By Steve Marzolf
On a recent trip to New York City, author George R.R. Martin stopped by the HBO Shop for a visit. While his wife Parris raided the shelves for charity-auction items, George shared his thoughts on the season so far:
What has stood out to you about the first few episodes?
“The kids were a particular revelation, and they were very hard to find. It’s hard to find a good kid actor. If you stop and think about it, 95 percent of them are in sitcoms, and all they have to do is be cute and get off little zinging one-liners that put the adults in their place. Our kids have to carry serious dramatic weight. A lot of the power and the drama of the show rests on the shoulders of the Stark children. The scene in which Ned discovers Arya in her chambers is great. She’s just an amazing talent. Her audition was a scene that’s not in the show. But all of the Aryas and all of the Sansas read a scene that David and Dan had written. I’d watched that scene a hundred times before I saw Maisie’s take on it, and she was just so alive. The expressions on her face … It was Arya, coming alive.”
Now that you’re writing books you know will be adapted into TV, does that change the way you look at the story?
“I hope not. I think inevitably on some level it may, but I’m fighting consciously against it. You know, I’m the author of the books, and David and Dan are doing the show. I don’t ever want to find myself thinking, ‘How are they ever going to produce that? I’d better not put that in.’ Because that would be shortchanging the readers of the books.”
Is that a warning to David and Dan?
“I’ve already warned them. This first season was quite a challenge, but the books keep on getting bigger and bigger. They’re getting their revenge on the Blackwater [a fabulously complex battle in the second book] though – they’ve told me I have to write that for the second season.”
How does it feel to have the latest book, ‘A Dance with Dragons,’ finished?
“We officially decided it was finished when I met with my editor here in New York. We went out and had lunch and a nice dinner, but I’ll catch up on the celebrating later. I’ve still got some more books to write. It’s nice to have this one done because it’s been so late and so tough – but there’s another one already beckoning. “