Bryan Cogman General

Announcing Ask a GoT Writer

We have an exciting new feature to announce here at… Ask a GoT Writer! As you might have gleaned from the title, you, the fans, get to ask a writer of Game of Thrones any question you’d like! The writer in this case is Bryan Cogman, who also serves as the story editor and all-around A Song of Ice and Fire expert for the production.

Here’s the deal: submit your question(s) below. We will send the best ones on to Bryan, who will answer them in a semi-regular column here on WiCnet. These questions can be anything, from the super-generic ‘Who is your favorite character and why?’ to the super-nerdy ‘Why did Maester Aemon leave King Jaehaerys II Targaryen out of the lineage?’.

So send us your best questions and keep an eye out for Bryan’s answers!

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  • Which cast member(s) fits the image you had/have of a character when reading the books? Have any of the actors changed your opinion of a character or made them more interesting to you?
    (i probably could have worded those questions better) :)

  • The question submission form is not IPhone friendly. I can’t scroll over to see the submit button. Great idea though

  • That could became the coolest article series ever startet on WinterisCominig! Hope it goes on for a long time. :D

  • This sounds like a much more manageable format than Twitter. Thanks for indulging us, Bryan! And thanks, :)

  • This is very cool. Thanks wic. Just asked my question. But i faced some problem submiting the question from my android phone i could not see the submit button. Hope this problem would be solved

  • Cool idea, but be prepared for the onlsaught of “Why did you leave out [X]?!” and “Why did you change [Y]??!” type questions….

  • Why did The House of the Undying scene get completely hacked? What is the show’s obsession with Ros? Are the show runners going to have Shae remain loyal or testify against Tyrion like she does in the books? I sure hope they don’t alter perfection that is ASOS.

  • I dont know if my question got submitted… I wrote my message and when I clicked submit, it gave me a weird error box… Now I can’t re-submit it. Strange…

    My question was: Any chance Bryan will put out another Inside GOT book?

  • Brendan,

    Shae will get angry at Tyrion when he is forced to marry Sansa. Sansa doesn’t know Shae is with Tyrion and this will anger her even more as she swoons and geeks-out about Tyrion (probably). Tywin will pick up on this, and manipulate Shae, causing her to hate Tyrion. Shae will turn against Tyrion. Shae will regret.

  • Hope Bryan Cogman is ready for 20000 ‘why haven’t you stuck to the books 100%’ questions by people who still don’t seem to understand that you can only fit so much into a 10 or 20 episode long season….

  • I have asked why the writers changed the “beheading” scene (and the ensuing chase) with Jon and Ygritte so much.

    I am not a book fanatic, e.g. the altered HotU scene, lack of chain on Blackwater and Dany’s missing dragons don’t bother me at all, but that is one thing that really bugs me because it seemed so random and pointless and made Jon look like a fool. And it took more time on screen than would have been necessary if they had stuck to the book and done it cleverly (J lets Y go, later group is ambushed by superior number of wildlings, everybody except HH and J gets killed by arrows, J surrenders and turns cloak, done)

  • I e-mailed in a more detailed version, but my question is:

    How was the decision made to use Giants in the TV series, and how was it decided to make them different from the Sasquatch-like Giants of the books?

    On the one hand, one of GRRM’s points was to deconstruct Fantasy tropes: at first there are no non-human races, and when you do meet one, Jon explicitly says they’re not like the legends he’s used to hearing, because they really aren’t very human-like (not just typical “Fantasy Giants” who are just “Big People” who live in castles and have lords and such).

    On the other hand, for a while we were worried there wasn’t enough SFX budget to include the Giants in the TV show at all (on top of dragons and direwolves), and the finished product in the Season 3 premiere was still very exciting.

    So officially, in the “TV-continuity” what are Giants like? How are they different from Book-Giants?

  • Why isn’t Shireen Baratheon on the HBO Viewer’s Guide? (which I think Cogman has a hand in writing) — she *is* mentioned in the entry for her mother Selyse, but she doesn’t have her own branch on the tree. actually found a Shireen picture in a folder on the site but HBO wrote to asking them to remove it.

    Is it that the Viewer’s Guide is going to be updated incrementally as information becomes available? (i.e. it currently doesn’t have the Reeds in it)

  • Has it been officially decided that Edric Storm doesn’t exist in the TV continuity? (or Mya Stone, for that matter?)

  • Has King Jaehaerys II officially been removed from the TV-continuity? Maester Aemon in the TV series says that the Mad King was the son of his brother Aegon V, when in the books he was Aegon’s grandson.

    This is particularly important now that they’re pitching adaptations of the “Tales of Dunk and Egg” prequels, as Aegon V is a major character. Moreover, it affects how closely Robert and the other Baratheons (Stannis, Shireen) are related to Daenerys.

    Why was this change made?

    EDIT: The question I e-mailed in said “Selyse” instead of “Shireen”, that was a mistake)

  • Love the idea. I’ve put my own question in. This should be a lot of fun. Thanks for taking the time, Mr Cogman.

  • Mr. Another Cog Man in the Machine,

    Acknowledging the prevailing opinion that GRRM will not be able to finish The Song of Ice and Fire, when you are saddled with writing the ending for the HBO series, are you more inclined to staging one megaclimactic battle (off camera…like the fist of first men) or 29 individual mini-closures separated by vast distances and jarring leaps back and forth in time…or do you think it would be easier to have Sam wake up next to Gilly and say, “I’ve just had the most lovely dream”?
    And as a follow up-

    Do you change things from the book just to hurt my feelings?

    And as another follow up-

    Why is there not more Lamprey Pie?

  • BlackTalon,

    I’m not Bryan Cogman, but I believe they did that to 1) give Jon more screentime (like they did with Dany) and 2) give Ygritte more screentime and give the starting tone of her relationship with Jon. Remember, most viewers haven’t read the books and many of them don’t intend to, they need to familiarize themselves with the characters based on what they see of them on screen.

  • Winterlarks,

    Sorry, spoiler tags don’t work every time on my I-pad. GRRM did say Tyrion marries Daenerys and they have a half man, half dragon that ultimately sits on the iron throne and serves as a wise, just king.

  • Wow really nice…do we have any guidelines? For example, I asked him aquestion a while ago (how many seasons, more or less, they were thinking adapting books 4 and 5 would take) and he was as kind as to answer that he could not comment on that…so are questions concerning future events on the show off-ground?

  • Bryan’s not the only one who’s a fan of the site–WiC got a shout-out by GRRM himself over at Not A Blog a few days ago!

    For those new to the Not A Blog, let me add my annual disclaimer. I hope you watch the show, and I hope you talk about, all the things you liked and hated… but not here. This is not the place for critiques, discussions, theories, whatever. There are dozens of other places on the internet better suited for that, so post your thoughts on Westeros, Tower of the Hand, Winter Is Coming, Television Without Pity, or any one of the myriad other sites that welcome such.

    It’s a mini shout-out, but cool nonetheless.

  • Bryan Cogman is a god amongst humans! How awesome is that! Gotta love that guy.
    My most urgent question to him would be: How can I get as awesome as you?

  • I posted something that has been bugging me for years and years, but I’m not sure if it worked. After submitting the form is still there with all the text in it, but the submit button is not clickable anymore. There is no sign to tell whether it worked or failed.

  • Since season 4 is confirmed, we greedy fans are now focusing on … Season 5, of course. A Feast for Crows was split into itself and A Dance with Dragons, not chronologically, but by character and location. As a result, there were no Daenerys , Tyrion and Jon chapters in Feast.

    When, repeat “when” we get to season 5, am I correct in assuming that you DO NOT plan to tell the story similarly but, instead, chronologically?

    If so, do you think it’s a good idea for GRRM to republish the story (at least as an ebook) where he merges Feast and Dance into one chronological story? I would buy that for a re-read.

    Thank you.

  • Mike Chair,

    there is someone online who has a list of an unofficial merging. I read it switching back and forth and i enjoyed it very very much. The switching was awful but well worth it

  • I asked another question (I forget the wording) about the difficulty of when characters aren’t in the show or are in the background for an entire season, i.e. Barristan Selmy isn’t in book/season 2 (nor was Jaime in book 2 that much, in which case they moved his season 3 stuff forward a bit).

    Similarly, I asked about the difficulty of writing for Myrcella and Tommen, given that they’re just background characters for a long time….which is a *plot point* when you consider that Ned Stark has scenes talking with his youngest daughter Arya, but Cersei really never interacts with Myrcella and Tommen (implying just how little she actually cares about them, even though she hypocritically thinks she’s a good mother).

    Much to my surprise, only after I entered the question did I realize that Bryan Cogman himself wrote “What is Dead May Never Die”, which is actually the first episode in which Myrcella and Tommen have any dialogue (well, discounting Myrcella’s one-line “is Bran going to die?” in Season 1, but this is the first real back-and-forth “dialogue”).

    I mean, how the heck do you write for these characters you’ve never met before? Really met. They’re not just guards or something; as the next generation of the Lannisters they’re kind of “important” and get more important as they get older, but they’ve been sidelined within the family.

    So the pressure of that you’ve only got a handful of lines to introduce *two thirds of Cersei’s offspring*.

  • jasonw: ation. As a result, there were no Daenerys , Tyrion and Jon chapters in Feast.

    Yes, the rough idea is that season 5 will be “A Feast for Crows half 1, A Dance with Dragons half 1”, then season 6 will be “A Feast for Crows part 2” and “”A Dance with Dragons, Part 2”.

  • I asked what must be an important question: Will we see Ser Pounce when Feast for Crows comes about?

  • My question won’t go through on that form, so I’ll post it here.

    D&D told the story of a night out drinking with Jason Momoa that turned into a hilarious challenge to a game of mercy and slap-hand. Do you have any funny stories that you could share that came about from being out with the cast or crew?

  • I wrote my question down and when I hit sumit it appeared it did not work. A man must know if his question was lost and needs to be re-posted?…..

  • Mike Chair,

    Chairface, I will be blunt: You asked a question about Jon, Dany, and Tyrion in later books. You also asked if the show will chronologically intercut Feast and Dance.

    Yes, I did use spoiler tags for my quote of your post; why would you think I did otherwise?

    No, I was not repeating your question: I was answering your question.

  • The Dragon Demands,

    When I first saw your reply my screen didn’t show any spoiler tags. I see them now. No problem.

    As to your answer, I figured as much. Where did you hear that?

  • Mike Chair:
    The Dragon Demands,

    When I first saw your reply my screen didn’t show any spoiler tags.I see them now.No problem.

    As to your answer, I figured as much.Where did you hear that?

    Oh,…sorry, I didn’t know your screen wasn’t displaying properly. Nevermind.

  • I really miss Bryan on Twitter. This will be really cool! Looking forward to it!

    For Winterfell!

  • That video would surely explain why she was called “Talisa Westerling” in an official picture describtion.

  • 1. Are we going to find out what happened to Benjen?

    2. We know how great Maisie, Isaac, and Sophie have done, not just as child actors, but actors in general. Are we going to get the opportunity to see things from Tommen and Myrcella’s point of view?

  • I’ve asked Bryan about how he tackles the difficulties of bringing the limited POV structure of the books to the screen, where so much character development is done internally through characters’ thoughts and memories, etc. Also what characters have presented the most POV – show writing difficulties.

  • So I am on my IPhone and can’t submit a question but my question is basically Catelyn and Robb’s character arcs have been significantly changed from the books. I was wondering why the writers deemed those changes necessary or if they don’t see them as major changes anyway. Now I know show!Robb has been aged up but still…we seem to have lost that beautiful mother/son relationship we had in the books. Actors of Michelle and Richard’s caliber still manage to convey some of it but so far it seems the writing had cut a great deal. So just wondering why that was done.

  • arden,

    Thanks Arden for posting this link. That was amazing. Not sure if it will hold true or not but wow. Maybe sometimes we refuse to see what’s right in front of our faces.

  • KingJon:

    Thanks Arden for posting this link. That was amazing. Not sure if it will hold true or not but wow. Maybe sometimes we refuse to see what’s right in front of our faces.

    No Problem!! I was sold when Talisa was giving Cat her last name and while doing it she she shoots Robb a look cause she just said she was a horrible makes so much sense to me even if it’s not true HBO could say it was and get away with it

  • I’ve been suspicious of Talisa ever since she pulled that “Oh yes! You caught me, I’m totally a Lannisters spy! Haha!” schtick before an unnecessarily long shot of her quickly rolling the letter up while Robb was distracted and never actually explaining what she was really writing.

    After that scene, I was convinced she was, but my conviction has since waned. Video aside, I’m not sure the show has actually set up that kind of a twist well enough to pull it off at this point. We’ll see how the rest of this season goes.

  • Someone should ask about the footage seen in the season 1 trailer with Aerys and Brandon Stark and whether or not we’ll ever see that. They recorded it why not show it?

    Oh that’s right they gotta give Ros plenty of screentime.

  • ebevan91:
    Someone should ask about the footage seen in the season 1 trailer with Aerys and Brandon Stark and whether or not we’ll ever see that. They recorded it why not show it?

    Oh that’s right they gotta give Ros plenty of screentime.

    It’s quite common for scenes to get filmed but be cut in the final screen version. There are many reasons, e.g. they decide a scene is not necessary, or they realise there is a better way of doing something on screen. Don’t forget that viewers already have the Brandon / Rickard/ Aerys background through the Ned/Jaime scene in Season 1, where Ned first arrives in KL. It’s not easy to show all the information dumps of background and history that GRRM gives us through characters’ memories in the books, and the TV writers are trying to avoid doing flashbacks as far as possible. They probably decided that the Ned/Jaime scene was a much better way to present the Brandon/Aerys information on TV, especially as the scene also goes to emphasise that there is ‘history’ between Ned and Jaime. That’s not to say they won’t show the footage they’ve already filmed later in the series – it’s just that it’s not necessary now, because they’ve given us the details in another way.

  • I ask maybe a strange question. We already know what David thinks is how many seasons he wants to have, but when there’s still 2 books to go, they can’t know how many seasons the show will have. those 2 books can be 2 seasons, 3 seasons maybe even 4.

    So I asked how many season they think the show will have when they finish the first 5 books. Maybe nice to know what there big plan is for SoS, FoC and DwD.

  • Since (like many of you) my question keeps getting frozen or rejected when I submit it, I’ll state my question here: What influence, if any, did GRRM’s “The Sand Kings” short story/”Twilight Zone” episode have on the design and look of the manticore in Ep. 301?

  • Awesome idea. I mean, how many shows on TV allow you to grill their writers? Not many that I know of. Perhaps there are more out there than I realize, in the age of social media, but this seems pretty unique, if you ask me.

  • I thought my question rather good, it was “Which character have you found to be the hardest to adapt from the books to the scripts? And what particular challenges does that character pose in adaption?”

  • AnotherBrendan:
    I thought my question rather good, it was “Which character have you found to be the hardest to adapt from the books to the scripts?And what particular challenges does that character pose in adaption?”

    Nice question

  • Mike Chair,

    I saw Bryan Cogman commenting in the guide made at Boiled Leather where there is a list of “A feast for dragons”. The guide lists the chapters of both books in chronological order.

  • Hi all,

    Thanks to all who submitted questions. Winter sent me a whole bunch to answer and I’d hoped to be able to do before tonight’s episode.

    Unfortunately, I’m swamped with work (and we have a new baby due any second) so I can’t get to them in time. Will make every effort to answer this week.

    Meantime, enjoy tonight’s episode!

    All the best,


  • Hah, like you’re going to have free time for frivolities like this with a newborn.

    I’m happy for you though, as busy as you’re gonna be it will be a blast I’m sure.

  • Come on Brian, you clearly need to get your priorities right! A Song of Ice and Fire takes precedence over mere infants!

    Just joking of course! Good luck with the baby (and the work).

  • Bryan Cogman,

    Congratulations!!! That’s so exciting!

    Suppose I should ease up on asking questions, then…at least until the baby’s got a couple of moons under his/her belt. : )

  • We have been told that the writers know the ending and the answer to many mysteries. Q: Would you incorporate that advance knowledge in a direct way; for example, by revealing something to the audience that book readers don’t know? Or do you consider “spoiling” book mysteries a total no-go zone?

    (Sorry if that was longwinded)