Interview

David Benioff and Dan Weiss on the “extremely rare gift” of making Game of Thrones

Vanity Fair has released their entire interview with show runners David Benioff and Dan Weiss conducted for the Game of Thrones April cover issue. The interview is quite lengthy, with topics spanning the entire lifetime of the television series, from it’s inception, to the original pilot, and looking forward to the end.

The pair expand on their recent meeting with George R.R. Martin, and the pressure that is being put on the author to finish his series. They also discuss the liberties they are able to take with the television show, putting together characters that we may not see interacting in the books, and how they have managed to work around some expensive battle sequences.

The excerpts below focus on the problems they faced shooting the original pilot, and their decision to inject comedy into an otherwise dark story. They also reveal that along the lines of Bryan Cogman, they’ve promoted their assistant Dave Hill to staff writer for Season 5.

Tom McCarthy, who made the The Station Agent, was the director of the original pilot, but that version never aired. Is that right?

David Benioff: There are a couple of scenes from it, but most of that was re-shot.

Dan Weiss: The whole pilot was such a tremendous Mount Everest-steep learning curve for everybody involved. Our whole thing, when we pitched it to HBO, was, “No one’s ever done anything like this before.” That’s exciting, but on the flip side—no one’s ever done anything like this before. And we had to find what it really was in the process of making it.

David Benioff: We made very basic, fundamental mistakes in the script for the pilot. About fifty feet away from here, actually, we had a few of our writer friends come over to watch, to screen the pilot, and to get notes from them. And I remember watching them as they watched it, and it’s a really horrible feeling, because by that point we’d already put a few years into this. And watching them and knowing that they did not like it at all was just a horrible feeling. That last scene in the pilot, where Jaime and Cersei, brother and sister, are making love—they didn’t know that they were brother and sister, which was completely our fault.

Were the performances the same? Did it look as good as the eventual pilot? Was it cheesy?

David Benioff: Nothing was as good. Every single department stepped up. As Dan was saying, certainly we hadn’t done it before. I don’t know if anyone had done this type of genre on this type of scale. For instance, I think we had the best costumer in the world. Her name is Michele Clapton. I think she’s a genius. But coming off the pilot, we realized all the costumes looked brand new. They all looked like they’d just been made the day before. So what happened was, they said, “O.K., the pilot’s not so good, but we’re just going to go ahead and make season one, and you’ll re-shoot the first episode while you’re doing season one.” So we had the whole order for the season, and we went back in with Michelle, and we made the decision, all of us together, that the costumes needed to look lived-in. This is a period where people weren’t taking their things to the dry cleaners. Aside from maybe the queen, everyone’s clothes look dirty and sweat-stained. She really took that to heart, to the degree where now in the costume department, there’s the actual making-of-the-costumes section of it and there’s a whole other section, which is breaking down the costumes. And the difference between what we had originally shot and what you see in season one is dramatic. For all the departments it was like that: for production design, in terms of the look of the sets; for the D.P.s; for us, with writing the scripts. The great thing about that experience, as rough as it was in the moment, was that we had a chance to learn from our mistakes and go back and try to correct some of it.

Dan Weiss: To be given the opportunity to do something like this one time is a pretty rare gift. To be given the opportunity to do more or less the exact same thing twice is an extremely rare gift.

I didn’t start watching Game of Thrones until I was flipping past and saw the scene with Peter Dinklage dragging a chair across the room while everybody stares at him. I didn’t expect that kind of comedy.

David Benioff: That’s all Dan. That whole bit.

It’s great because the whole sequence is silent.

David Benioff: Except for the squeaky chair. We spent a lot of time in sound design, getting that squeak just right.

Dan Weiss: It’s funny. When we shot the original pilot, which was then later re-shot—it was a pretty grim, dark world, the world of the story. As the seasons have gone on, we consciously take any opportunity we can to inject some light into the situation in a way that doesn’t break the reality of the show.

The actor who plays Arya Stark, Maisie Williams, sells the joke of the wolf bread so beautifully.

David Benioff: She’s so good, that girl. Casting that role was one of the scariest things, because we knew how big the role would get and how dark it would be. The first fifty or so girls we saw just weren’t right. We’ve got an incredible casting director in London, Nina Gold, and she was bringing in all these girls, and no one was right, and it was getting kind of late in the day and we hadn’t found anyone remotely close. I remember we were sitting—in Morocco, right?

Dan Weiss: The Berber Palace Hotel.

David Benioff: We were on location, scouting Morocco, and the one place we could get internet access was by the hotel pool. So we were sitting by the hotel pool on a laptop looking at these—the casting director will send these little casting videos, with thumbnail pictures? So there were forty thumbnail pictures of these girls, and we saw this one, literally that big on the laptop screen, and I was just like, “There’s something interesting about that face,” and clicked on it, and she was amazing. From that point on we had our Arya.

Are you in the same room when you’re writing the episodes?

David Benioff: We don’t write together. We tried to do that on the very first day. We’ll take a half. We’ll basically divvy it up. You get first half, I get second half, and then we swap halves and rewrite.

Dan Weiss: We tried to write the first page of the pilot together, and it literally took us four hours to write three quarters of a page. It was like trying to drive a car, like, “O.K., I’ll do the gas, and you do the brake, and I’ll hold this side of the steering wheel and you hold that side.”

So it’s easier to have one person play writer and the other play editor and then switch roles?

David Benioff: Yeah, yeah.

Dan Weiss: Pretty much. We’re just passing things back and forth. The work happens so quickly and there’s so much of it that I have very little recollection of who did what by the time we end up shooting stuff.

David Benioff: Before we start, we write a really detailed outline, the two of us, and then there’s Bryan Cogman, who started out as our assistant, and now he’s one of the writers on the show—and now, for this coming year, Dave Hill, who was our assistant the last few years, and we’ve promoted him to staff writer. So once we start outlining the season, the four us will sit together, coming up with scenes and plot lines, putting index cards on the board, you know, traditional writers’ room stuff. And then there’s about an eighty-page outline, a scene-by-scene outline, and we divvy up episodes. Last year we wrote seven episodes, Bryan wrote two, and George Martin wrote one.

For much more from David and Dan, you can read their entire interview at VanityFair.Com.

185 Comments

  • Poor guys.

    Sitting by that pool in Morocco reviewing casting photos.

    Tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.

  • I’m baffled that HBO greenlit Season 1 after what seems like a disastrous pilot. Good on them for giving the show a second chance I suppose.

  • So we’ve got a new writer for season 5? Dave Hill? Is that right?

    EDIT: Great interview, by the way.

  • Vyrion,

    As D&D said, HBO spent so much money on the pilot (costumes, sets etc.) that it would be a shame to just throw it all away. Also, the show gets better as it progresses, and it is a great story (obviously) so I’m sure the risk that wasn’t as absurd as you think.

  • It is amazing that this show still got a chance for the 1st season.

    It is amazing that New Line allowed Peter Jackson to make all 3 movies at the same time for The Lord of the Rings.

    Sometimes the dumbest business decisions on paper turn out to become awesome.

  • At least now we know the reason the original pilot will never see the light of day ever. Unless its leaked by someone from the inside but i doubt that .

  • The Bastard: It is amazing that New Line allowed Peter Jackson to make all 3 movies at the same time for The Lord of the Rings.

    Too bad it was also New Line’s idea to take a 350 page kids’ book and make it into a trilogy of 2.5+ hour movies. At least they didn’t also say, “While your at it, feel free to pad it out with snot jokes and CGI action overkill.” I’m holding Peter Jackson responsible on that account. I must’ve been one of the few people who found the Bag End scenes the definite highlights. I still liked it, but like AFFC/ADWD it was in need of a good trimming.

    But with LOTR I think they did a tremendous job. The companies that thought 2 films would be better must have done the biggest collective facepalm since the first publisher to turn down J.K. Rowling.

  • Hand of the Kingslayer,

    Big news indeed! I was reading, found it and came here to comment but you were first. Dave Hill.. If D&D trusted Cogman and turned out to be such a great bet, I have no doubt Hill (a bastard huh?) will at great as well. I wonder if he read the books. Good luck to him for Season 5. They will need it.

    If I remember correctly, last year in January/February they had some scripts ready. This year they barely even started. Good for them they took another writer, yet June 1 is close and they will be in quite some timetable.

  • Greenjones,

    Yeah, that was an interesting detail. Ditto the fact that they are saying”7 or 8 seasons, whatever works best” rather than being set on 7 seasons.

    Also have to say I’m impressed by both the breadth and depth of their reading choices.

    I also found interesting the Monty Python comparison as well as the comment on adding levity whenever it fits. I know some of these times have been controversial (i.e. the Lannister redshirts and the Podrick stuff), but I think it has generally been done well (in particular, the Lannister redshirts one feels very Shakespearean to me).

  • Greenjones,

    Let’s find Dave Hill and get him to talk. A water gun against the head. Ask him if they’re cutting Dorne and the Iron Islands.

  • Glad they got another writer, there’s gonna be a lot more writing from scratch instead of cutting and filling in things from the books as we get nearer uncharted territory

    This Dave Hill guy seems to be following in B Cog’s footsteps of going from assistant writer to writer, so I have no complaints

  • 1. The interview is long. But hugely interesting.
    2. There is a new writer! Dave Hill will be part of the writing team starting with S5. He, as Brian Cogman, is a former assistant to the D’s.
    3. What is Monty Piton? Sorry if I prove my stupidity, but I’m curious.
    4. Dan has dry humor. And always completes David when he forgets or doesn’t know something.
    5. They say again the “milking the cow to much”… #8YearsForTheCow…
    …6. and the cow might get 8 after all. They say 7 or 8.
    7. David was a teacher. Dan was an assistant. Once he was the 8th assistant of some guy.
    8. I think it’s clear for everyone who Jon Snow’s mother is. The D’s talked for two hours about it, good for them since grrm asked them.
    9. GRRM has some clear endings for some characters. Other ones.. it’s still undecided.
    10. Mike’s Lombardo’s face looks great.
    11. D&D really have read a lot of books….
    12. They counted a lot on the International audience, since this is one of the few shows that isn’t realated to the American culture, isn’t about America or Americans.
    13. They have no idea what Voldemort really wanted.. Really?? David hasn’t read Harry Potter. Quote: “they end up shooting power beams at each other and Harry wins, right?”
    14. Their favorite LOTR character is Gollum… mine also.
    15. *SPOILER* Ned dies in the first season! Robb and Caitlin in the third.

  • Summer is Coming:
    Hand of the Kingslayer,

    Big news indeed! I was reading, found it and came here to comment but you were first. Dave Hill.. If D&D trusted Cogman and turned out to be such a great bet, I have no doubt Hill (a bastard huh?) will at great as well. I wonder if he read the books. Good luck to him for Season 5. They will need it.

    If I remember correctly, last year in January/February they had some scripts ready. This year they barely even started. Good for them they took another writer, yet June 1 is close and they will be in quite some timetable.

    It’s funny this came up today because I am about eleventeen notches below par with regard to the whole “extensive, exhaustive fan knowledge” gig but I stumbled upon that tidbit earlier today about how at this point last year six Season 4 scripts were essentially lined up. I got to thinking, hmm, yeah, that was something. And then I got to thinking about how it isn’t the case this time around.

    I think many of the reasons are fairly obvious of course. For one thing, while no book reader can plainly state that S3+S4 officially constitute a divided ASoS, given how much else has been brought in “early” for certain story lines, it’s still safe to at least say that very broadly that’s what’s happened here. That decision and all the weight it carried naturally had the team coming up with allocation from a 20-episode perspective rather often.

    Then there’s the whole thing about how Season 5 is gonna be a royal bastard to get ticking like clockwork if you ask a great many fans and the truth in that is rather showcased by some of the things D&D have echoed.

    Best of luck, fellows. I enjoy the fourth and fifth books reasonably well enough to be sure but this’ll be a trial by combat of a different color.

  • They forgot to hash out the TWINCEST?!! Amateur hour! That screening must have been intense! wow. Understanding the final scene goes… how? Nevermind.
    Glad they were given another shot… and that they’ve pulled it off pretty well thus far. (Okay, new script. Scene ONE: )

    Great article.

    Valyrian Plastic,

    I’m with you on the Bag End scenes. Those jokes were actually funny.

  • Summer is Coming,

    D&D have always said they wanted 8/80 hours, but they are two of six exec producers and we all know how risky and hard it would be to go beyond seven with the actors and all…

    I don’t know where all the rage at them has come from saying they’re cutting off the show and shoving it all into seven seasons too fast… misunderstanding I guess

    2) Monty Python is where all British comedy stems from, it was a show with a lot of famous sketches in it from a long time ago, in a medieval period I think.

    3) GRRM still doesn’t know the endgame for some characters? Oh dear. I hope that’s the minor minor loose ends like Areo and Darkstar and such

  • Dave Hill was the writer for the History & Lore’s on the Season 2 and 3 Blu-ray’s, IIRC.

  • Has the original pilot episode ever been made available? I’ve always wanted to see it for some reason.

  • This interview is amazing !

    I’m doing my degree research on Game of Thrones and fantasy in cinema and tv and there are gold moments in this interview for me !

  • House Mormont,

    Someone posted it on imdb Game of Thrones page. There’s a link to it on the bottom of the weapon’s feature thread. I’m sure there’s legal means of reading it too…

  • Love Monty Python. They made lots of sketches and some movies too. The medieval one is Monty Python and The Holy Grail. My favourite is Life of Brian though.

    Very interesting interview. I liked the awkward laugh when they discussed overtaking the books.

  • Summer is Coming,

    You’ve gone your whole life and never heard of Monty Python? Monty Python’s Flying Circus? Their iconic movies like The Holy Grail and Life of Brian, never heard of any of that?

  • I feel like the whole White-Walker/Dragons/Magic discussion was an unintentional book spoiler.

    They pretty much say that they started off without magic (as the books did) because it has to be built up, and they don’t want to alienate people.

    It feels like they’re cushioning people because the endgame is pretty much a White-Walker/Dragons/Magic onslaught.

    This is the quote:

    Dan Weiss: Nothing’s invincible. And by the time you get to those late, end-game scenarios, whatever they may be, you would be so invested—at least that’s the theory—you would be so invested in those characters that it wouldn’t yank you out of the reality. It would be all the more dire, that these things were happening to these people that you care about.

    I think Dan should have been more careful with his words because that reads like future book spoilers to me.

  • Rygar,

    Wow I thought you were kidding, kneading small boys’ buttockses is even a step up from the fat pink mast and the myrish swamp

  • Great interview, and some fascinating insights. Filming where they shot Monty Python and the Holy Grail – LOL. Wonder if they are also fans of The Goons as well? Loved that they nerded out over watching a pristine 35mm print of Kurosawa’s Ran! And I think that their concise explanation of the difficulties in translating Martin’s limited POV structure in the books to the general audience viewpoint required for a TV series should be compulsory reading for book readers.

  • James:
    I feel like the whole White-Walker/Dragons/Magic discussion was an unintentional book spoiler.

    They pretty much say that they started off without magic (as the books did) because it has to be built up, and they don’t want to alienate people.

    It feels like they’re cushioning people because the endgame is pretty much a White-Walker/Dragons/Magic onslaught.

    This is the quote:

    I think Dan should have been more careful with his words because that reads like future book spoilers to me.

    Those must be the most expected spoilers ever. Doesn’t pretty much everyone believe that the White Walkers and the dragons would have a big role in the end? Because, otherwise, what’s the point? Why start the series with the White Walkers?

  • Not enough boobs in that first pilot probably. HBO was not having that.

    Anyway, was there any boobs in the season 4 premier?

  • TWOW SPOILERS BELOW




    That chapter was amazing! I mean I’d read the notes for it before but… urgh amazing. I mean naming all the people inside the Second Sons’ tent + all the catapults + all the Yunkish commanders was jarring when it’s been so long since I read adwd but still…

    two things… the fireship blocking the bay? The fuck is a fireship? Is that victarian sacrificing a ship to the lord of light tactically so he can land troops freely?

    and this

    “but some of the Yunkish blood had collected in the fine grooves of the carving, so the pale wood seemed veined with red. “All hail our beloved queen, Daenerys.”

    I think this hints at a darker Daenerys, as a result of all her trouble with the Yunkai’i, that’s turned her white liberator dragon red with blood

  • Valyrian Plastic: Too bad it was also New Line’s idea to take a 350 page kids’ book and make it into a trilogy of 2.5+ hourmovies. At least they didn’t also say, “While your at it, feel free to pad it out with snot jokes and CGI action overkill.” I’m holding Peter Jackson responsible on that account. I must’ve been one of the few people who found the Bag End scenes the definite highlights. I still liked it, but like AFFC/ADWD it was in need of a good trimming.

    But with LOTR I think they did a tremendous job. The companies that thought 2 films would be better must have done the biggest collective facepalm since the first publisher to turn down J.K. Rowling.

    Oh god, I agree so much. I was a super fan of the LotR trilogy. Saw each film about twenty times in the theater. Such good times. Couldn’t get excited by the Hobbit movies. Still haven’t seen the second one. This classic kid’s book deserves a faithful adaptation. Such a shame. Hollywood greed. Imagine a little kid that just read the book and then went to the movies: “Mommy, what is this movie? This isn’t the book I read.”

    I’m not a big purist, but the Hobbit trilogy is a flat-out greed proposition by the studio.

  • House Mormont,

    Haven’t read the chapter yet, but I believe a fireship is when you set a ship on fire and pack it with explosives so that it will destroy ships/kill people trying to board it- IIRC Tyrion had some engineered at the Blackwater

    Also, @Rygar- I thought you were joking, but then I found the guy on the Wiki of Ice and Fire- http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Bokkoko. Hoping the naming thing is a coincidence.

  • Jordan,

    Ah I see, probably Moqorro’s grand idea though, Victarion is more too simple, and Moqorro loves flames

    also for some more twow hype, there’s a new meereneseblot essay up

  • House Mormont,

    Hmm, that would make sense. I could see it being Piracy 101 and thus something Vic would know to do, but yeah, it could very likely be a piece of battle strategy that Moqorro would know of from his avid reading (and as you say, the guy likes burning people)

  • I like the question about “White Walkers versus Dragons”.

    And the answer from D&D : “The white walkers are there. And we are building toward something with the white walkers. But what this series will not ever become is the epic conflict of good and evil. And that’s one of the very first things we said to HBO when we came in.”

    And still so many people think it will end with a big battle versus Ice and Fire. The only battle versus Ice and Fire is the inner struggles than all the characters are facing. There is Ice and Fire in each of us. It’s a human drama, not a fantasy epic “evil white walkers versus angelic dragons”. Some people are going to be surprised.

  • Also amusing how different people are taking the White Walkers thing in polar opposite directions here.

  • Ludo,

    How does not having good v evil amount to not having Ice v Fire? That would be evil v evil. White walkers are murdering magical shits. Dragons are murderous magical shits.

  • Hollyoak: Oh god, I agree so much. I was a super fan of the LotR trilogy. Saw each film about twenty times in the theater. Such good times. Couldn’t get excited by the Hobbit movies. Still haven’t seen the second one. This classic kid’s book deserves a faithful adaptation. Such a shame. Hollywood greed. Imagine a little kid that just read the book and then went to the movies: “Mommy, what is this movie? This isn’t the book I read.”

    I’m not a big purist, but the Hobbit trilogy is a flat-out greed proposition by the studio.

    The 2nd one is a substantial upgrade compared to the 1st Hobbit movie. Still does not compare to the LOTR Trilogy. Based on what I have seen of the two movies so far, making it a trilogy was a silly idea. They probably could have done two solid movies and made it good. There is enough content for 2 movies once you add in the appendices from the LOTR. 3 Movies was a pure cash grab.

    This is why I want to see GOT end after 8 seasons at the most and with no breaks in-between. The Hobbit has shown what happens when you take a break and draw things out. Not good.

  • House Mormont,

    I agree with you. I am mostly speaking about people who still think that the “good” dragons will kick the butt of the “evil” white walkers. I think it’s going to be more complicated than that.

    And I am not sure that the white walkers are used for pure evil schemes.

    If they are instruments of the children of the forest, they are just the weapon that may fulfill their vengeance and help them to reclaim their land. I believe in this theory. “All men must die because all men are shit” might well be their point of view.

  • Oh, I was thinking along House Mormont’s lines as well. I take it back; there aren’t especially divergent interpretations after all.

  • Ludo,

    I believe that the white walkers aren’t as evil as they seem, since that’s exactly what Martin criticises Tolkien for, but why would the cotf and the Others be allies when the cotf armed the First Men with dragonglass to use against the Others?

  • Nice interview. I was amused by the bit about the original pilot and how disastrous it was that people didn’t understand that Cersei and Jaime were siblings. Because even after the big, expensive do-over…that was the one common point of utter confusion among every last one of my Unsullied friends. (“Who were those two and why did it matter that the kid saw them?” “…they’re WHAT?!”) Oh well. They were all intrigued enough by the episode to keep watching, fortunately!

    I also found it interesting that D&D are aiming for Kurosawa, because I never would have made the connection. Sorry, guys. Something to aspire to, anyway!

  • anuhealani:
    Nice interview. I was amused by the bit about the original pilot and how disastrous it was that people didn’t understand that Cersei and Jaime were siblings. Because even after the big, expensive do-over…that was the one common point of utter confusion among every last one of my Unsullied friends. (“Who were those two and why did it matter that the kid saw them?” “…they’re WHAT?!”) Oh well. They were all intrigued enough by the episode to keep watching, fortunately!

    Really, that can only be about people not paying attention to what they’re watching. Otherwise, how can one ask something like that after Cersei and Jaime are shown talking about some secret they could both be executed for, in a conversation where he calls her “sister”; Cersei is introduced as the queen, king Robert’s wife, and Jaime as “her twin”; there are other scenes where we again see Cersei and that she is the queen; Cersei talks to Jaime about their brother… Should there have been a narrator afterward who said: “Yes, dear viewers, as you have just seen, the queen and her twin brother, are fucking. So that’s incest, and it’s also considered treason, since she’s the fat king’s wife. Did I mention they’re brother and sister?”

  • That part about the costumes looking brand new may be skimmed over by some. I recognize this a lot and immediately in poorly done period piece television and movies. Not only that, but much of the time they’re too… cliché. It’s probably understated to say that it’s a good thing they recognized these issues from the start.

  • I don’t know why people are saying it was New Line/WB’s idea to expand the Hobbit into a trilogy. They surely weren’t upset about it in the least, but it’s well documented that it was PJ/Fran/Philippa’s idea. They went to WB near the end of principal photography and requested to expand the films and shoot more footage the following year.

  • Annara Snow: Really, that can only be about people not paying attention to what they’re watching. Otherwise, how can one ask something like that after Cersei and Jaime are shown talking about some secret they could both be executed for, in a conversation where he calls her “sister”; Cersei is introduced as the queen, king Robert’s wife, and Jaime as “her twin”; there are other scenes where we again see Cersei and that she is the queen; Cersei talks to Jaime about their brother… Should there have been a narratorafterward who said: “Yes, dear viewers, as you have just seen, the queen and her twin brother, arefucking. So that’s incest, and it’s also considered treason, since she’s the fat king’s wife. Did I mention they’re brother and sister?”

    I think that’s exactly what they should have done, but with the narrator from the dukes of hazard.

  • I still really dislike the pilot scenes that made it into Episode 101. Sean Bean looks terrible (his hair). So do Benjen and Robert. It bugs me every time.

  • A lot of ignorant comments in here, about the Hobbit. Anyone saying it’s just a cash grab, or Hollywood greed, doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

    If you’d been following the production of those movies, the interviews and articles, the video production diaries, etc., you’d realize that there’s a lot more to it than that. It’s not nearly so simple, and Peter Jackson’s primary motivation is not greed or cash (he already has billions, he doesn’t need more, and he didn’t even WANT to direct these films at first). He’s motivated by his sheer love of movie making, his tendencies to go a little crazy and over the top, and his realization that it’s his last chance to play around in Middle-earth. It was his choice to flesh out the story, not the studio’s. Whether or not you like the expansion is a matter of opinion, but repeating the same old cliche “cash grab” line is just wrong.

    Try listening to the commentary track on the DVD, where Jackson specifically addresses these criticisms. He’s a pretty genuine and open guy, and has no reason to lie about it. He’s very up front about his reasons for making it a trilogy, whether you agree with them or not.

    Personally, I think 2 movies might have been perfect… but overall I’ve really enjoyed both films. The fact that they don’t quite measure of to The Lord of the Rings is largely due to the source material. I’m a huge Tolkien fan, but the Hobbit is a pretty meagre book and it never could have been equal to LOTR. It’s not supposed to be. These movies are supposed to be fun, fantasy adventure. It’s like LOTR without the doom and gloom. Enjoy them for what they are.

    Also, if you’re interested, check out the Tolkien Professor’s podcast where he gives a very thoughtful and interesting take on the movies. He is a Tolkien scholar, and he finds the new trilogy to be very faithful, in fact.

  • Lex,

    Thanks Lex,

    I get annoyed when I hear critics of the Hobbit films go on about corporate greed. Whether you agree with the 3 film decision or not, it was a decision on the part of the filmmakers, not the studio.

    I wasn’t pleased with the decision myself, and I feel that it negatively impacted the editing and storytelling of first film to a certain degree (though I still enjoy it). DoS, on the other hand, felt like a much more assured and polished picture. Still not up on the same level as LotR, but neither is the book. It’s a fun adventure story (albeit one that takes a dark turn near the end).

  • io9.com have a bit on details you can find on the EW coverage of Game of Thrones on their upcoming issue

    some snippets

    no pig related scene, because you know, cruelty to animals

    They built an all-new version of the Wall for the massive battle sequence in episode nine, directed by Neil Marshall, and then set this bigger version of the Wall against the largest greenscreen in Europe.

    Not a suprise based on all the trailers we’ve seen, but D&D successfully lobbied for a budget increase

    etc…

    http://io9.com/tons-of-details-on-game-of-thrones-including-whats-no-1550097800

  • As confident as I am in D&D and Cogman, it’s worrisome that they’ve left themselves so little time to write season 5 – a season that Benioff previously said gives him “nightmares.”

  • Ludo,

    I understand where you’re coming from concerning the ‘evil dragons’, and indeed that could be where its headed. But there are two kinds of dragons (main ones) in mythology. There’s the terrible beast that protects treasure, the beast that has to be slain, and then there’s the more eastern laughing, wisdom spouting dragon lol I doubt Dany’s are anything like the latter, but one thing you need to remember about ice and fire, is that in mythology, ice is always the symbol of death, always. Fire is the symbol of life and rebirth, and GRRM knows this. That doesn’t mean I automatically think, oh Dany’s going to win with her dragons and shit LOL Not at all. I think its very possible she will die (Stormborn coming to her end at Storm’s End? Would be poetic, don’t know lol), but her dragons through their destructive force will bring about the rebirth of Westeros, whatever that may be. With Fire & Blood, I expect :) And yes, she very well could become a darker figure, but this is also common in mythology. Goddesses portrayed as both the giver of life and the taker of it. That’s what Dany is. Freeing slaves one minute, shouting ‘dracarys’ the next. She can go either way, I don’t think she’ll go one way or the other, personally. Would be too boring, because nothing is that simple.

  • I laugh when people say dragons are just as bad as the Others.

    http://www.adriasnews.com/2012/10/george-r-r-martin-interview.html

    Why your saga is called A Song of Ice and Fire, because of the Wall and the dragons or is something more beyond that?

    GRRM: Oh! That’s the obvious thing but yes, there’s more. People say I was influenced by Robert Frost’s poem, and of course I was, I mean… Fire is love, fire is passion, fire is sexual ardor and all of these things. Ice is betrayal, ice is revenge, ice is… you know, that kind of cold inhumanity and all that stuff is being played out in the books.

  • suntil,

    Well said, but in the end, I’m sure the moral will be about balance. Everything in moderation. Only death can pay for life etc etc. So I still don’t think it means good news for Dany (necessarily), but I’m confident by the end of the story we’ll all be satisfied. I have faith in GRRM, even though he’s slow :) lol Better a slow writer that produces quality work than a fast one that produces dribble.

  • Dave Hill, recently knighted as staff writer. We should refer to him as Ser Daven Hill, Bastard of Ashemark. I imagine him as one of Addam Marbrand’s outriders, scouting and foraging for Lord Tywin.

  • Dan and Dave are awesome. they should ask them why they hate Stannis so much so all these Stannis freaks can STFU about it.

  • Tori Targaryen,

    Agreed. Fire will be needed to defeat Ice but it’s no good either, just a lesser evil. As for Dany, I’m convinced she’s toast.

  • suntil,

    I think countless are toast before the end arrives lol Valar Morghulis, after all lol But I can’t say I’m convinced who will live or who will die yet. I think setting your mind to this or that is wrong, because ultimately you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment if it doesn’t go your way. I want to hear GRRMs story, not mine

  • What’s sad is I finally hit the time in my life when people aren’t picking up on Monty Python references….

  • Tatters,

    No, Guillermo left in 2010 because the project was in development hell due to studio lawsuits and other legal issues. The trilogy decision wasn’t made until the films were nearing the end of principal photography in 2012. The filmmakers went to WB and made the request to add an additional film and shoot more footage the following year.

  • I agree with Lex. Both The Hobbit films were highly enjoyable, even if they dragged a bit at times. The getting lost in Mirkwood scenes were well done, and Smaug the Terrible was bloody awesome. I sat in a cinema full of people who laughed out loud at Kili and Tauriel’s interactions.

    I recently saw Monty Python and the Holy Grail for the first time and there were so many laugh out loud moments, including the “Holy hand grenade of Antioch”. I want to go find Life of Bryan to watch asap.

    This interview is great. Sure D and D have made some mistakes. The ambivalence that people had about Jamie and Cersei’s relationship reminds me a lot of how Jon’s relationship with Quorin was handled. People seemed to be unclear on why he killed him. However, it’s sounds like Jon explains himself quite well in 401 so, maybe they know this and made sure Jon’s motivations will become more clear. They obviously have a deep understanding and sensitivity toward the characters and books, with very refined intellectual tastes and concerns, so I trust them to the end.

  • House Mormont,

    Historically, in Nelson’s Navy fire ships were small sloops, fitted out to relatively safely store the gunpowder and explosives for the fleet they sailed with. On the stations, there would typically be one permanently moored in the middle of a harbor, a much safer powder store than the barracks eg. The Thrush, a sloop Jane Austen used, was the fire ship in the harbor at Kingstown, Jamaica after ship-worm rendered it unseaworthy. It foundered in a hurricane in 1810.

    So not every fire ship was meant to be set on fire, although that is clearly what Tyrion means by ‘fire ship’ and the tactic has been used since the siege of Tyre, 332BC, which seems not unlike. Interesting.

  • Lex:
    A lot of ignorant comments in here, about the Hobbit. Anyone saying it’s just a cash grab, or Hollywood greed, doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

    If you think that the money aspect wasn’t the main consideration when taking the decision to do three instead of two movies, then I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

    You can say that there were other issues considered that played a part. You can say that Jackson genuinely believed that it was the right decision. But the fact the final decision was taken by the studio executives, and their concern was maximizing benifit (aka, informally, “moneygrabbing”).

  • Sir Dosser,

    Agreed, how are people saying this chapter was awesome is beyond me. Its the same boring Meereen plot that we have been used since ADWD, i wish the battle would happen faster so we can get the hell out of there already.

  • So 9 seasons for GOT.

    Oh and with respect to THE HOBBIT, the studio was beyond surprised when PJ told them he had 3 movies. They never thought they could get that. It was Jackson’s prerogative, pure and simple.

  • Tyrionisthebest,

    All TWOW preview chapters are essentially leftovers form ADWD, so it’s not surprising that they’ve got the same problems. Theon’s chapters were the highlight of ADWD, while the pacing in the rest of the book was way too slow. Same thing with the preview chapters.

    I’d give anything to read an actual new TWOW chapter. TPatQ showed that GRRM can still move the plot at a ridiculously high speed if he wants to, the question is just if he will.

  • DEATHDREAMS: I think that’s exactly what they should have done,but with the narrator from the dukes of hazard.

    Waylon Jennings. Give credit where credit is due. Yee haw! :)

  • Tatters,

    I’m not sure I understand. Defend what? The trilogy decision? Jackson has spoken numerous times about it, giving his reasons, and he doesn’t seem to have any regrets about it.

  • Tyrionisthebest,

    Its awesome because its one of the most well written battles and a conclusion to the arc from ADWD. Also dragons. And battle. And ironborn.
    Extra ser grandfather too. With just enough of Ben being Ben, and becoming awesome. I bet you ignore this because its Meereen. Thats too bad, because you wont appreciate the story picking up.

  • Valaquen,

    This, please god let D&D cut Penny from the show. What a useless annoying characrter.
    Also no Mance Glamor please Bryan/D&D. Worst plot trick in history.

  • Rygar,

    Jaime and Cersei look up and see Bran watching them go at it.
    Screen freezes
    “Those Lanister twins have got themselves into a real pickle this time. If Boss Hog, I mean King Rob finds out about this, they’ll really be in trouble. ”
    Cut to commercial.

  • Here’s the season 5 characters I think we will get
    1) Jon Connington (essential for Tyrions storyline)
    2) Young Griff (ditto)
    3) The hot septa (because boobs)
    4) Doran Martell (Dorne POV)
    5) Arianne Martell (Ditto)
    6) Obarra Sand (Ditto)
    7) Victorian Greyjoy (will be essential to Dany POV)
    8) Euron Greyjoy (my wishful thinking)
    9) Quentyn Martell (his death will put the Martells against Dany and possibly making them side with Young Griff)
    10) Manderly (because Frey Pie)
    11) Leader of the 7 faith (because he imprisons Cersei)
    12) Cersei’s fodder small council members (a queen loves her yes men)
    13) Arya’s facelessman instructor

  • John M W,

    Im sure the studio gave him those reasons, or not. Maybe Jackson is holding the studio in a iron grip. So the studio may be objecting but we doesnt know it? Maybe the same as that interview where they talked about nudity in GoT and the directors putting in extra because of pressure from executives. You often hear D&D being somewhat embarrased about some nudity.
    Deja Vu. It all happens betweent every director and studio, author and editer.

  • Annara Snow,

    I used to think that way, too. But after hearing so many accounts of total confusion (not just among people I know personally; much of the professional criticism throughout season 1 complained similarly about character confusion) I was forced to acknowledge that the answer to your question “How can one ask something like that?” is “Quite easily,” and that my book knowledge was clouding my judgment. I don’t know how they could have better solved the problem, but the fact remains that with 30ish fantasy character and place names shoved into a single episode, it was a problem—not just for people playing with their phones or running the episode in the background while they do chores, but for a lot of intelligent, involved TV viewers who place a lot of importance on remaining undistracted while they watch.

    I’m absolutely one to rail against the dumbing down of TV/movies to serve the lowest common denominator, and it’s certainly much easier to gloss over the problem with the excuse of “well, you must not have been paying close attention,” but it ultimately doesn’t do any service to your product to alienate a chunk of your target demographic if you can avoid it. (Luckily, the show didn’t, but comments like that do, as they come across as purely condescending.)

  • Sir Dosser,

    How is these chapters boring?
    All the storylines are picking up.
    Will you complain still when someone important dies or wins? I am sorry, i just read it and it was the most chaotic battle descriptions i have seen of George, and the Pov character is going mental. Bravo.

  • Turncloak,

    For Dorne I think they would have to get somebody more than an extra to play Arys Oakheart and Possibly Darkstar, I would also like to see them cast Areo Hotah, and the waif for Arya’s Storyline. though i know those might be pushing it.

  • Tatters,

    As you can tell by my namesake i am a huge Tyrion fan and i wanted to like this chapter very much but the fact that the writing seems to be the same slow based one that we have been used in the past two books doesnt look good . I hope i am proven wrong and it gets better later but for now i am not that excited to be honest except for the Theon and the whole North situation .

  • Tatters,

    I said it was Jackson’s idea, not that the studio wasn’t thrilled with the decision. I’m sure (hell, positive) they were. The timing probably wasn’t best for them (a lot of their marketing – i.e. toys, tie-in products, etc. already had characters from the second film that were originally supposed to be in the first). But I’ve no doubt they were willing to work around that if it meant they were going to get another film.

    But every piece of evidence says that Jackson, Walsh & Boyens brought the idea to WB. Any other speculation is just conspiracy theory.

    For those of us who followed the production closely, the move wasn’t all that surprising considering the principal photography on the films was just about as long as the shoot for ‘Rings’.

  • Sir Dosser: Sad to say, but a very boring chapter. Only goodreleased chapter from WOW so far has been Theon.

    I disagree ! I really liked it !

    Tyrion has some nice development and some really good lines, Penny seemed to me an interesting character for the first time, the way the battle unravels outside seems amazing (cant wait for Victarion and Barristan’s chapters) and the ending in the tent was epic !

  • John M W,

    And as I was the one who brought it up I feel I should clear it up. I get why they would want to expand it to 3 films, for a number of reasons. It allows them to dig into the appendices and foreshadow future events (as prequels normally do), and of course they stand to make over 3 million dollars (should T&BA be a hit and that’s pretty much guaranteed) instead of 2 million.

    I liked the first film and I’m sure when I see the second and third ones I will like them too, but The Hobbit is not LOTR. That was a 1200-page book which needed to be cut into 3 parts back in the day and already recieved substantial cutting to be put on film. The Hobbit may be short but it’s packed with brilliant moments, which meant it couldn’t easily be made into a single film, 2 would’ve been a stretch but still possible. 3 would be acceptable IF they made all the films less than 150 minutes each. They’re meant to be aimed at children, why make them so long?

    There was plenty of content in the standard edition they could’ve saved for the extended editions, which so far haven’t been ever near as generous as the LOTR ones, which I own and love. The best thing about them is they each have an act break, which the film as seen in the cinema doesn’t (I presume, as I’ve not seen a film in a cinema since the 4th Harry Potter).

  • Arkash,

    Definitely agree with you Arkash, things are suddenly getting really interesting in Meereen. This battle is gonna be like an orgasmic release after the long stagnation of the Meereeneese knot. This battle is the untangling of the knot!

    Turncloak,

    What about fake arya? But yeah apart from her thats pretty much all the characters we need. Perhaps a Kettleblack (definitely don’t need 3). I would like 3 sandsnakes though (Obarra, Lady Nym and Tyene) as they all get sent off on separate missions at the end of DWD. There are other characters I’d like to see like Genna Lannister and Tytos Blackwood but they’re not really essential. The season 5 character I’m most looking forward to is definitely Wyman Manderly. Its weird even though season 4 is just around the corner, I can’t stop thinking about what season 5 is gonna be like!

  • Turncloak,

    Here’s what I think:

    Absolutely 100% make it:
    “Young Griff”
    Jon Connington
    Wyman Manderly
    The Kindly Man
    The High Sparrow
    Random Freys where necessary

    Probably will make it but might not:
    Euron Greyjoy (unless they cut that storyline, he’ll definitely make it)
    Doran Martell (that)
    Arianne Martell (that)
    Tyene Sand (a combined set of Sand Snakes under the roof of Tyene)
    Obara Sand (that)
    Aerys Oakheart (if Dorne makes it he will too)
    Darkstar (that)
    Jeyne Poole or a replacement (who knows, but she or some stand in character will probably appear as a fake… you know who)
    The Tattered Prince/Brown Ben Plumm(combined?)- necessary for a couple of storylines
    The Shavepate- if a certain theory is correct, he should make it. Also, it helps flesh out Meereen (where we could spend a big chunk of the season)
    The Green Grace- the same as the Shavepate
    Justin Massey- as an advisor to Stannis and a potentially more important role in the future (if the TWOW chapter is anything to go by)

    50/50:
    Kevan and Lancel- their (presumed) lack of attendance in the Royal Wedding is noted, but their roles become important later…
    Victarion Greyjoy- he’ll only make it if it’s absolutely essential that he and Euron are two different characters (if they can be combined, he probably won’t)
    Areo Hotah- he’s not really a role that demands much and any physical actor could do it. If he becomes important later, he’ll make it; if not, he probably won’t.
    Septon Meribald- that speech is too good to not put on screen
    The Waif- there is room for her if a storyline is cut (Dorne or the Iron Islands) and she is a cool character overall
    Quentyn: easily cuttable (with his role given to others) but also a cool character with a cool arc (most of it is offscreen though). It could go either way.
    Penny- she is important for Tyrion’s arc, but can be cut around. She is also extremely annoying. I think we will figure out this season whether she has a chance of making it (at the Royal Wedding) but I am not optimistic here
    Vogarro’s Whore- a cool one-off character. Could go either way.
    Barbrey(?) Dustin- we do need to have the presence of northern lords and she and Manderly are the most standout ones in ADWD…

    Almost certainly cut:
    Aeron- boring and seemingly unimportant. It will be a blessing if we get TWO Greyjoy brothers, and if we will it’ll be Vic and Euri. That said, he might be super important later on… I doubt it, though.
    Sweets
    Shitmouth
    Gerris Drinkwater OR Arch

    Definitely cut:
    Strong Belwas- he always lets them cut him once…
    A third Sand Snake aside from Sarella in season 6
    All of Griff’s companions, likely to be replaced by Varys, since I doubt he’ll disappear for a whole season

    I think I’m missing a couple, though…

  • Hand of the Kingslayer,

    I’m interested in your take on Hyle Hunt, Nimble Dick Crab, Randyl Tarly, Cotter Pyke, Dennis Malister, and what will they do when xaro is supposed to come back? Will we get leathers…We have to get Wex Pyke Don’t we?

  • ace,

    Early in the season, Lady Olenna says, “Killing a man at a wedding. Horrid. What sort of monster would do such a thing? As if men need more reasons to fear marriage.”

    Oh, that’s fantastic.

    Great interview with Benioff and Weiss. This show is in very good hands.

  • Deathdreams,

    Oh Dang yeah I forgot about that… Um either have a new Qartheen character or just cut that bit. Its not that important although I did like the bit with the bloodstained glove being left on the pillow as a declaration of war.

  • Deathdreams,

    Hyle Hunt is likely cut since I believe we’ll see Brienne’s AFFC arc to completion (I think she will witness Stoneheart hanging some Freys) this season. But he could appear in season 5, when Stoneheart sends Brienne out to get Jamie. She will likely send her out with one of the BWB to make sure she doesn’t just run off, and maybe that could be a slightly different version of Hyle Hunt. Otherwise I don’t see it happening…

    Randyl Tarly isn’t coming in season 4, so he gets the Hyle Hunt treatment. He could appear during Brienne’s travels in season 5, when she looks for Jamie. And there’s still the chance that she won’t get to Stoneheart this season, but it seems unlikely to me.

    Nimble Dick probably isn’t happening, as much as I liked him.

    Cotter Pyke and Dennis Mallister are not needed. There are enough players at the Wall for now, and I don’t think they will cast any more people than they need to considering the already huge list of new characters for the season. They could make it if Dorne or the Iron Islands (and this applies to a bunch of characters, in general). At most I’d see them adding one new Watchmen, and that would be Bowen Marsh (though he can also be replaced by already existing characters). Leathers could make it- they need to show that side of the Wildlings post-season 4. I’d put him in the 50/50 slot. On the topic of the Wall, I think Wun Wun won’t make it either. He’s too expensive a character, and there’s little time to set that up…

    When it comes to Wex, I don’t think we will see that same character, but rather a random smallfolk character who saw Rickon and Osha.

    But I can’t really say for sure about any of these…

  • Oh and Xaro’s role would just be replaced by a Yunkish slaver. Possibly the one that bartered with Dany in season 3 episode 7, for continuity’s sake.

  • cosca,

    Why the Darkstar hate? Did you not understand that he is of the night?!

    Well, GRRM is setting him up as an important character. Who knows what he’ll end up doing in TWOW? I’ll tell you who knows, D&D know. So it’s up to them, really

  • Tyrionisthebest,

    I know this wasn’t in response to me but I’m bored so here’s my 2 cents.
    No Quentyn isn’t cool but I think thats the point of his character. He isn’t an awesome badass, he’s a normal guy who I could relate to. He’s like AJ Soprano. He’s no ones favorite character (far from my favorite) but I like him and felt for him. He didn’t want to let his father and his people down so he attempted something crazy and paid the price for it. I don’t think there’s any need to show his journey travelling to Dany though. I think there should be the scene where Doran tells Arianne that Quentyn has gone to find Dany to ask for her hand in marriage – cut to Quentyn presenting himself to Dany in her throne room. This way the audience knows who Quentyn is and why he’s there without having ever even seen him before.

  • Tyrionisthebest,

    Rather a slow burn toward the end, the real end. I just enjoy the ride which is rich and detailed. That so many characters are so close has not happened since the purple wedding.
    At least it gets interesting when all these iron born do something. And dragons. I am going to scream dragon until every south park fan can piss themselves. People have been crying for this for 18 years, they better be fucking satisfied. Yes i love these dragons, which i never thought i would, and never have before. They are up there with the one ring when it comes to fantasy creations.

  • Hoyti Von Totiy,

    Hey, AFFC/ADWD are full of awesome, if you make the necessary cuts and speed the story up.

    Slynt’s beheading, Jon’s Caesar moment, Cersei’s brainless intrigues and imprisonment, Theon saving Jeyne (if she’s in the show), Dany flying on Drogon, Stannis becoming awesome, Ara in Braavos… I can keep going^^

  • My apologies if this question has been addressed elsewhere on this site, but are we getting Penny in the show this season, during Joffrey’s wedding? I know that the pigs are out, but obviously she becomes important later (although maybe not on the show).

  • I’d like to see Clayton Suggs cast, just because he’s one of the most despicable characters this world.

  • We can’t be close-minded in regards to the Penny dilemma. It doesn’t have to be “she’s in or she’s out”. It is always possible for the show to make a Penny character that is..you know..less annoying, and more awesome or interesting. Tyrion is gonna probably need someone to interact with (would be difficult with Mormont), because that is how the show is able to convey character’s complex internal emotions that the books could easily do with internal monologue.

  • Dan,

    IIRC there was a callout from a dwarf extra company that could be it. Also, GRRM said there would be halftime entertainment. So it’s possible, but we don’t really know for sure.

  • Dan,

    She doesn’t even remove her helmet at the wedding so they don’t need to cast her part yet, a dwarf extra is fine.

  • Summer is Coming,

    Others have replied about Monty Python–the key thing to note is that it was a British comedy group who did skits (many of which were historically based–“She turned me into a newt….I got better!” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzYO0joolR0) and they were IMHO and many other peoples’ opinion extremely funny. They focused on absurdity mostly, creating characters with really extreme personalities and stretching that as far as it would go–sometimes their work would get weird (“Fishy fishy you did love it so….” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVgA_Mx-yTc) . They wrote their own skits but I believe they used quite a lot of improvisation as well. The group members, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, and Terry Jones are all still alive (I think) and have gone on to do lots of other great work (D&D even refer to one of John Cleese’s movies called “A Fish Called Wanda”–which is worth a watch BTW). The other founding member Graham Chapman died quite a while ago. One of their most famous movies is The Holy Grail and has knights running around the English countryside in full armor acting quite silly.

    There are two kinds of absurdity–the funny kind and the dramatic, chaotic and often unexplained kind. And there is quite a lot of the latter in GOT–as there is in real life. Most fantasy doesn’t include absurdity because it’s is so restrictive–everyone is good/bad, everything happens for a reason and good always wins. But GOT is full of incidents where we realize that a character we cared about didn’t just survive or something because they were destined to, they got lucky (or unlucky as the case may be). Like when Tyrion went into battle and got knocked out early on, missing the worst of it. Or the fact that Tryion, while physically the least daunting of his family, is really the most suited to power because of his intelligence and his conscience (and I say this for both book Tyrion and tv Tryion). Or when Bran fell because he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. So D&D will never go to the Monty Python kind of absurd funny but they certainly recognize that there is a link beyond just the fact that they’re filming a “medieval-type” show.

    (sorry if that was pedantic, can’t help myself sometimes)

  • Maybe I have been living in a bubble but is this the first time D&D talked about GRRM asking them who they thought Jon’s mother was? To me that exciting as hell to know there is a lot more to the story then he is just Ned’s bastard. I was being pessimistic thinking I would be let down to find out the was nothing to the R+L=J theories. I for one hoping it is something along those lines.

  • Johnny3toes,

    It’s probably the thousandth time they’ve told that story. But it’s good to see that some people are only just hearing it, otherwise it would have been completely pointless.

  • Johnny3toes:
    Maybe I have been living in a bubble but is this the first time D&D talked about GRRM asking them who they thought Jon’s mother was? To me that exciting as hell to know there is a lot more to the story then he is just Ned’s bastard. I was being pessimistic thinking I would be let down to find out the was nothing to the R+L=J theories. I for one hoping it is something along those lines.

    You have indeed been living in a bubble because that D&D/GRRM tidbit about Jon’s mother needs to be retired for all future interviews due to overuse. It’s cool but it’s been mentioned in EVERY single “how did you get Martin to agree to do the show” interview that’s been done over past 5 years.

  • hunt and crab show what the cost of the war has done to the commoners and the land threw the eyes of a beauty’s eyes. randyl tarly I have a feeling play a huge part in the coming seasons are he is the man of military prowess in the grow strong camp plus he is the father of a black brother. anyone know what the black fish is doing after DWD?

  • Tyrionisthebest,

    If you really like Tyrion, you should really like the new sample chapter because 1) it shows that Tyrion and Jorah are having more influence over the Second Sons, which means more power for Tyrion, 2) it sets up Tyrion to meet and side with Daenerys, which is HUGE, 3) it foreshadows that Tyrion will end up riding a dragon–the white one, AND 4) it increases Daenerys momentum–which is moving her toward returning to Westeros and that would mean returning with Tryion. Don’t you want Tyrion to go back to Westeros with a host of great power? How else could GRRM have accomplished that without attaching him via the mercenary soldiers and their defection to Daenerys in some fashion? Do you really not have a clue as to where GRRM is going? He surprises us, sure, but even his plot points can sometimes be discerned. OR are you trolling us? I suspect trolling–seriously.

  • Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ,

    I hate all these sample chapters that GRRM is throwing at us. It’s so hard not to read them. I just don’t want to read half the battle before the book is in my hands. I don’t want to spoil it… But that book isn’t coming out yet! So hard :'(

  • Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ,

    I think Tyrion become her top strategist a little family reverse of Black water while the white dragon is meant for jon targerian (sic) first of his name and egg for the green for in jon is FIRE and ICE!

    my mother is a Pisces

  • Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ,

    Good explanation. I”d also add that the Holy Grail film spoofs idealized conceptions of the Middle Ages and a surprisingly large amount of its humor is surprisingly historically accurate (Python member Terry Jones is a historian).

    One line that stands out is one where a peasant questions King Arthur’s legitimacy being based on a special sword given to him by a “Strange Pond Woman”- substitute Fire for Pond and you have Stannis and Melisandre in a nutshell.

  • Hand of the Kingslayer,

    I have a theory about Connington and Young Griff–I think GRRM is using them as a red herring in the books and I think they will be left out of the show. In the book, Connington and Young Griff arriving before Daenerys in Westeros buys GRRM time to get Daenerys out of the Mireneese knot he put her into AND will push her to move faster to get back. D&D know the Mireneese knot is coming and I think they are going to shorten that period and avoid the same plot problem as GRRM–hence no need for Young Griff or Connington.

    OTOH In the book Connnington and Young Griff returning to Westeros increases pressure on the Lannisters in Kings Landing and sows chaos from Dorne into the heart of Westeros, which helps to weaken and destabilize the Lannisters and kingdom unity–which softens it for the invasion of a large force with a central leader like Daenerys. This can be seen in real history, happening time and time again…GRRM uses historical patterns and this is an important motif in the books. Also, historically speaking, I think he is using Griff as a “pretender” or “precursor” for Daenerys. Young Griff will declare himself “The Dragon” and fail. It will make it harder for Daenerys to claim to be the “true savior”–already disappointed people in Westeros will need a lot of proof. This will provide a good obstacle for Daenerys character to overcome. So maybe I am wrong and D&D will incorporate this story line…..?

    In the end, I don’t think Young Griff will end up on the throne (on TV or in the books) because GRRM loves to turn standard fantasy tropes on their head. We saw that Bran might have been a “future king” in the very beginning (D&D called him a “sword in the stone” kind of boy) and we know how that has turned out. I think Young Griff is another one of those kinds of boys….we expect he will be someone important so GRRM won’t make it so and fans will latch on to the character like drowning people do to flotsam and there is a good likelihood that GRRM will snatch that flotsam right out of their hands . /rubbing hands together with glee in maniacal fashion

    I can’t wait for the next book…AAARRRGHHH!!!!

  • WE DO NOT SOW,

    Benioff & Weiss have gone on record to dismiss Stannis as a pivotal character, at
    least their perception of him being worthy of the Iron Throne. I’m really disappointed
    the way he’s been depicted on GoT. There are many seasons left, so I’ve not lost hope.

  • Hand of the Kingslayer,
    Surely some of these will be in play before season five?
    We’ve seen the Viper’s spear so Tyrion’s trial by combat is a given. Jaime in White in spite of his father’s objections, and Martyn Lannister back from the dead to play Tommen, and ‘sparrows’ appearing in the cast, mean the High Sparrow’s time is nigh, and Cersie’s small council comes into play too. I’m guessing Paul Bentley’s time will be up by Ep 5 “First of his Name”
    On Qartheen friends, do you think we will see Quaithe again? On the one hand, it would be pretty easy for any other prophet to absorb her, on the other, she could as easily absorb any other prophet given that she ‘is no-one’ in a distinctive mask, and all the other prophets have to look like someone.

    Sigur Rós – I’m hoping they do “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” in season four as Abel’s Washerwomen

    Combining Victarion and Euron – eww. Smartass and dumbass :-)

  • UtherGreenShirt,

    You may be right about the white dragon and Jon instead of Tyrion–but it still foreshadows Tyrions involvement with the dragons. I’ve always predicted that the three dragon riders will be from the three leading Westeros families–Stark (Jon), Targaryan (Daenerys) and Lannister (Tyrion). In regards to Egg–he lived 100-200 years before the current characters so I think you are confused there.

  • Whispering Walda,

    I hope we’ll see Quathie… Maybe they could shove some of the House of the Undying prophecies in there (three treasons and the like).

    Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ,

    Aegon will NOT win. You are absolutely right there. I can’t say I like him very much, too. I will forever remember “pick it up”. Such a douche… On topic, there is a running theory that Aegon is a fake and is actually a Blackfyre, it’s interesting if you haven’t come across it. There’s definitely enough evidence to support it. Either way, I think Dany and Aegon will be at eachother’s throats fairly quickly- the Dance if the Dragons 2.0.

  • “And part of it is that weird thing, when you’re really into a book and you know there’s only so much left in your right hand—the weight is getting lighter and lighter. That has the sense of momentum.”

    Yeeeeee! *melts*

    Polanski’s Macbeth! Yay! This is actually a great mention because the thing Polanski does so well is play with genre and one’s expectations of that genre, which is what people constantly mention regarding ASoIaF. I actually argue that this series isn’t fantasy at all, because fantasy has certain themes and plot expectations (like sci-fi) that this series decidedly does not follow. Instead I say it is a quasi-historical/political/human drama that just happens to have dragons in it. And Star Wars is fantasy, not sci-fi, so take that!

    Love the discussion on developing character and how to translate POV chapters onto the screen, using foils, etc. I’ve always said there are two (common) ways to write a story, especially for film and TV: you can have a plot and create characters to fulfill roles within that plot and shove them around a bit to get the outcomes you need, or you can create full characters and throw them into situations together to see what happens. HBO is excellent at producing the latter. A great compare and contrast was when the first season of The Newsroom aired at the same time as Political Animals.

    “I annoy my wife constantly, because we’ll be watching TV in bed together, and I’ll say, “This is about to happen.” And then usually it does. And she’s like, “Oh my God, how’d you know that?” It’s only because this is what I do for a living. You start to see how the sausage is made.”

    Ahhhhhahahaha I do this all the time and drive my friends insane, but it is true. Once you write scripts, you know what’s in the sausage. A friend of mine has been forcing me to watch The Walking Dead, and my deal is I will watch it with him if he puts up with my snarky commentary, to which he agreed (somehow). Every few minutes I’ll say what’s about to happen or mutter the dialogue so-and-so is about to say. At first he thought I was psychic, and I let him run with that for a while, but I had to crush his wee heart and announce there is nothing oracular about spotting cliches.

    That’s one of the things I love so much about this series–almost all of my predictions have been so pitifully dead wrong, and being wrong is really exciting for me. Err, not because I’m always right, but because being right is rather dull and uninteresting. Like The Walking Dead. :D

  • Crazy idea… what if they substituted Hyle Hunt with Loras Tyrell?

    Since Tyrell isn’t in the KG in the show, he can be free to leave the King’s Landing.

  • Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ: I’ve always predicted that the three dragon riders will be from the three leading Westeros families–Stark (Jon), Targaryan (Daenerys) and Lannister (Tyrion).

    If the whole R+L=J thing is true, which seems somewhat confirmed what with hints in interviews lately, wouldn’t that technically make Jon a Targaryan?

  • Hand of the Kingslayer: Only if R and L married. Otherwise he stays a Snow.

    So you take the bastard name of the area you live, not who your father was? I know “bastards from the North” take the name Snow, but thought having a Targ father might change that. Still, technically he would be a Targaryan, just not in name, just as he’s thought to technically be a Stark, even though he’s a Snow. I assumed the obsession with patriarchy would extend even to bastards.

  • Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ,

    I agree with you that Young Griff is a red herring, but he will end up in the show. Getting fake Aegon on the throne was the end game for Varys and Illyrio from the first book. I suspect fAegon is really a Blackfyre, although he may not know it. Only Varys and Illyrio know the truth. Tyrion probably suspects this may be the case and is the reason why Tyrion manipulated fAegon into not seeking out Dany and starting the invasion without her.

    I don’t see Dany lasting to the end of the series. I think the three Dragon riders will end up being Jon, Tyrion and the real Aegon.

  • fuelpagan,

    And who that REAL Aegon would be?

    JamesL,

    My whole life? I’m not old! I’m in my early 20’s. And I’m not British or American. So why would I hear about it? I’ve heard about many things, you’ve never heard of.

    Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ,

    Thank you for the explanation!

  • James:
    I feel like the whole White-Walker/Dragons/Magic discussion was an unintentional book spoiler.

    They pretty much say that they started off without magic (as the books did) because it has to be built up, and they don’t want to alienate people.

    It feels like they’re cushioning people because the endgame is pretty much a White-Walker/Dragons/Magic onslaught.

    This is the quote:

    I think Dan should have been more careful with his words because that reads like future book spoilers to me.

    If that’s a spoiler then it’s a painfully obvious one. I’ve assumed since at least the second book that that’s the direction the story is headed.

  • Ser Pounce:
    Dan and Dave are awesome. they should ask them why they hate Stannis so much so all these Stannis freaks can STFU about it.

    I just assumed most of “all these Stannis freaks” are one person/troll posting under multiple names….

  • Here’s some food for thought that I just heard. Though it’s not necessarily specific to Game of Thrones it does get me thinking about about myths and their origins…

    Today we are roughly as far away in time from ancient Rome as the ancient Romans were from the ancient Egyptians and ancient Rome existed around the time of the legendary King Arthur. I wonder what the Romans thought about the Egyptians back then and if there were stories that were lost over the centuries.

    Anyway, can’t wait for the new season!

  • Hand of the Kingslayer,

    I’m not even sure what remark you were replying to!? It sure doesn’t make sense as a response to my flippant remark about Internet connections in Morocco in viewing casting photos!

  • Richard Beckham II,

    Well Alexandria was burned out like the red keep so I expect a two thousand year game of telephone fucking things right up. History is a crazy cycle of logarithmic birth and death, and we can be certain of only one thing.
    All men must die.

  • Valyrian Plastic,

    It wasn’t New Line’s idea though, Peter Jackson went to them according to him, so may as well blame him. Artistic choices in stretching the story to pull some stuff from appendices and make other crap up.

  • Vyrion,

    The history is all there. He just pulled things from outside the hobbit to pad it out for the fans… He wanted to tell the epic tale and see things in screen that would otherwise never make it. He brought up the business proposition, (which was his own creative ambition) and the studio said… Uhm, no brainier.
    Kinda like how you can’t blame DnD/hbo OR grrm for how things pan out. Interaction rules where humans reign.
    Don’t mean ya gonna please everybody

  • I don’t think there is a “real Aegon”. Varys may have lied about the baby swopping. In which context is this made known and to who? I don’t remember. This story might just be a convenient way for Varys to prove that his Aegon is legit.

    Jon and Tyrion qualify as dragon riders if they are both Targaryens, as I understand it. Jon via L+R, and Tyrion via Joanna and Aerys. I’ve always found it interesting how, in a story that begins with the themes of genetic heritage (Joffrey), we also get close descriptions of how Tyrion and Jon look. Jon is described in the first GoT Bran chapter as having eyes of such a dark grey that they appear almost black. I believe a similar description is given to other Targs, including Egg (by Dunk). Tyrion is described as having one green eye and one black eye and his hair is more silver than blond. But there are various other clues speckled throughout the series.

    What I look forward to most is that, if Dany ends up making it to Westeros and claims the IT, how will Jon’s possible heritage play into all of the larger politics? Say, Rhaegar married Lyanna and he is legit (and alive, lol). How will he find out? Will only he know? Who will he share this information with? Will he use it to his advantage? Is there some clue to this in Lyanna’s crypt? Tohrren Stark’s crown maybe? Who knows.

  • howlan reed knows the truth and bran i have a good idea will know the truth in time. can i ask where is faegon idea came from? unless varys is a blackfire….

  • UtherGreenShirt

    There are some existing theories over at the Ice and Fire forums that speculates that yes, Varys is a Blackfire Targ and he wants his Aegon on the throne. Apparently if you read the Golden Company chapters closely, their stance on Aegon is that they don’t take him seriously. I agree with you on Bran and Howland knowing. Bran will tap into the Weirnet and see things that he is meant to see. The things is, what will Jon do if he finds out? And for some reason people keep missing the most obvious of clues in aDwD: about a chapter or two before Jon’s stabbing, the raven calls Jon by his full name, which Jon notes as odd. But the raven calls Jon “King… Snow, and then Jon Snow Jon Snow, in threes like he always does. It gives the impression that Bran is already warging the raven at this point and is trying to communicate with Jon.

  • Morna the Witch,

    I believe it was fuelpagan upthread who mentioned the co-existence of a fAegon and also a “real Aegon” who will ride a dragon. I think this is unlikely.

    For me, Tyrion eventually riding a dragon is very obvious. Which is why I question whether it will happen…. knowing our beloved author. The dual eyes, the dragon dreams of his childhood, his interest in learning “how to tame a dragon”, Aerys obsession with Joanna and Tywin’s abrupt departure from KL and his position as hand; and even Tywin’s line to Tyrion in season 3, “… because I cannot prove you are not my son” regarding his Casterly Rock inheritance. All seem to lead us in this direction….

  • Summer is Coming,

    The real Aegon…my guess is Daario. GRRM is very coy describing his age. I brought this up on westeros shortly after ADwD came out and everyone said he was too old, even though the descriptions were vague. Then the show had Dany mention how young Daario looked to be a captain. His eyes are sometimes blue, sometimes purplish given his hair color, much the same way Young Griff’s eye color changes with a change of hair color.

    Some think it may be Darkstar, but I think Darkstar is another Blackfyre. Varys and Illyrio’s first attempt to swap a Targaryen with a Blackfyre, only Rheanys was born a girl and the plan was aborted.

    IIRC it was Varys who supplied Rhaegar with the book about the prophecy, probably in the hopes of persuading Rhaegar to start trying to produce a legitimate heir. Once a boy was born around the same time a Blackfyre boy was born, Varys orchestrated the rebellion for a chance to steal Aegon away. Illyrio sent Connington off for a couple of years to fake his slow death. (Something Connington regrets, but Varys insisted.) In which time the child swap took place. With it being a grave crime in the eyes of the gods to kill a kin, they would have sent the boy off to a place he would likely die, but not by their own hands. Then Varys and Illyrio would wait until the fake Aegon grew old enough to take the throne back.

    Anyway, that’s what I’ve pieced together. I can’t come up with anything else to explain why Varys sometimes is pro Targaryen, but Barristan sees Varys as the one who push King Aerys II into madness. The best way I see to prove Young Griff is fake is for the real Aegon to show up and those who knew Rhaegar could see features in the real Aegon that are missing in the fake one. Much the same way Stannis was trying to prove Joffrey wasn’t Robert’s son with Edric Storm.

  • Morna the Witch,

    The problem lies with Varys reputation. With as cautious a man as Connington appears to be, I don’t see him accepting Varys word alone that Aegon didn’t die by the hands of Ser Gregor. If Connington was a part of the rescue, then JC can say without a doubt that Aegon lived and this kid is truly Aegon. (Yes, I know this isn’t spelled out, GRRM is being coy with this too.) Aegon’s claim is riding on Connington’s reputation as an honest person. If it rode on Varys reputation alone I don’t see many followers joining Aegon’s cause.

  • Sister Wrister, I like your thinking with regards to Tyrion. What a sad irony it would be if Tyrion, a Targ and ideally suited and worthy of being a Dragon rider, never gets a dragon. Very George Martinesque. And when Jon gets offered a dragon he will probably just say no, knowing in his heart of hearts that he is really from the North.

    Thanks, fuelpagan for clarifying this. I never thought about it in this way. It would be grave indeed if the whole rebellion was orchestrated by people who wanted a pawn on the throne. Then again I almost understand Varys’s reasoning, considering what was done to him and seeing the slow decline of the Targaryen dynasty. Seen in this light, his stance toward Dany also becomes more clear. However, his irony will be that, even if he does get Aegon on the throne, the innocents will never stop suffering.

  • Jon? Having been “killed” surviving or resezed I think he would use the wild army to first locate the enemies of the north in the north then announce to the world that via a Direwolf/3headed dragon Banner before riding on a dragon. How doesnt Varys know aobut Jon tho? Tyrion and Jon got on well enough mix Dany with them to go against the whites and lions/gardeners/fake dragons maybe. If Jon is legit then HE would have the greatest claim to the throne over dany and r/faegon. Jon would use the lessons learned at the wall and be the king that the realm has needed for a long time aka melting the Iron Throne to slag.

  • fuelpagan,

    This is very interesting. Are you assuming/suggesting that Varys is a Blackfyre? I’m looking for his motive in all this.

    I don’t remember Barriston blaming Varys for the Mad King’s decent. But fair enough. So are you suggesting that he is also pulling JonCon’s strings, or is JonCon complicit in the plan to put a Blackfyre on the throne. Given his friendship/mancrush on Rhaeghar, it would seem that he really thinks he’s doing what is right; to get the true heir back to westeros to take the throne. Wouldn’t he have noticed that this kid is not Rhaegar’s son? Or are you suggesting that this will only become clear to him when he sees young Griff and Daario side by side?

  • Sister Wrister,

    Ser Barristan once told me the rot in King Aerys’s reign began with Varys. The eunuch should never have been pardoned
    ref: SOS chapter 36

    I remembered it was Barristan’s position, just forgot it was Stannis who said it in a Davos POV chapter.
    Anyway, Connington completely believes this Aegon is the same one (I think) he helped rescue from KL. Varys made Connington stay away for a couple of years as a member of the Golden Company to fake his death slowly by over drinking instead of a quick death. He comes back after couple of years when the switch would have occurred and any difference would be passed off as the child aging. “A person sees what they expect to see.” Connington even mentions how Aegon’s eyes aren’t quite the same as Rhaeghar’s, but brushes it aside since he has no reason to suspect otherwise. JC won’t realize he was duped until he looks into the eyes of the true Aegon.

    I do suspect Varys is a Blackfyre and Illyrio a descendant of Aegor Rivers (Bittersteel). Varys always shaves his head and I think was the real reason he was snipped. Probably Bloodraven’s influence in some way.

  • Morna the Witch,

    I think Varys feels his mutilation was because of his lineage. (If he is indeed a Blackfyre.) The Blackfyre children have probably suffered much because of their bloodline and he has a soft spot for children who must suffer simply because who their parents are. Much the same way he saved Gendry from Cersei’s hit men. So when he says “for the children” I think he is mainly talking about Blackfyre children or children of noble birth, not all of them in general. He probably admired Eddard for standing against Robert trying to kill the Targaryan children. He is probably hoping Aegon is the type of person who would never resort to those methods to suppress opposition.

  • Hello! I could have sworn I’ve been to this web site before but after going through somee of the posts I realized it’snew to me.
    Anyhow, I’m definitely happy I discovered it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking
    back often!