INSIDE THE SERIES
By David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
For the launch of Making Game of Thrones, series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss wanted to take the opportunity to reach out to the many fans of 'A Song of Ice and Fire.' From their set in Belfast, they wrote:
In February of 2006, a package containing the first four books of the 'A Song of Ice and Fire' saga landed on our doorsteps, courtesy of George's agents. Apparently movie studios were starting to sniff around the property, and Team GRRM wanted to find a few screenwriters. Needless to say, it was a pretty big package. Four books... 4,100 pages...
Fans of ASOIAF will understand what happened next; the fans know how dangerous the books are – crack on paper, an utterly addictive reading experience that takes precedence over food, sleep and work. Reading George's novels reconnected us with the deeper reasons why we do what we do for a living. The older we get, the more time we spend as professional writers, the harder it becomes to lose ourselves in fictional worlds. We know too much about how the sausage is made. The real world is endlessly distracting, what with families and careers and ringing phones. But reading about the Starks and the Lannisters and the Targaryens brought back that pure and unsimple love of story we hadn't experienced in years. As kids, both of us devoured everything we could find in the Fantasy and Science Fiction sections of the library. Every amateur read 'The Lord of the Rings'; annotating 'The Silmarillion' was proof of true devotion. Frank Baum, Robert E. Howard, C.S. Lewis, Ursula K. Le Guin, Fritz Leiber, Michael Moorcock, Stephen Donaldson, Madeleine L'Engle, Lloyd Alexander, Susan Cooper, Piers Anthony – if there was magic in it, we read it. As Dungeon Masters, we both ran very strict games. (Sorry, buddy. No "do overs." A saving throw is a saving throw.) Little did we know that someday we would encounter the most merciless Dungeon Master of them all...
Back to February 2006. By the time we'd finished AGOT, it was clear to both of us that the book should not be adapted into a feature. Though its storytelling is impeccably taut and propulsive, 'A Game of Thrones' is an intricate, unified whole; shoehorning it into a three-hour package would be an act of vandalism. George's work delivers the awe and wonder that only a fantasy world can deliver, but it has the character depth of 'The Lion in Winter,' and the drama and epic scope of 'War and Peace.' It's not a bloodless, sexless PG-13 tale of the eternal conflict between Good and Evil. No, ser. This tale is bloody, it’s sexy, and few of the characters can be neatly labeled Lawful Good (well, okay, maybe Ned Stark, Maester Luwin and a few others). This stuff isn't for kids, and the story won't fit neatly into a two-minute trailer.
This is an HBO series, we decided. And somehow, miraculously, HBO agreed.
So, several hundred script pages and thousands of meetings later, here we are: in Belfast, and soon Malta, shooting 'Game of Thrones' with a more amazing cast and crew than anyone has a right to expect. Saying we're having the time of our lives might sound like hyperbole or cliché, but there it is – we're having the time of our lives. A few days ago we watched Sansa meet Ser Ilyn Payne outside the Inn at the Crossroads. Next week we’ll be with Jon Snow and Samwell, atop the Wall. Last night we had beers with Tyrion. This is all happening, and in large part it's happening because of the devotion of George's fans. The enthusiasm for the show was palpable before a single actor was cast or a frame shot. Trust us: the Powers That Be noticed. And so did we. When we spend two hours discussing the details of the House Bolton sigil or the hilt of a certain Valyrian steel dagger or the content of a few pages from 'The Lineages and Histories of the Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms' that won’t be onscreen for more than a second – sometimes we wonder if anyone will notice. But someone will. You guys will. And it makes all the difference knowing there are people out there who care as much about this story as we do. We all want to get it right.
We've got miles to go before we sleep, but for now we just wanted to say Thank You to HBO for giving us this chance, and Thank You to you guys for reading this, and most of all, Thank You to George for creating this world. We love playing here and hope we get to do so for years to come.
- David Benioff and D.B. Weiss