George R.R. Martin recently appeared at the Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival in Switzerland, where he held a masterclass to discuss his work. The event was livestreamed, and is now available for replay. During the conversation, Martin talks at length about science fiction, developing one’s writing skills, heroes, love, feminism, and much more. The end of the session included a Q&A with the audience, and some fans were eager to ask questions about Game of Thrones.
The session begins about 24 minutes into the video, and the Q&A begins at 1 hour and 8 minutes:
Here is a collection of Game of Thrones related highlights from the Q&A. The most interesting question proved to the be the last. Martin was asked about his feelings on the potential Game of Thrones movies, and the talk turned to the limits of their television budget in concern to some of the big (expensive) things he’s been told are in store for us.
How does it feel to see your world coming to life?
Well I was nervous at first, because you turn your baby over to other people and you never know how they’re going to treat it. But I turned my baby over to the best people I knew, to David Benioff and Dan Weiss, an amazing pair of writers and showrunners who have done some very distinguished work separately, and to HBO, which was the best production company in American Television. They have elevated television to heights previously undreamed of, with shows like The Sopranos, and Deadwood. So, I did the best I can and I was handsomely rewarded, I’ve been very, very pleased with what I’ve seen.
Who is your favorite character from Game of Thrones, and why?
Tyion, because he is the wittiest. But you know I like them all, come on, I like Arya, and Dany, and Sansa, and even Theon, and Victarion, the dolt. You know, I have to love them to write about them, some of them are flawed, and some of them are screwed up, a lot of them are in trouble but, they’re my kids… probably the only ones I’m ever likely to have.
When you kill off your characters does it hit you, does it disgust you, does it make you sometimes want to cry?
Yeah. The Red Wedding was the hardest thing I ever wrote, I couldn’t write it for a long time. I skipped over it when I reached that part of the book, I finished the entire book and then I had to go back and make myself write that. It was very difficult to write.
What are your thoughts on an upcoming movie?
You know, this idea has been kicking around for a while. I have been asked about this, and somehow misconception is getting out that I’m the one that’s urging that we end the series with a movie. Let me make it clear that I’m not, I think it’s a good idea, but it’s not my idea to end this with a series of big movies. The question that we face with the show is that the books continue to get bigger and bigger, and the show really can’t get much bigger. We’re the most expensive show on television, the most expensive show in the world right now, and we have the biggest cast as far as I know. We can’t keep adding characters and making the show more and more expensive. We’re pushing up against the limits there, so we either have to make some cuts going forward, and simplify the story, or we have to increase the format, and of course one way to do that, one way to get a lot more money, is to go with a motion picture budget rather than a television budget. A big fantasy motion picture, like one of the Peter Dinklage things, you have 200 million dollars for three hours, while one of our shows we have like 60 million dollars for ten hours. So there’s a huge difference, and I happen to know, someone has told me, some source that I won’t name, that there will be some major battles coming up, and some dragon action, and some stuff with The Wall and White Walkers that looks to be kind of expensive. How are we gonna do that, I don’t know. But I’m not saying that they’re gonna happen, please don’t misquote me here. It’s not my idea, it’s just an idea that I’ve endorsed, let us say. I’d love to see it, but I think the odds are probably against it, it’s probably not going to happen. But maybe, who knows. One season at a time. Right now we’re making Season 5, they’re finishing the scripts, they’re going to start production, they’re setting sights on that. So that’s about all I can say about the movies.
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