We all have a lot in common with best-selling A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin. We’re all carbon-based lifeforms. None of us have published a book titled The Winds of Winter, although all of us would like it to be out ASAP. And it turns out all of us are bummed out about how HBO’s TV adaptation of GRRM’s fantasy epic, Game of Thrones, ended up.
According to an upcoming book by the journalist James Andrew Miller, titled Tinderbox: HBO’s Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers (via Yahoo), Martin was worried after season five ended and Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss started deviating from the author’s plans for the story. According to Martin’s agent Paul Haas: “George loves Dan and Dave, but after season five, 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.’”
According to the book, Martin not only wanted Game of Thrones to run 10 seasons but went directly to former HBO CEO Richard Plepler to request them. HBO, of course, would have been thrilled to air Game of Thrones until the heat death of the universe, but the showrunners were dunzo (as was Kit Harington’s hair, at the very least). Per Haas: “Dan and Dave were tired, rightfully so. 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.”
To be a little fair to Weiss and Benioff, season five basically used up all of the material found in Martin’s published A Song of Ice and Fire novels; while Martin reportedly told them how he planned to end the series, the duo would still have to generate a lot of narrative material entirely on their own. And both the showmakers and the stars (well, the ones whose characters lived) made Game of Thrones for eight years, which is not a short amount of time. It makes total sense they’d want to move on to new projects.
On the other hand, the show got exponentially worse during its last three seasons, because it was so apparent that Weiss and Benioff were trying to wrap things up as soon as humanly possible. If Game of Thrones had 10 seasons to play out, Daenerys’s character arc from semi-benevolent conqueror to vengeful mass murderer could have been — and the operative word here is could — developed in a way that felt organic and truthful instead of rushed and nonsensical. Alas, we’ll have to wait until the inevitable 2032 Game of Thrones reboot to find out how the story should have ended… assuming, of course, The Winds of Winter is out by then.