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Benioff & Weiss interviewed on KCRW’s UpClose

David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, Game of Thrones writers and executive producers, appeared on KCRW’s UpClose a couple weeks ago. David & Dan talk about their background, the genesis of the show, the adaptation process and more in an entertaining and enlightening hour. Full audio is below.

HBO’s “Game of Thrones” has taken viewers by storm ever since it premiered on HBO in 2011. Executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss sit down with Elvis Mitchell in front of a live audience, just before leaving for Belfast to start production for season four. This conversation was recorded live as part of KCRW’s UpClose series

UPDATE: One bit of news to come out of this interview: Season 4 is set to begin filming on July 8th.


  • Strange that my first thought is that the arms on those chairs look uncomfortably high.

  • Kieran E:
    Strange that my first thought is that the arms on those chairs look uncomfortably high.

    Yeah, looks like the chair is trying to swallow Dan whole.

    Too bad it’s a full hour. I have an important deadline and shouldn’t even be here, hehe. Sooo, summary anyone?

  • Kieran E,

    I think someone is trying to give them a chance to see how the Thrones sets feel for Tyrion! XD

    Those are ginormous chairs!

  • I’ve heard Parris’s favorite character story elsewhere. For those who don’t know, it’s Arya

  • Nice interview. There were no spoilers.

    As far as a summary goes…basically Benioff and Weiss spoke about their experience with the show, how they got involved, how they got it started and what it’s been like since then. If you’ve heard or watched interviews with them before then nothing will surprise you except for the fact that they go into some further detail and tell some more stories. Typical for them, especially Weiss, they made a whole heap of self-deprecating remarks about their own mistakes and adequacy which will probably make those with prior scepticism toward their work (scepticism which I most emphatically do not share) even more sceptical about the show’s future. Also, they talked a bit about their respective novels which was quite interesting to hear.

  • Skipjack:
    azad injejikian,

    Jeez azad, make that spoiler bar longer or anyone could figure it out!

    Bran. Robb. Arya. Dany. All seem plausible. (Gren, Pypp, and Jory less so). Maybe Asha/Yara or Osha. Many more options if we allow 5-letter names, which it could be at a glance.

  • Mike: Bran. Robb. Arya. Dany. All seem plausible. (Gren, Pypp, and Jory less so). Maybe Asha/Yara or Osha. Many more options if we allow 5-letter names, which it could be at a glance.

    LOL, sorry i didnt think of the size of the spoiler bar. In fairness, there’s no answer…we still don’t know anyone’s fate really. It’s still unknown.

    Although, who knows… Pypp could totally be his wife’s favorite ;)

  • ATG: Any spoilers that we should be aware of?

    Well, there is one… I wouldn’t advice non-readers to listen to this. (Seriously – if you have not read the books – don’t click on the black field.)

    Where the interviewer (talking about telling actors their character will die ) says “So, Robb…”

  • sjwenings,

    They say, “So, Ron…”, speaking of Ron Donachie, who played Ser Rodrik, and died at Theon’s hands in the middle of season two instead of at Ramsay Bolton’s hands at the end of it.

    So, no, there are no spoilers.

  • So…summary of sorts. Or perhaps you should say ‘pointers to topics discussed’. I kinda typed along as I listened. Had some trouble with hearing everything the interviewer said, so jokes don’t come across. Also, English is not my first language.

    Should listen to all of it really, it’s a fun enough interview where I heared some new things. I’ll grant you though, haven’t really kept up with production things until season 3. I have kept up with George Martin, and nothing new there.


    -How they got to reading the Song of ice and fire series. They were already into fantasy (Moorcock, Leiber) and picked it up because of that. Moorcock gets discussed a bit longer, because of Elric and the type of hero he is, the place he has in fantasy canon.

    -7:45: David describes his writing habits around the time he first read GoT. Being an insomniac and a new father ‘informed both the writing of my book and the reading of Georges book’.
    -9:00: About the density and the velocity of the book, vs the tv medium. Ability to reflect, n digest, n all.
    -10:10: What was the pitchline to HBO? Includes discussion of what shows they admire and wanted to emulate then. “We heard Carolyn Strauss is a hitman.” “It’s strange to think about that now, she’s like a sister now..//..we spend more time with her then with our wives”.
    -12:35: Strategy in the pitch
    -13:20: Ned arc, Dany arc; selling points
    -14:40: Everyone is in danger in the books, that’s what makes them so good. Ruthlessness.
    -16:00: Robert and Cersei. Putting people together that are not together in the books.
    -16:40: Moving away from the books. Actor induced.
    -18:00: about being new to making shows. Finding out they were coming up short of material, needed more scenes first season.
    -19:40: Tyrion and the mountain men. No money for proper battle and camera angles. Having to write emergency scenes, not plot driven. Turned out well.
    -21:10: Bookreaders vs ones that haven’t, viewership.
    -21:40: Flashbacks and voice-overs aversion.
    -22:40: Narrative speed. Breaking bad comparison.
    -23:30: about the illegal downloading record.
    -24:25: casting. Lena Headey. Cersei line reading. Ice queen approach. Blackwater acting superbly.
    -26:20: when George writes his episodes. Money issues. Unfilmable book.
    -28:00: “Do you know who Jon Snow’s mother is?”
    -28:43: questions from audience.
    “Who else deserves Emmy love? (Lena, Alfie, Olenna, Emilia)”
    -29:40: “Despicable characters get sympathy, and vice versa, how do you do that?”
    Cersei example. Theon example. “medium dick”
    -32:15: “Book most compelling to be dramatized?” David tearing up over baby dragons.
    -33:30: Emotions. Love all the cast. Killing off characters/actors.
    -34:55: “What characters do you identify with the most? “Theon!”
    -35:15: “Do you think you’ve changed the way people perceive the fantasy genre?”
    -37:05: HBO transforming genres with series. Deadwood.
    -38:30: about costumes. Michelle Clapton. Up to her imagination. Incorporating elements from all around the world. Finding talented people.
    -39:50: Ramin Djawadi. Great theme. Finding new composer last-minute. Music stuffs. Learning from people.
    -42:50: Tim van Patten. Clutch guy for first 2 episodes. “You guys have a MASSIVE problem.” Things not being clear, n all.
    -44:30: Sexposition. Sexploitation. Miles McNutt. Hot tubs.
    -45:50: “What’s our inspiration for sexploitation?” about the brothel scene with Littlefinger. About Aidan Gillens portrayal being way different from the books.
    -47:00: About getting Diana Rigg on the show. Dame! She called them naughty boys.
    About her memorizing her scenes 3 months ahead of everyone.
    -49:00: “Is it true that Goerge has told you how he wants it to end?” “Yes” “And so…?”
    -49:30: “I read City of thieves. Are you ever going to make that into a movie or tv series?” As long as the show goes on, no.
    -50:00: “Right now, we’re writing season 4. We’re starting shooting on juli 8th, and we have to have all 10 scripts ready because we crossboard the entire season…”
    -50:50: As a novelist, what is the thoughest about taking anothers novel to condense and…
    -51:20: Georges characters are like children to him. Time investment, what it took to make them.
    -52:30: George promised Parris not to kill certain people. NOT. ha.
    -53:10: “Yes, he has given us a basic grounding in who not to kill.”
    -53:50: Alec Sacharov. Stark guard running shot.
    -55:00: Quentin Tarantino on explaining vision, what directing job is like, David wishes he’d known that bit of wisdom way sooner.
    -56:15: First aide (?). What is a directing job like.
    -57:30: Keeping fear going (?) during an episode…interviewer really lost me there, ugh. Mumbler. Fear of losing someone you love. It’s a horrible thing, but it’s also what makes things beautiful. Spending time with characters makes you love them. Standing on the shoulders of giants who exploited this before us.

  • My favorite part was their retelling of their first meeting with Diana Riggs.. and she kept referring to them as boys. lol It was very sweet and you can tell that Diana can call them whatever the heck she wants.

  • I only listened until the 40 minute mark, and will probably complete later.
    Thanks WiC for posting this, it was well worth the listen. It seems that
    with every in depth interview, Benioff and Weiss reveal thoughtful insights
    on their passion for the book and series, as well as shed some light on their
    perspective for the cable series and it’s influences. My biggest surprise was
    their acquired status of Dungeon Masters, and the 3 yr process to pitch the
    GoT pilot. They’re well read too, and appreciate the fantasy genre and various
    philosophies , related or not. Nice to hear another producer praise ” the Wire “.

    There was no surprise in learning the scripts are heavily influenced by the actor’s
    strengths. And despite GRRM’s compelling story, most of the sentimental characters
    get their heads chopped off.

    More new revelations : Theon , as a character in the ASOIAF series ,is a
    medium dick ( dickhead ).Melisandre birthed the infamous ” shadow baby”
    from her cuchu ?

    Does anyone remember the scene from S1, episode 9 regarding Tyrion and the
    Mountain Cleghorn ? Was this edited out of the broadcast ? I really don’t
    remember this from the books as happening.

  • WildSeed,

    Does anyone remember the scene from S1, episode 9 regarding Tyrion and the
    Mountain Cleghorn ? Was this edited out of the broadcast ? I really don’t
    remember this from the books as happening.

    No, it wasn’t in the episode. In the books it is when Tyrion finally joins up with his father after being released from the Eyrie and after picking up his “mountain man” entourage. Tywin is going to attack Robb as he comes up the river and tells Tyrion to go the flank next to the River and stay as close to Celgane’s troops as possible and hold no matter what.

  • WildSeed:
    Does anyone remember the scene from S1, episode 9 regarding Tyrion and the
    Mountain Cleghorn ? Was this edited out of the broadcast ? I really don’t
    remember this from the books as happening.

    I think they said in the interview they had to cut that whole battle from the show because they ran out of money. It’s the part when they talked about having to write more scenes because the episodes were too short.

    Which, by the way, I find shocking. There is so much material from the books that wasn’t in the show. It’s hard to believe they actually came up short time-wise.

    Great interview though. I love the insights. I wish someone would ask them why they deviated from the books so much in the cases of Jon Snow and Arya.

  • Very good interview.

    Yes, a lot had already been said elsewhere but i don’t think another interview made it as apparent how much they love the books and care about the story.
    I don’t care if i don’t like or understand some of their changes, i trust that the story is in good hands and that they’re doing the best they can with it, which is certainly better than what a lot of other people could do in their stead.


    This is why for all their supposed shortcomings, I think the series couldn’t be in better hands. Sure, there are things many of us would have done differently, but it’s the sum of their team’s efforts, not our nitpicks, that make this show such an intriguing whole.


    They seem to have run out of money first that season. They had more content planned when all the episodes were around forty minutes; it just wasn’t in the budget. What they had at that point fell short of the optimal runtimes, so that’s where we get the mostly wonderful talking heads in a room scenes.

  • I really want to be a writer for this show. I mean that in a good way. How I would love to add my voice to the choir. *sigh*