The show instead ended after a six-episode eighth season
Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb
If “Game of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin had his way, the HBO series would have run for 10 seasons, not eight.
Martin, who has not yet completed the book series “A Song of Ice and Fire” on which the hit TV show was based, personally lobbied HBO executive Richard Plepler to make 10 seasons of the show. “George would fly to New York to have lunch with Plepler, to beg him to do ten seasons of ten episodes because there was enough material for it and to tell him it would be a more satisfying and more entertaining experience,” Martin’s agent Paul Haas told journalist James Andrew Miller for the new book “Tinderbox.” (via Insider)
But “Game of Thrones” showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff wanted to end the series after eight seasons, having devoted nearly a decade of their lives to the show already. “Dan and Dave were tired, rightfully so,” Haas says in the book. “They were done, and wanted to move on, so they cut it short and then negotiations became, how many seasons can we stretch this out? Because of course HBO wanted more.”
In the book, Haas even went so far as to confirm that Martin was uneasy about the direction the show was taking after Season 5, when the writers began moving into territory that was not yet published. “George loves Dan and Dave, but after Season 5, he did start to worry about the path they were going because George knows where the story goes. He started saying, ‘You’re not following my template.’”
Martin maintained that he gave Weiss and Benioff a roadmap for his plans to end the book series, but with two planned novels yet to be published (he’s been working on the penultimate installment since shortly after the first season of “Game of Thrones” aired) it was up to Weiss and Benioff to come up with exactly how it played out on the HBO series.
The author hasn’t been shy about his criticism over the last few years despite being positive, overall, about how the series wrapped up. But even as the show was just beginning to take off, Martin was optimistic that the series wouldn’t catch up to his books.
Criticism was lobbed against the last few seasons of “Game of Thrones,” especially the final season in which Daenerys Targaryen’s storyline appeared to be accelerated to accommodate this concluding chapter.
Casey Bloys, who serves as president of programming at HBO, tells Miller in the book that he would have taken two more seasons of the show to accommodate Martin’s request and to further flesh out Dany’s story arc, but negotiations with Weiss and Benioff landed on Season 8 as the final run of episodes.
But there’s plenty more where that came from. Martin is executive producing at least one “Game of Thrones” spinoff, with “House of the Dragon” set to premiere in 2022 and telling a story set 300 years before the events of the first series. At least with that one the source material — Martin’s “Fire & Blood” — only has one more volume to be written.
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