Thursday, March 21, 2013

George R.R. Martin Discusses GAME OF THRONES Season 3 and THE WINDS OF WINTER

With the acclaimed HBO series Game of Thrones about to return for Season 3 on March 31st, the Academy of Arts and Sciences hosted "An Evening with Game of Thrones" a couple of nights ago.  Creator George R.R. Martin was in attendance, along with stars Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Kit Harington (Jon Snow) and Maisie Williams (Arya Stark).

The Huffington Post caught up with Martin on the red carpet and asked him to discuss what's coming up in Season 3 and what's going on with The Winds of Winter, his sixth book in the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series that Game of Thrones is based upon.

Concerning Season 3, Martin remarked, "I've actually only seen the episode that we premiered last night, because I've been very busy this past year.  I wanted to make it over to the shoot to see some of it being shot as I've done in previous years, but I wasn't able to do it this year.  I had too many other commitments and too many other deadlines.  So I wrote my own script, which is Episode 7, 'The Bear and the Maiden Fair,' but even there I haven't seen any footage.  I just know what's in the script.  Last night was the first time I'd seen any actual footage, which was very exciting. I loved it."

He then went into further detail about "The Bear and the Maiden Fair," saying, "There's a bear and a maiden fair, and a song.  That scene, if you know how television production works on a series like this, you're shooting the scenes and they don't always go into the episode they're originally scripted for -- some episodes are running long, others are short, sometimes scenes get moved around.  So the irony is, the scene with the bear was not written by me -- even though it's in my script -- it was written by David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] and was moved into my episode when they reshuffled a few scenes around, which then became the logical title for that.  It's a great scene and it's a great bear. Bart the Bear, you can see his audition on YouTube.  He's so cute.  I wanted to take him home and have a bear myself -- a 1,200 pound bear in the backyard."

As for his next novel The Winds of Winter, Martin admitted the release date was still a long ways away.  "I am working on it, " he said.  "It will be a long time coming.  I have many many more pages to do, but I have some great stuff planned for it -- a lot of blood and fire and death and devastation and ravens coming home to roost."

Duing the panel discussion, executive producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss admitted that Martin has already told them who ultimately ends up on the Iron Throne, which surprised the cast.  "There’ll be a few people sitting on it before the end," Martin teased.

There was also some discussion about deviations from the novels.  "As bloodthirsty as I am in killing characters," said Martin.  "David and Dan are killing some characters who are still alive in the books!  Their body count is higher than mine.  When they say no one is safe in the series, that's literally true.  There are characters in book five and who are gonna be in book six who are dead on the TV show."

However, Martin seems reconciled to the changes for television made by Benioff and Weiss.  "I trust them, I do," he said.  "I know it's a useful tool to keep the actors from asking for raises.  I've been on the other side of it.  In a perfect world, I would like more hours each year.  I would like more money so that each episode had the budget of a Peter Jackson film, but I don't think this is very likely and given the realities of production, it's incredible, what they do."

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