George R.R. Martin on how House of the Dragon improves on his book

House of the Dragon
House of the Dragon /

As we near the premiere of HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel show House of the DragonFire & Blood author George R.R. Martin has been talking up a storm. And it’s not enough to do podcast and magazine interviews; Martin also posted a pretty meaty update on his blog. Let’s take a look.

To start, Martin bemoans some of the tragedies happening around the world, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the recent elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. This is all important, but as he writes, “I am depressing myself, and probably all of you as well. Let me talk about some happier things.”

Because Martin does have some happier things to talk about. His show Dark Winds, based on the work of author Tony Hillerman, premieres on AMC on June 12. As for House of the Dragon, Martin is full of compliments. “I’ve now watched rough cuts of nine of the ten episodes, and I continue to be impressed,” he wrote. “I cannot speak to the SFX, many of which are not in yet, but the look of it is great, and the acting, the directing, and writing are first rate. And yes, for all you book fans, it IS my story.   Sure, there are some changes from FIRE & BLOOD — we could not present three alternative versions of every major event, not and keep our sanity — but I think [showrunner] Ryan Condal and his writers made good choices. Even some improvements. (Heresy, I know, but being the author, I am allowed to say so).”

"For years, as some of you may recall, I have been saying the TV version of Shae, as portrayed by Sibel Kekilli, was a deeper, richer, and more nuanced character than the Shae in my novels. In a similar vein, I am vastly impressed by the show’s version of King Viserys, played by Paddy Considine, who gives the character a tragic majesty that my book Viserys never quite achieved. Kudos to Paddy, Ryan and his writers, and [showrunner Miguel Sapochnik] and the other directors. (There are a lot of great performances in HOUSE OF THE DRAGON — or HOT D, as I hear some are calling it. You may never have heard of some of our actors, but I think you will learn to love them, just as you did with the cast of GAME OF THRONES)."

George R.R. Martin “vastly impressed” with how House of the Dragon handles King Viserys Targaryen

It’s true that Martin long praised actor Sibel Kekilli for bringing the character Shae to life on Game of Thrones in a way he didn’t anticipate when writing the character in the Song of Ice and Fire books. And since his book Fire & Blood is so much more open to interpretation than that series, it could provide even more opportunities for the showrunners to elevate things.

House of the Dragon is about a civil war fought between rival factions of the Targaryen dynasty around 200 years before the story we all know. The war really gets going when King Viserys I Targaryen dies and his potential heirs start fighting over his empty throne. In a way, he’s almost a background character, but the trailers and advance images have featured him pretty prominently. I’m curious to see what the show does with him.

We’ll find out how it all goes when House of the Dragon premiers on HBO and HBO Max on August 21.

George R.R. Martin on the importance of death in storytelling. dark. Next

To stay up to date on everything fantasy, science fiction, and WiC, follow our all-encompassing Facebook page and sign up for our exclusive newsletter.

Get HBO, Starz, Showtime and MORE for FREE with a no-risk, 7-day free trial of Amazon Channels