'Game of Thrones' author talks season two battles, sex and changes from the book

Those who have seen HBO’s Game of Thrones but haven’t read George R.R. Martin’s novels upon which the series is based might not know that today is a huge event for fans of this story: Book 5, A Dance With Dragons, just hit bookstores. EW.com posted an extensive Q&A with the author over in the Shelf Life blog that also includes plenty of discussion about the HBO series. Some highlights:

On writing an episode of season two: “It’s very tough because we don’t have the budget to do the battle in the book. We just don’t…”

On whether this show is feminist or sexist: “…I think it’s good people were debating those points …I tried to provide a variety of female characters. With all my characters, I try to show that we’re all human.”

On the amount of sex in the HBO show: “One of the reasons I wanted to do this with HBO is that I wanted to keep the sex…”

On changes he liked: “I loved the interplay between Varys and Littlefinger, which never occurred in the books since neither is a viewpoint character. I loved the scene of Drogo ripping out Mago’s throat… But that’s going to have ramifications if we go the full length down the pike. This is the challenge the shows face as we go forward. There will be divergences, they’re trying to be faithful and [Game of Thrones producers] David Benioff and Dan Weiss are doing a wonderful job. But the books are plotted so intricately that you do step on a butterfly in season one and in season four you’re going to have to deal with that.”

And what he missed: “I wish the tournament was much bigger … This is like the Super Bowl in the books and draws people from all over the Seven Kingdoms.”

On whether the pace of the series will eventually surpass the books: “There’s two questions here. The first is: How long will it take me to write the next book? Will Winds of Winter go smoothly or is it going to be Feast and Dance all over again? I certainly hope it’s not the latter. The other issue is: What is what is HBO going to do if we get a third season and beyond?…”

See the Shelf Life Q&A for much more, and be sure to pick up next week’s print edition of EW for a profile of Martin that has some burning questions answered.

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Comments (17 total) Add your comment
  • the dude

    Does this mean that HBO can’t do the battle at the end of the second book? cause that was like on of the most important events of the series.

  • Brady

    No! I want to see the Battle of Blackwater!

  • MWeyer

    I hear that they are going to do the battle as they know how key it is to the entire storyline, just have to work it with a cable budget.

    • cam

      It’s also practically the ONLY thing that happens in the book. They have to do it.

  • mark

    I have not read the books, probably wont because I have really bad eyes but the show is absolutely great,

    • daisy

      they have these things called audiobooks now, or you could read it on your computer… you don’t seem to have a problem with reading on it

      • Anonymous

        Or he can just enjoy the series as it is filmed. Why do you people have to be so snarky to people who don’t want to read the series? I read it and loved it, but I get that some won’t want to. Get over yourself and stop using the Internet to fuel your general rage.

  • pickles

    All I want to say is there better be an HBO version of Book three! Book three was entirely awesome, and I love Jon Snow so there better be either a season three or combine two and three. In fact, they could combine two and three then combine four and five. All they need to do is extend the season into a few more episodes. Make it slightly longer. But I need to have my Jon Snow fix. Love Kit Harington to pieces!

  • Shorty

    Does anyone know what he’s referring to when he says that there was a “butterfly” that was stepped on in Season 1 that has to be dealt with in Season 4?

    • crispy

      He’s saying if they kill a character in the show, they could be alive in the books later.

    • M

      Read the whole interview!

    • mb

      Shorty, he’s referring to the ‘butterfly effect’ that says if someone steps on a butterfly, the effects of that could manifest themselves in say a tsunami, halfway around the world. It’s the idea that things may not seem to be related, but in fact they’re connected in ways we don’t realize.

    • mondo182

      He’s specifically referencing Mago in tat example, who in the show is killed off by Drogo but is very much alive in the books and apparently has some part to play yet.

  • doody

    They could fund the battle scene if they condensed the 10 episodes into 1 or 2. Which would conveniently skip over the ‘slow’ episodes. Just a thought.

  • CK1

    Oh they had better put the Battle of Blackwater. I could accept Whispering Wood being glossed over bc it was also not described in the book, but the Blackwater…

    I’ll be pissed.

    • sunavento1

      Martin has said, both in his regular “Not a Blog” column and in media interviews, that in July he completed and submitted the first draft teleplay for Episode 9 of Season 2: “Blackwater.” But he has also made it very clear don’t expect to expect to see that epic battle portrayed as he wrote it in the novel. Both the series tight shooting schedule and budgetary constraints for the expensive SPFX required just aren’t possible for a cable TV series, even one as well funded (by cable TV standards) as Game of Thrones (about 6 million per episode). So the battle depicted in that 9th episode will have be scaled down and more tightly focused, like those in Season 1.

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