info.
The panel covers a multitude of topics. Here are some of the highlights:
- Regarding Mance Rayder, Martin sees him as roughly the age equivalent of Qhorin Halfhand. He mentions that Mance has gray hair and is “not a young man,” and is happy with the casting of Ciarán Hinds. He’s also pleased with the casting of Diana Rigg as the Queen of Thorns and has fond memories of her in The Avengers.
- Martin admits he doesn’t always have everything plotted and planned out ahead of time, referring to himself as a “much more of a gardener than an architect.” He confirms that he knows how the series will end, and what the fate of all the major characters will be.
- The characters he is most at home writing are Tyrion and Arya.
- When asked about the changing of the House of the Undying on the show, George says, “Sooner or later, they will have to deal with Rhaegar and Lyanna and the Mad King.” He acknowledges the practical aspects of the adaptation, and that showing prophecies may cause issues down the road if a character or part of a storyline has to be moved or changed. That isn’t an issue for George when writing a book but it is on a TV show.
- He cites Sean Bean, Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Gwendoline Christie, Conleth Hill, and “the kids” as being his favorite portrayals of his characters. He is very happy with the actors in general on the show.
- The show did audition some younger actresses for the role of Margaery but Natalie Dormer was “fantastic,” and he loves the casting choice.
- Martin acknowledges that Shae is very different than the character in the books and that initially he didn’t like the change much, but that in the second season he came to really like her.
- He also says that Talisa is not the same character as Robb’s wife in the books, she is not the daughter of a Lannister bannerman, and she is not just a version of “Jeyne.” He is the one who suggested changing her name because Jeyne is not a Volantene name.
I’ve actually been learning a particular lesson this season. My bosses seem to be becoming more visual storytellers. All of the episodes of the third season seem to open with a particularly cinematic opening. And they’re less about sort of clever dialogue and transition and more about these huge cinematic… um, you know, just the visuals of it all. And so I’m really learning a different way of writing from that. Because I think it’s quite subtle and I feel like, by contrast, the writing of the second season was a bit more conventional.
When asked about changes made in the adaptation from book to screen, Taylor says:
Well, according to George and Bryan Cogman, the other writer on the show other than myself and our bosses, it is never okay to deviate. But we have to for a couple of reasons. One, as you’ve said, there’s too many characters so we have to sort of condense. The other thing is that it’s not all produceable even with the budget we have, we’re really strained. And so I think the basic rule is we make it as close as we possible can but there are times when we just can’t.
Ours is the Fury: The podcast is great, full of interesting tidbits and stories, much more than I can summarize here. George is a funny guy. The Taylor podcast is intriguing, with the hint of more visual storytelling. I’m very amused by George and Cogman telling them it’s never okay to deviate.