Fantasy author George R.R. Martin, known for his A Song of Ice and Fire series which inspired the hit show Game of Thrones, isn’t shy about his opinion on how Hollywood adapts books. In a recent blog post, Martin criticized producers and screenwriters who make big changes to stories when bringing them to the screen.

George R.R. Martin
George R.R. Martin (Image via Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore)

The 75-year-old argued that these changes rarely improve the original work. While he acknowledged there can be good adaptations, he believes they’re the exception, not the rule.

George R.R. Martin Laments Screenwriters’ Alterations to Originals

George R.R. Martin (Image via Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore)
George R.R. Martin (Image via Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore)

George R.R. Martin recently talked about how it hurts when TV shows or movies change book stories. He felt the same sadness when Game of Thrones didn’t follow his ideas. The author wrote in his blog Not a Blog:

Everywhere you look, there are more screenwriters and producers eager to take great stories and ‘make them their own.’ It does not seem to matter whether the source material was written by Stan Lee … Ian Fleming, Roald Dahl, Ursula K. Le Guin, J.R.R. Tolkien, Mark Twain … Jane Austen, or… well, anyone.  No matter how major a writer it is, no matter how great the book, there always seems to be someone on hand who thinks he can do better, eager to take the story and ‘improve’ on it. 

Martin continued:

‘The book is the book, the film is the film,’ they will tell you, as if they were saying something profound. Then they make the story their own. They never make it better, though. Nine hundred ninety-nine times out of a thousand, they make it worse.

Though he didn’t explicitly mention the name of Game of Thrones, his words seem to allude to it. It’s understandable that many writers, like Martin, feel frustrated when their books are adapted into movies or TV shows that differ greatly from the original story.

George R.R. Martin Left Out of Later Game of Thrones Seasons

Snapshot from Game of Thrones TV Series by HBO
Snapshot from Game of Thrones (Credits: HBO)

George R.R. Martin revealed he was sidelined by Game of Thrones in its later seasons. Martin told The New York Times he wasn’t involved in the last four seasons of the HBO series. This contrasts sharply with the prequel show House of the Dragon, based on his novel Fire & Blood. For the show, the showrunners were actively seeking Martin’s input.

Earlier on in Game of Thrones, the Bayonne native played a much bigger role. He wrote scripts, helped choose actors, and even visited filming locations. However, as he focused on finishing his next book, The Winds of Winter, his involvement with the show dwindled. By the fifth season, Martin said he was practically out of the loop.

The novelist and screenwriter also disagreed with their decision to end the show in just eight seasons. He envisioned the story taking ten seasons to do it justice. His agent even revealed Martin tried to convince HBO to extend the show, but David Benioff and D.B. Weiss wanted to move on. While Martin isn’t angry, he does admit to some sadness that the show ended sooner than he thought possible.

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