David Benioff and D.B. Weiss discuss the need to take adaptation liberties and Bryan Cogman talks Game of Thrones end game

Daenerys

In new interviews, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss talked about their plans for season 8 of Game of Thrones and the need to make changes from the books, and Bryan Cogman discussed the challenges of plotting season 7, and teased Samwell Tarly’s “anti-Harry Potter” storyline at the Citadel.

D.B. Weiss and David Benioff sat down for a long and in-depth interview with Time. Mere days away from the premiere of the penultimate season of Game of Thrones, much of their conversation was spent reflecting on past seasons and on the ten-year journey they’ve undertaken to bring this show to life.

It’s been made pretty clear in interviews so far that season 7 will be the beginning of the end, the set up for the showdown. So, it’s interesting that Benioff and Weiss pointed out in their interview that much of what we’ll be getting in the next two seasons was  set up in the show years ago.

“So much of the endgame is stuff that we’ve been discussing for at least four or five years, if not longer,” Weiss said. “So a lot of the pieces have been put on the board years ago. You could go back to season 2 and some of these ideas started to come out.”

George R.R Martin let Weiss and Benioff in on his plans for his A Song of Ice and Fire’s conclusion (such as Hodor’s backstory) at some point between seasons 2 and 3. Yet even then there were developments that Martin didn’t disclose because he hadn’t plotted them out himself yet.

“A lot of it, he wasn’t sure yet, because he was writing, and he discovers things by writing,” Beniof recalled. “For us as TV writer-producers, we have to be architects. Everything has to be planned out really far in advance.”

“There were some details that were added later,” Weiss said. “But pretty much the actual endgame, the main climactic moments, we had in mind then. We had ninety percent of this crucial chunk of the story for the final season, and we were mainly talking to George to see how our notion of where things ended up jibed with his notion.”

Perhaps inevitably, Weiss and Benioff addressed the challenge of running a show that has chronologically surpassed the source material.

“It’s scary on the one hand to not have that to fall back on,” Weiss admitted. “In other ways, it’s liberating because it narrows your focus to a more normal development process and we’ve spent so much time with the characters, the story, and the world.”

When asked point blank to what extent Game of Thrones should – on principle – match up with the plot of A Song of Ice and Fire Benioff was upfront about the feasibility of such an option.

“It’s already too late for that,” he said. “We’re already well past the point of it jibing 100 percent. We’ve passed George and that’s something that George always worried about — the show catching up and ultimately passing him — but the good thing about us diverging at this point is that George’s books will still be a surprise for readers who have seen the show.”

Some fans who are partial to the books over the show believe quite strongly that Game of Thrones should have always stuck closer to ASOIAF. However, as Benioff and Weiss discovered themselves in the earliest days of season 1, sometimes fidelity to the source material doesn’t aid the adaptation. Take Tyrion’s season 1 hair for example:

Tyrion

“I just look back at it now when I see those scenes and realize how we were sticking [to the books],” Weiss said. “He’s blond, so he’s got to be. It’s not what’s going to look better, it’s light blond in the books so he’s got to be light blond in the show.”

Similarly, in the first pilot that was filmed but never aired, Daenerys had purple eyes, as she does in ASOIAF. However it quickly became apparent that having actors wear colored contacts wasn’t going to be a viable option in the long run.  “In the initial pilot we see what acting with purple contacts can do to somebody and how much time they spend focusing on the fact that their eyes don’t feel right,” Benioff said.

After focusing a good deal on the early days of Game of Thrones, the conversation shifted to life after the show, which has taken up a decade of Benioff and Weiss’ life. What are they looking forward to most?

“Drinking less,” is Weiss’ answer. “The only upside I can see of spending less time with Kit and Alfie is we will be drinking less.”

“It’ll be fun to do something new,” Benioff says. “This is the only thing I’ve worked on where I could imagine working on it for ten years — it’s the only thing that’s maintained my interest for that long. But it’ll be fun to write for different characters at some point, it’ll be fun to write in a different world, maybe in a world where we don’t need horses and swords.”

40 Jaime fire horse

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Bryan Cogman discussed season 7 and the shift in tone we’ll be experiencing as the show’s myriad plots really start interconnecting and building toward a finale.

“Dany in Westeros makes Game of Thrones a new show,” he said. “It has this amazing ripple effect throughout every storyline and that’s very exciting to explore. It’s a season of new pairings and reunions. A lot of storylines and relationships are starting to come full circle this year. And just the momentum of the storytelling feels different. Winter has come, White Walkers are coming, Dany has landed and the momentum of the story has increased. There is a pace and urgency to the storytelling that’s very palpable. This is the end game.”

Cogman talked about the two major challenges of crafting season 7.

#1 Equally distributing screen time for characters who are in the same scene: “We have some of our main characters sharing the space. So there’s some balancing and making sure everyone has their moments and making sure all the story arcs are serviced.”

#2 Dragons: “How do you write a compelling show about a war when one of the sides has dragons? It should all be over. Ultimately Dany’s got nukes. But somebody who wants to rule effectively and be supported by the people doesn’t want to just come in firing nukes…”

Cogman also mentioned Samwell Tarly, a fan favorite character who’s been largely overlooked in much of the season 7 press. “Sam is one of the few characters who gets his own mini spinoff,” Cogman said. “This is the anti-Harry Potter. Sam shows up to this amazing place where he thinks he’s going to get all the answers and all his talents are going to be put to good use. But this ain’t Hogwarts and the maester [played by Jim Broadbent] is not Dumbledore.”

110 responses

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    1. Could someone explain the Harry Potter & Dumbledore references to me. Sorry, I haven’t read the books or seen the movies.

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    2. Norm Weldon,

      Harry Potter is an orphan kid raised by his horrible aunt and uncle without any knowledge of his wizard lineage. He’s forced to sleep under the stairs and he’s bullied by their son constantly (Sam is abused by his father). A few years later he finds out his parents were wizards and he is admitted into a school for wizardry where he learns a lot about magic, makes friends, and finally has a decent life after leaving his abusive relatives. (Sam also goes to a ‘school’ where he expects to learn lots of stuff and meet amazing people).

      Dumbledore is the principal of the wizardry school and Harry’s mentor. He helps him get out of a lot of tricky situations and generally gives him good advice and protects him, especially from this other evil wizard who wants to kill Harry. Sam’s Dumbledore will probably be a maester.

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    3. I just gotta quote Weiss on Jaime-Cersei rape controversy for the simple reason that I noticed the very same thing he did and even talked about it on this site a couple of years ago (or was it The Site That We Don’t Talk About?)

      The funny thing about the other scene you mentioned is, that was the fourth season. We’d definitely sent that episode out, we’d sent out the first three or the first four, wide, to critics. That season, I believe, as far as sending it out to critics, was the best-received we’d had. People really enjoyed those three episodes they got, which included this scene! And I think we went back after the fact, after people got upset about the scene, we went back and spot-checked this thing, to see if anybody who had reviewed the show so positively and seen this scene had commented upon it when they were watching it individually and reacting to it as an individual, and not one of them had, to my recollection. And then, some of the people who had come back and seemed to be somewhat outraged about this scene were outraged about a scene that they had already seen! And not been outraged by when they saw it..

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    4. lol as if the changes that most people are talking about from books to show are purple eyes and hair color. what a gross misrepresentation of changes that people were concerned with.

      that being said i do like the changes for the reasons they said. not having the books spoiled is great. they have diverged so far away from the books at this point it might as well be an alternate universe like marvel or dc have. cant wait for sunday!

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    5. I have a feeling that Sam is going to find the maesters of the Citadel a little less maesterful(?) or amazing than his grand ideas. He may find that there are fewer Maester Aemon or Luwin type men there than Grand Maester Pycelle type. Crotchety, arrogant men stuck in their old ways, trying to maintain those old ways and just as quickly stab a person in the back as pat a person on the back. The ‘clerk’ he met with last season makes me think it won’t be a very kindly place and that it won’t be easy for him to dig around for information they don’t want him to have.

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    6. Matthew The Dragon Knight,

      I agree! I really hope they team up on something new for HBO. HBO really likes to reward its talent and keep them in house so a new show would be amazing.

      They really are architects of the long show; would love to see them make something original or where they have even more creative freedom

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    7. “…diverging at this point is that George’s books will still be a surprise for readers who have seen the show.”

      That’s all I need to read. Nuff said.

      Clob: I have a feeling that Sam is going to find the maesters of the Citadel a little less maesterful(?) or amazing than his grand ideas

      I think he’s going to find a lot of stuff that Aemon sent as well as stuff from way, way back…maybe even some CotF insights! Maybe Sam’s reading and Bran’s visioning will coincide in some fashion?

      The ‘clerk’ he met with last season makes me think it won’t be a very kindly place

      That was so Gilliamesque…almost straight out of Brazil, imho. 🙂 I agree that the Citadel’s maesters will be an aloof and cocky bunch. But they did send out the white ravens so they’re in tune somewhat.

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    8. ManderlyPieCompany:
      lol as if the changes that most people are talking about from books to show are purple eyes and hair color. what a gross misrepresentation of changes that people were concerned with.

      My impression is that he wasn’t talking about fan reactions. He seemed to be saying that not forcing the characters to look exactly as they were described in the book kind of freed the actors up to be more comfortable in their roles. And, let’s be honest, Dinklage did look silly in the light blond hair!

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    9. Great interview…very interesting to learn that they knew about Hodor’s backstory and most of the plot points for the end of the series back in season 2/3. So everything they did subsequently had a purpose….makes you wonder what the hell happened then with Doran Martell, etc.

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    10. I wouldn’t mind at all if the Citadel is more like Unseen University on the Discworld, where the professors of wizardry are mostly inept, crazy or otherwise pretty much useless – and the administrators even more so, caught up in the same sort of petty campus politics that one may find at any real-world institution of higher learning.

      Except…if Jim Broadbent is indeed playing Marwyn the Mage, I hope we’ll get a real badass maverick Marwyn and not some doddering dotard. That would be a waste.

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    11. Chuck,

      They said they didn’t plan every detail in advance. That would be impossible.

      I’m interested to hear when they invented Hardhome and the Green Trial.

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    12. Edward:
      Mr Fixit,

      What’s the “site that we don’t talk about”?

      Winter Is Coming. It’s not really as bad as reputed here; there was just an ugly blowup a few years back that led to some of the founders leaving to create WotW, and apparently many hard feelings still linger.

      WotW is way better at getting scoops, and more circumspect about checking their sources. WIC is better at sharing GoT-related humor, gossip about what other projects GoT stars are working on etc. Both have good show analysis, I find.

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    13. mau,

      I’m guessing Hardhome they heard from George early on…..trial who knows. It is funny, I was watching the pilot the other day and Tyrion’s hair in episode 1, is extremely blonde.

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    14. ManderlyPieCompany: lol as if the changes that most people are talking about from books to show are purple eyes and hair color. what a gross misrepresentation of changes that people were concerned with.

      Yeah. They could put Tyrion in a purple wig and I wouldn’t mind as much as I do about them cutting the true Tysha story – so critical to his narrative arc – out of his relationship with Jaime.

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    15. Because we’ve seen so little of it in the promotional material, I think Sam’s arc is the one I am most excited about (save anything Stark related, obvs!). I think he will go to the Citadel anticipating the Archmaesters being sort of like Maester Aemon, and find that they aren’t all like that.

      Ahhh…..I miss Maester Aemon 🙁

      I wonder if, while Dumbledore often helped Harry along the way (the return of his invisibility cloak being one instance I recall off-hand) anything Sam discovers at the Citadel will be off his own research, then?

      But I always saw Sam as more of a male Hermione than another Harry; with both of them, the respective authors can have them say just about anything and you believe them when they say they’d read it in a book.

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    16. Firannion: WIC is better at sharing GoT-related humor, gossip about what other projects GoT stars are working on etc

      They are better at that in the sense they do it at all and we don’t, as an editorial choice. But it’s true. If you want that kind of thing, WiC has it aplenty.

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    17. D&D’s responses to fan concerns about divergences from the book even before they passed are unsatisfactory. Okay, purple eye contacts on Dany would be uncomfortable, and Peter Dinklage looks better without the blond hair — but what about all the thematic and plot-based divergences that end up making for an inconsistent and sometimes nonsensical plot (such as the disaster that was Season 5 Dorne)? THAT is what we are concerned about, not the simple aesthetics.

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    18. Chuck,

      There were clues about the Green Trial since S4, so I think that’s when they created it.

      And for Hardhome I wouldn’t be surprised if they invented it after they read ADWD.

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    19. mau,

      That’s right, you are referring to the convo about the mad king putting green fire pots all over kings landing? Good call.

      Agree to disagree on hardhome – in the books they talk about hardhome and I think Martin intended on revisiting in the story and will do so in TWOW and filled in Weiss and Benioff. Who knows though, guess we will have to wait until TWOW comes out…..

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    20. Chuck,

      No, I’m reffering to Cersei’s comments about burning things and Margaery’s line about dead sparrows around her neck.

      D&D said many times that Hardhome was show-original.

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    21. Abel the Bard: but what about all the thematic and plot-based divergences that end up making for an inconsistent and sometimes nonsensical plot (such as the disaster that was Season 5 Dorne)? THAT is what we are concerned about, not the simple aesthetics.

      Preach! I’m just thankful that, in the end, we’ll be getting two different stories within the Planetos universe…one with more leaps and bounds than the other.

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    22. I must say I’m so glad for any change they made when it comes to books 4 and 5. Those would make a terrible TV in my opinion and they were such a letdown when I read them… and I started to especially dislike them after S5 came out. It does sadden me how some so-called “fans” have zero respect for the writers *cough Westeros.org and specific GoT Wikia admin *cough and feel insulted when anything gets changed. As far as I’m concerned, I’m much bigger fan of TV series than the books and I prefer most TV characters to their book counterparts.

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    23. I swear I’m going to die from an overload of all this game of thrones content and news….
      I feel like we’re being spoiled before the main course that is Season 7…

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    24. I didn’t know people started calling it the Green trial ^^
      that really awesome!!!

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    25. p://highlighthollywood.com/2017/07/game-of-thrones-showrunner-teases-most-magnificent-battle-sequence-in-show-tv-history/

      David Benioff, one-half of the showrunning duo, confirmed the forthcoming episodes will feature a “magnificent” sequence he believes eclipses one of the series’ most memorable.
       

      “There’s a massive sea battle that will sail past season two’s Blackwater in scope,” he said.
       
      “Everyone is facing something more dangerous to all of them than any danger they are to each other.”
      forgive me if you guys talked about this already, but this is the first time they’ve talked about the Sea battle, glad this is the battle they’re looking forward to the most ^^

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    26. Lord Parramandas,

      Wow, you do prefer the TV show over the books? And the characters of the show over the books?

      I mean i love the show, to me the best TV series in history but i think the books are a mile better.

      Just surprised.

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    27. ManderlyPieCompany,

      Yeah, it’s a really silly and childish example. Nobody gives three shits about Tyrion’s hair, yes, it looked like shit in the first episode. Those are definitely not the things most people are concerned about.

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    28. Chuck,

      Hardhome is mentioned in the fifth book, so they just expanded on that. Jon isn’t going there in the books.

      As for the trial, it’s probably not going to happen that way in the novels.
      In the books, the one place in KL that no longer has wildfire beneath it is the Sept of Baelor. It was removed in the second book, if I’m not mistaken.

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    29. This is the anti-Harry Potter. Sam shows up to this amazing place where he thinks he’s going to get all the answers and all his talents are going to be put to good use.

      But I love Harry Potter. Of course, this world is harsher and different and I wouldn’t want it to be the same. I’m not sure I want exactly the opposite, either, though.

      But this ain’t Hogwarts and the maester is not Dumbledore.

      But he could be Slughorn.

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    30. “We had ninety percent of this crucial chunk of the story for the final season, and we were mainly talking to George to see how our notion of where things ended up jibed with his notion.”

      This seems to indicate that they are essentially doing their own ending, based on how their idea for the ending developed. Seems like they looked at the five books, looked at the first two seasons, speculated about how it should end, and are now doing that ending.

      I don’t think there will be much in common with the ending as GRRM envisions it. Some things will be similar to be sure, but beyond the fates of the main 5 or 6 characters, and the overall endgame to the war and the White Walkers, I don’t think it’ll really be the same thing.

      Most events will probably unfold differently.

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    31. Aguero,

      He’s not alone! I know of many fans who prefer the show, and I include myself in that category. I believe most characters feel more rounded in the show, more real, especially the secondary characters, but honestly also a few of the main ones that were POVs in the books (Cersei, Theon…)

      I also prefer the show by another metric: more is not always better. I respect the streamlined story we got in the show considerably more. Honestly, with AFFC and ADWD, I think GRRM should have acquiesced to a much stricter editing process (and still should for TWOW and beyond.) That’s what happens when you get too big — no one can tell you “no.” It’s the George Lucas effect (not that I’m comparing the prequels to books 4 and 5.) Nevertheless, before ASOIAF got as big, someone would have told him to tell the story with all the main characters included, without skipping them for a book; and if that means trimming down quite a few chapters, well that’s what has to happen. And A Dance with Dragons would have been published with a climax in the North and Meereen and pretty much everywhere else, too. Frankly, it’s a bit ridiculous that enormous tome got so few months of editing. I know it won’t happen, but I’d love for a stricter editor to get a hand in those books some day.

      Editors are not scary monsters who want to ruin an author’s fun. They are an essential part of the artistic process, and they have turned many a shitty book into gold. When an author gets too precious with their material, too obsessed with their world, and they have the power to say “no” to an editor, that’s not an artistic win — it’s a measurable loss for the final work of art.

      Instead of an editor, the show has a yearly schedule and finite hours in which to tell its story. These constraints may not be half as good as a good editor (frankly, they could do with an editor of sorts, or more people in the writing room, preferably women!), but they are better than an editor who is ignored or, in Martin’s case, an editor who willingly gets out of his way, if I’m not mistaken.

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    32. mau,

      I thought the only book reference to Hardhome was a brief reference to a letter describing “dead things in the water”, at least according to what I’ve read here on WoW. If what we saw in S5e8 was a show-only creation – then give Benioff, Weiss, Sapochnik (sp?) et al all the credit in the world.

      That episode was fantastic on all levels.

      (And not just because my boy The Night King has his signature moment in it at the end.)

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    33. Ginevra,

      You’ve practically been watching exactly the opposite for six seasons already. Minus the existence of magic and dragons, anyway, haha.

      But wow…your Slughorn joke could not have been any more perfect considering the actor. I got a huge laugh out of that. Bravo!

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    34. Aguero,

      There are many of us who like the show better. It just goes to my basic feeling that D&D respect me as a fan and GRRM doesn’t.

      And I’m not even sure that he knows what he is doing with ASOIAF. This interview with D&D just confirmes that for me.

      With D&D I have the sense of plan and direction and with GRRM everything seems lika a big improvisation.

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    35. Luka Nieto,

      That’s exactly what I think too. I also prefer the show over the books. I really found it difficult to read through all the chapters about The Vale after Lysa died, Dorne and the 2 new Greyjoys. I’m glad the show cut a lot of it.

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    36. Chilli,

      I actually love those chapters… or the story in those chapters, at any rate. But, even if the show had adapted them more faithfully, they would have done it at a snappier pace, or in other words, pretty much what a stricter editor would have suggested Martin should do. Also, an editor would have insisted on a climax to the Greyjoy and Dorne storylines, which is what Season 6 does with Yara and Theon actually arriving in Meereen and meeting Dany, instead of just being on the way as Victarion is; and Dorne actually making their alliance with Daenerys. The show also added a few climaxes to Season 5 compared to AFFC & ADWD, despite the abundance of cliffhangers (Stannis, for example.)

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    37. Hodors Bastard,

      I am loving it this actually!!! I kept hoping it will happen once show Stannis burnt Shireen. They did came out saying this type of thing right after season 5, but not to this level of clarity.

      Now I’m looking forward to Tyrion and Penny’s adventures as they come back to Westeros to be honest or until he crosses paths with Dany. I cannot remember if they DO meet eventually. I know Martin said something about this but for the life of me cannot remember.

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    38. TormundsWoman,

      Martin said Tyrion and Dany will meet more than halfway through TWOW, if I remember correctly. Another climax the show offered at the appropriate time — you set up the quest at the beginning of the season, fulfill it by the end.

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    39. Firannion,

      wouldn’t mind at all if the Citadel is more like Unseen University on the Discworld, where the professors of wizardry are mostly inept, crazy or otherwise pretty much useless – and the administrators even more so, caught up in the same sort of petty campus politics that one may find at any real-world institution of higher learning.

      Oh yes. Sam might get a bit freaked out when he sees the librarian…

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    40. mau,

      o, I’m reffering to Cersei’s comments about burning things and Margaery’s line about dead sparrows around her neck.

      Oh wow good catch!

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    41. Luka Nieto,

      Stephen King wrote a book called “On Writing” about fifteen years ago, which really could’ve been titled “On Editing”, because he emphasizes that a good editor is indispensible, especially to a successful writer who becomes enamored with his own work. He called it a simplified rule of the road that “the editor is always right”; and “to write is human; to edit is divine.”
      The book is entertaining as well as instructive: He gives lots of examples of text he’d written, and then shows how his editor deleted needless words and “trimmed the fat.”

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    42. “Drinking less,” is Weiss’ answer. “The only upside I can see of spending less time with Kit and Alfie is we will be drinking less.”

      This made me laugh out loud. I thought it would be Rory who’d be the drinking buddy :p

      I wish them success in whatever they do next. I know Benioff is quite a decent writer and I liked his novels, especially City of Thieves. Maybe he’ll take some time off and write another. Don’t know much else about Weiss but I have no doubt he will have his pick of projects.

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    43. Lord Parramandas,

      As far as I’m concerned, I’m much bigger fan of TV series than the books and I prefer most TV characters to their book counterparts.

      There are certain characters (Margery) and many scenes (Hard Home) where the show shines over what is in the book. I also liked how they changed Tyrion and Theons characters. Have not liked (tho have accepted) the change for Sansa, and like the Red Wedding in the book much more. That being said, there are things the book can do that the show can’t and vice versa; I think for the most part they made the right choices (see the 101 best scenes if you need reminders)

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    44. Luka Nieto,

      respect the streamlined story we got iZn the show considerably more.

      Sometimes, but without the detail of the books, it would have been difficult to bring some of this world to life on screen. I do agree tho about the need for an editor (seems I remember having this conversation before…..many many times as a matter of fact. Would rather talk of other things truth be known.)

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    45. mau

      You must have reading difficulties, or perhaps comprehension issues.

      I said “the ending as GRRM envisions it”. He has know the ending for the main characters for years, and has foreshadowed things since the very first book. His original outline for the series from 1993 had an ending, and elements of that are still part of his plan.

      Bottom line, he has an ending in mind, even if he hasn’t fleshed out all the details. Anyone who actually read the books can see the meticulous set-up and foreshadowing that GRRM has included.

      If you wanna keep on shitting on GRRM, the man who created this entire universe, be my guest, but at least be rational about it.

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    46. mau,

      You must have reading difficulties, or perhaps comprehension issues.

      I said “the ending as GRRM envisions it”. He has known the ending for the main characters for years, and has foreshadowed things since the very first book. His original outline for the series from 1993 had an ending, and elements of that are still part of his plan.

      Bottom line, he has an ending in mind, even if he hasn’t fleshed out all the details. Anyone who actually read the books can see the meticulous set-up and foreshadowing that GRRM has included.

      If you wanna keep on shitting on GRRM, the man who created this entire universe, be my guest, but at least be rational about it.

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    47. mau,

      GRRM plans things out far more than D&D.

      “Oh, let’s have Daario capture the Meereenese navy in S4”. Two years later : “Nah, let’s have the Sons of the Harpy burn that and go with the Iron Islands after all”.

      “Let’s cut Dorne”. Some time later : “Nah, let’s include it”. Some time later “Nah, let’s kill off Doran and Trystane and mostly get rid of the plotline that we set up”.

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    48. Luka Nieto,

      Most characters in the show have far fewer dimensions than they do in the books, and are either watered down versions of their book counterparts or over-the-top cartoon villains. Varys and Littlefinger are good examples of this.

      Cersei is the only character that is less cartoonish in the show.

      Tyrion in the show has nowhere near the depth he has in the books. Season 6 was a disaster for his character. He became an awkward clown, whose wit and cynicism are completely gone. He is a shallow, blindly loyal drunk who has no complexity anymore.

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    49. Luka Nieto,

      Yes, I remember now. He did say they miss each other in Meereen. Thanks. I’m getting old…

      I rather love that. Tyrion is not at the same point emotionally in the books. Show speedily squeezed the tragedy of murdering his own father and how he feels about killing him in a few scenes, and it made sense as the show is not likely to dwell that largely on the trauma, as a POV related chapter is bound to simply because it cannot afford the screentime for a single character and those emotions and thoughts are internalized. I don’t think it would have made for great TV, to be honest. And it’s all exponentially compounded by the guilt and remorse that book Tyrion is nursing for his repudiated wife and his part in that tragedy. Different situations.

      But I get it. You’ve already mentioned that you prefer and think it better writing the more condensed treatment of character and plots. Even if I think it very unfair considering you compare two different mediums! Whatever. #BooksRule #AsoiafForever!

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    50. Luka Nieto: Honestly, with AFFC and ADWD, I think GRRM should have acquiesced to a much stricter editing process (and still should for TWOW and beyond.) That’s what happens when you get too big — no one can tell you “no.”

      No doubt. But was it an all-out “ignore-the editor” process for ADwD or were they trying hard to capitalize on the promotion of GoT S1 and they just tolerated it? (I thought AFfC was quite intriguing, btw)

      In all honesty, the only thing (imho) he should have changed with ADwD is relegated Quentyn to a background character. Those chapters were useless and Q only really served one purpose: to free R&V. The Fire and Blood speech would have been much more effective with Arianne and Q leading the way in the homeland with a Dorne rebellion in Westeros. Instead we get no further Q and Arianne meandering toward Storms End like a sex/marriage offering.

        Quote  Reply

    51. Regarding ‘books vs show’, I don’t have a preference, because I like both for reasons that they can’t ‘compete’ with each other for.

      There is no substitute for being able to be inside a character’s head, to read what they are thinking and feeling. I love the books for that, and it Can’t be replicated on screen. And although I have a pretty good imagination and interpret written descriptions nicely in my mind, it can’t get better than the view on my screen of Jorah and Tyrion sailing through the ruins of Valyria, Arya seeing the Titan of Braavos, or any number of city views and created architecture. And of course, seeing actors that just ARE the characters you’ve imagined, there’s nothing like it. Hearing the amazing music created for the show. Practically feeling a character’s pain or love or understanding through description in the books.

      There’s just too many examples. There are things that irritate me about both mediums as well, but there are many more things that I enjoy. 🙂

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    52. ash:
      Firannion,

      Oh yes.Sam mightget a bit freaked out when he sees the librarian…

      Only at first glance. They are natural allies, when it comes to respecting the power of the written word. And Sam knows as well as anyone in Westeros not to judge…errr, people…by their appearances.

        Quote  Reply

    53. TormundsWoman: Now I’m looking forward to Tyrion and Penny’s adventures as they come back to Westeros to be honest or until he crosses paths with Dany.

      Hi, TW! Hope all is well. I’m a softy for Penny. In an odd way, I’ve always compared Tyrion & Penny’s conversations to cynical versions of Plato’s dialogues between Socrates and Phaedrus. She represents the exiled Phaedrus to me. She exudes perspective and she’s slowly getting under Tyrion’s skin. Unfortunately, I fear she won’t survive the slaughter fields and diseased camps of Meereen though. But if she does, I hope she strikes a blow for Oppo!

        Quote  Reply

    54. Azor Asshai:
      Ginevra,

      You’ve practically been watching exactly the opposite for six seasons already.

      Thank you. Overall, I love the differences but I would hardly consider them opposites. I’m good with violence and villains. If that’s all Cogman meant, I’m sure I’ll love The Citadel.

        Quote  Reply

    55. Firannion: The scene just needed some post-Apocalyptic ductwork.

      LOL! I still crack-up when I think about Tuttle (De Niro!) switching the in/out tubes then leaping into the infinite abyss…

        Quote  Reply

    56. Luka Nieto,

      You might be able to convince me for AFfC and ADwD, but nothing can beat the perfection of ASoS. Despite the rambling, I know I love the characters infinitely more because of their well-developed backstories. If I had to choose only one, the books would be my choice.

      All writers stand on the shoulders of giants, but adapters particularly do. And yet some adaptations really, really suck. So I would say that the genius of D&D is equal to that of GRRM. They might be giants. We are ridiculously fortunate to have so many giants running around, right?

        Quote  Reply

    57. Ten Bears,

      I love On Writing; I’ve read it three times. Imho it’s essential reading for any writer, fiction or nonfiction.

      His explanation for the inspirations for Carrie is heartbreaking.

        Quote  Reply

    58. While I genuinely love the story in both mediums, I’m also in the camp that prefers the show to the books. There are several reasons for that. I appreciate the way that the show has streamlined this rich but ever-sprawling narrative – I respect Martin’s desire to expand his story past all limits, but sometimes those limits can provide the structure one needs to keep the story moving. There is a long list of characters that I felt little for in the books that I absolutely love in the show – the way that they’re written and acted brings them to life in a way that I never felt on the page (the reverse is also true, but that list isn’t quite as long). While I adore the first three books, I have a rather tortured relationship with AFFC & ADWD; there are some truly beautiful elements in those installments, but also a large number of characters, storylines, and choices that made me want to scream and tear my hair out, and which genuinely took me out of the story. And there’s the sense of joy I get from show-centric communities like this one, which sadly, the few book-centric communities I’ve investigated can’t come even remotely close to matching.

      Overall, the two versions of this story both generally play to the strengths of their respective mediums rather wonderfully. We can and should appreciate both, if we so wish. When it comes to the medium in which I personally feel a greater sense of emotional investment, the choice is clear: it’s the show, Game of Thrones. Others feel differently, but expressing a preference needn’t amount to raising one’s banners for a war. Subjectivity in art: it’s a splendid thing!

      Martin is a true visionary – we wouldn’t have this world and these characters if not for him. He is the ultimate gardener, for good or ill (mostly for good). I think Benioff and Weiss are excellent writers, masterful architects, and quite good gardeners themselves. I’m grateful for everything they’ve done to shepherd Game of Thrones into the global phenomenon it’s become. They have earned my complete trust with the job they have done in bringing Martin’s extraordinarily complicated world to life over the past six seasons to date, and in forging their own path when necessary. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us in the final two seasons as this epic tale enters its endgame. Regardless of whether they’re directly translating Martin’s ideas or crafting their own vision, I have every confidence that it will be something truly special.

      Luka Nieto,

      Perfectly stated. I couldn’t agree more.

        Quote  Reply

    59. Markus Stark,

      You’re forgetting the abandoned 5-year gap. At least D&D scrapping Dorne didn’t completely derail the story to a point from which it’s very unlikely to ever recover.

        Quote  Reply

    60. Markus Stark,

      Difference of opinion Markus, it doesn’t make you right or wrong. But Tyrion who I consider my second favorite character, way, way, way after Jon, was insufferable in Book 5. I was starting to hate him. I think the show did well in cutting out the whole, ‘where do whores go and I want to rape Cersei and I’m going to drink myself to death because life.’ I love the books but GRRM took some things a bit too far. Tyrion was not the only character to suffer from this, so did Jamie “and Moonboy for all I know” Lannister and Daenerys “I’m but a young girl and know little of the ways of war” Targaryen. I swear I wanted to punch all three at times.

      Both books and show have their strengths and weaknesses regardless of which one might prefer. You always the have the option of not consuming whichever causes you grieve.

        Quote  Reply

    61. Markus Stark,

      You act as if Dorne makes any writing sense in the books. You have Doran’s plan that is full of holes and that plan fails. So everything was for nothing. And now there is a set-up for a pact with Young Griff. A bunch of minor characters creating an alliance with other group of minor characters. So there is no suspense at all, because we all know that they will fail.

      In the show Dorne feels much more clear. You have two fractions, one that wants war and other that wants peace. The first fraction wins and creates alliance with Dany. And since Ellaria killed Myrcella, there is emotional investment in her conflict with Cersei. In the books Cersei never met Doran or Arianne.

        Quote  Reply

    62. I don’t want to convince people who like book more that they are wrong, because they aren’t. But I also don’t want anyone to try to convince me or anyone else that the books are better.

      I don’t prefer everything from the show over the books, I liked more complicated Northern storyline in the books more for example beacuse I feel the storyline about the Bolton’s downfall and the return of the Starks should be more complicated because we care about it. But I don’t need conplicated storylines in some new locations like Dorne or Meereen. It just feels like wasting the time for norhing
      So I do prefer show version of Dorne, Tyrion’s arc in S5 and Meereen.

        Quote  Reply

    63. ManderlyPieCompany,

      Up to now, from what I’ve read, D&D have always said the end of show will be the same as books. I’d like to watch the actual story of the books play out. To witness the creator’s vision on screen. A natural progression of the characters since they were conceived. But now it sounds like even martin himself makes it up as he goes along lol, or rather changes some things.

        Quote  Reply

    64. Books will always be a place where one gets more knowledge and insights about character and story not only for this series but for all ..

      GRRm is not my bitch but he is certainly not God or American Tolkien who is above criticism like many treat him…he gave us this awesome universe but also damaged his own work …I have certainly lost the respect for him as a professional which I had during my early days…

      D&D are not perfect either and they certainly didn’t better anything that were bad in the books like meereen dorne and so on…and they are not perfect writers ..

      But I do understand the limitations and hardships that D&D have to face ..unlike GRRM they can’t take rest and they must provide the product at the correct time and they depend on thousands of workers and has to manage other difficulties…they may have not done well with my favorite character but they have managed to make the show global phenomenon and managed to hold it there and now they are past those phases of AFFc and ADWd and goes to the Third and climatic phase which will sure entertain the fans ..

      But its the fans who I feel for especially those who have waited for years…while GRRm with his snail pace and lack of interest ( there is no other word for it ) disappointed fans with not finishing the series …those turned to TV and hoped they will be satisfied with its ending but with D&D fast pacing and jumping and rishing to one plot point to another they again ended up disappointed but we will still take whatever ending the show will give us …at least something is better than nothing right..

        Quote  Reply

    65. ash:
      Firannion,

      True; Im assuming he’s never encountered a gorilla, hopefully he does not mistake him for a bear.He better bring lots of bananas.

      Hopefully he does not mistake him for a gorilla! Because our orangutan friend is VERY sensitive about how he is referred to.

        Quote  Reply

    66. dragonbringer,

      I agree with all your points. I have been waiting for the next book only since 2013, I can’t imagine waiting 20+ years for a series that will never have an ending.

        Quote  Reply

    67. I have great respect for D&D.Are they perfect?Most certainly not but what they have done with the show is remarkable.I like the books,we owe it all to them and to George’s mind after all but at this point I have to side with the side who prefers the tv show.I’m certainly way more invested in it.

        Quote  Reply

    68. mau,

      But I also don’t want anyone to try to convince me or anyone else that the books are better.

      Don’t see anyone doing that here, we are just chatting about our own thoughts on each medium. Glad this is not turning into the flame wars of the past, don’t think there was ever a need for that. I appreciate a good discussion on the subject, as this has been.

        Quote  Reply

    69. dragonbringer,

      But its the fans who I feel for especially those who have waited for years…while GRRm with his snail pace and lack of interest ( there is no other word for it ) disappointed fans with not finishing the series

      Word

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    70. “Game of Thrones Creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss: ‘We Know What Happens in Each Scene’ of Season 8”

      HOLY BALLS

      THIS IS REAL

      hahaha

        Quote  Reply

    71. Firannion,

      This. And some other ‘changes’ where they maybe thought that something was too complicated for the show. I understand them condensing characters and omitting some story lines, TV being a very different medium from books, but it’s where it changes the relationship between major characters that it matters. Another example for me would be the Jon/Sam relationship and characterisation, and in particular (minor book spoiler)

      giving the idea to go south (season 5) to Sam rather than Jon

      .

      That said, I’m excited for season 7! There’s the Sue Perkins special on Sky tv tonight, here in Britain, and I’ll be watching to see what they think will happen…

        Quote  Reply

    72. Dee Stark:
      “Game of Thrones Creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss: ‘We Know What Happens in Each Scene’ of Season 8”

      HOLY BALLS

      THIS IS REAL

      hahaha

      Sounds like they finished the outline of the last Season ^^
      I don’t even know how to comprehend what’s going to happen in the last season, but I hope they go down as one of the Best last seasons/ season finale in Television.
      A few more days until sunday!!!!!!!
      I’m blowing past the series trying to finish in time, on season 5 episode 8 tonight 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    73. What do you guys think the “opposite” of Harry Potter’s story is? I suspect that Sam will get to this university (of sorts) that knows a lot about magic but isn’t all that “magical”.

      In the books, the maesters have an abundance of magical knowledge but are strictly anti-magic and put a gag on the topic; in the book world, some theorize the maesters are the reason for magic dwindling out in the first place

      . Unlike Harry, Sam DOESN’T make friends (maybe allies though) and finds the Citadel to be very boring and anti-climactic. He will find that “Dumbledore” (I’m thinking

      Marwyn

      or another archmaester) is extremely corrupt and not like our sweet, loveable, white-bearded wizard at all.

      Just my humble thoughts. What does everyone else think?

        Quote  Reply

    74. Hodors Bastard,

      All is not bad HB, thanks. It WAS a long time. With the new season upon us, I began to look for GoT news again and this is still the best site for it!

      I read just a few of Plato’s Dialogues and I only remember The Republic anyway, but you’ve made me curious. I had to google a summary. It looks like the two characters conversed about what constitutes good and bad writing among other things. How very appropriate to this thread 😀

      I knew you root for Penny but not that you don’t expect her to outlive Meereen. It became an important point to Tyrion to save her and hopefully Martin listens to his character’s needs and makes the right choice! But I would hope she survives for her own self. We need someone to retain the wide eyed innocence, the kindness in this universe even though I do sometimes want to scream at her to man up, like Tyrion does.

      And yes! May she land a blow for Oppo and every dwarf that ever lived and had to stand on a pig or dog for the amusement of the rich and powerful!

        Quote  Reply

    75. Dee Stark:
      “Game of Thrones Creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss: ‘We Know What Happens in Each Scene’ of Season 8”

      HOLY BALLS

      THIS IS REAL

      hahaha

      Yeah, a couple of weeks ago, they said they had an outline for every episode of Season 8 and implied these outlines were detailed. The sound designer and perhaps someone else implied that the episodes for Season 8 might be feature-length like Sherlock episodes, I am thinking, but it may be too soon to hope this for certain – very unofficial. And so it would make sense that their outlines include at least a brief description of each scene.

        Quote  Reply

    76. Dani with an I:
      What do you guys think the “opposite” of Harry Potter’s story is? I suspect that Sam will get to this university (of sorts) that knows a lot about magic but isn’t all that “magical”.

      . Unlike Harry, Sam DOESN’T make friends (maybe allies though) and finds the Citadel to be very boring and anti-climactic. He will find that “Dumbledore” (I’m thinking

      or another archmaester) is extremely corrupt and not like our sweet, loveable, white-bearded wizard at all.

      Just my humble thoughts. What does everyone else think?

      Ooo, you may be onto something! I am so glad you’ve found a convincing explanation and, IMO, acceptable for anti-Potter because that had me worried.

      Book spoilers but not big:

      All of the maesters but Marwyn were very anti-magic and going all out to stifle and deny magic. I’m sure that could be taken as anti-Potter. Marwyn might be a villain, but I wouldn’t guess that yet. I am completely convinced he’s definitely not anti-magic like his peers. But maybe Slughorn isn’t Marwyn and we won’t get a Marwyn – just Sam discovering how to light the candles and find everything else by himself.

      And that’s another thing: what significance do the glass candles have?

        Quote  Reply

    77. Matthew The Dragon Knight: Sounds like they finished the outline of the last Season ^^
      I don’t even know how to comprehend what’s going to happen in the last season, but I hope they go down as one of the Best last seasons/ season finale in Television.
      A few more days until sunday!!!!!!!
      I’m blowing past the series trying to finish in time, on season 5 episode 8 tonight

      Haha, I’m exactly on right pace now to finish my rewatch… “Broken Man” episode today and I will finish the series by the time of Saturday (the show airs on Monday in our country).

        Quote  Reply

    78. Aguero:
      Lord Parramandas,

      Wow, you do prefer the TV show over the books? And the characters of the show over the books?

      I mean i love the show, to me the best TV series in history but i think the books are a mile better.

      Just surprised.

      Books 4 and 5 are very dull for me and those books alone can be the reason why I automatically prefer the show. But even in general, I can hardly think of a character, especially a recurring one, that I would like more in the books… and I usually cannot imagine the scenes in my head as well as the TV delivers them and thus the books don’t give me any “special feelings”.

        Quote  Reply

    79. Lord Parramandas,

      HBO here is airing all of season 6 again on Sunday afternoon right up to the premiere. I’ve seen them all again more than once just in the last few weeks so I might just watch “The Winds of Winter” so I’m fully prepared. As if I’m not ready for it already. 😛

        Quote  Reply

    80. Matthew The Dragon knight:
      I swear I’m going to die from an overload of all this game of thrones content and news….
      I feel like we’re being spoiled before the main course that is Season 7…

      Yep, its neigh on impossible to keep up! I usually read all the new posts, but not all the comments. To do that, one has to monitoring this website and sitting at their PC or with a smartphone 24/7 😉

      … And this current news overload is nothing to when S7 starts along with all the breakdowns, recaps, video reviews, etc. It just gets silly, but I hope ‘Ozzyman’ and ‘AltShiftX’ do their usual video reviews. The first being hilarious and the latter very detailed.

      Some of the other video reviews IMHO are pretty puerile and one can shove those up the Ol’ Wazoo 😀

        Quote  Reply

    81. Luka Nieto: They are better at that in the sense they do it at all and we don’t, as an editorial choice. But it’s true. If you want that kind of thing, WiC has it aplenty.

      Been a long time since I checked in there, and maybe they cleaned up their act, but I ditched because the moderation here is so much better…on the other site a) the comments were way nastier, much less productive discussion and b) more difficult to avoid spoilers
      Very grateful for WotW 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    82. mau:
      I always love D&D and Cogman’s interviews.

      I enjoy their interviews but dislike a fair number of their choices. Cogman spent a lot of the S5E6 commentary dancing around Ramsay’s marital rape of Sansa and the inclusion of Theon. IMO, it was very unconvincing.

      Boojam:
      I wish they would explain why the dire wolves get the most minimal time.

      They have. Sadly it’s for budgetary reasons. After using dogs in S1 for the young pups they had to switch to wolves. And wolves are expensive, complicated, and somewhat dangerous. I really thought we should have seen much more of Ghost last season. If we’re lucky and Arya and Nymeria are ever reunited, I doubt Arya will give Nym a hug like she did in S1. Dragons, being wholly CGI, are less expensive and easier to control.

      Luka Nieto,

      Well said, Luka. I’m glad you think editors aren’t monsters because I was one for years. And that underlies my biggest whinge about GRRM’s accomplishment. It’s too sprawling, too long, too compromised by his incessant world-building and general logorrhea. Brevity truly is the soul of wit and its lack diminishes the message. The red herring of Quentyn was fairly succinct, but that of Aegon/Jon Carrington saga was both blatant and lengthy from the off. And f/Aegon is persisting well into WoW. Sigh. D&D have made choices, many not to my personal taste, in the name of budget, efficiency, clarity, and the visual necessities of television. In some cases they’ve muddied the waters, but their cuts and modifications will get us to the end of the story. And that in itself is a major achievement.

        Quote  Reply

    83. Dani with an I: Just my humble thoughts. What does everyone else think?

      That’s much too arbitrary. The resolutions in this story need to be character driven. Having Sam learn important magic that will save the day would be (basically) Deus ex Machina, and essentially toss aside all of the dynamic development of Jon, Daenerys, etc. Moreover, it would run counter to the stories, which always hinge on people feeling that their decisions are the best of an imperfect lot.

      Indeed, it might even be worth remembering that Harry Potter did not go that route. 10 years ago, one of the most common arguments from Harry Potter fans about why Harry had to go back to school for his final year was: “How else is Harry going to learn the spell to defeat Voldemort?” OMG! How dumb of the rest of us? Clearly, you can only pass your NEWT in Defense against the Dark Arts by showing mastery of the “Defeat Dark Lords” spells!

      Of course, a lot of other fans pointed out what was going to happen: it was not going to be a spell, but a character moment that reflected the culmination of everything Harry had gone through not just in the last book in particular, but in the whole series in general. And, of course, there were other problems: if the spell just existed in a book, then why was Dumbledore unable to defeat Voldemort? Why in the world wouldn’t Voldemort himself know about this spell and be able to use it or look out for it? Etc., etc.

      Instead, we should look for Sam to learn something about one of the main characters that greatly alters how that character is going to view the final events once she or (most probably!) he learns it. The Citadel not going to be like Hogwarts: if anything, then it will be like Harry visiting his parents’ grave or reading about Dumbledore’s friendship with Grindelwald.

      Mr Fixit: Cheers from a former fellow editor! Red pen for the win!

      But… but… world building! Or… by editing Martin/Rowling/Tolkien/Whomever, you are changing what “really” happened!! It’s fan-fiction in disguise!!!

      😀

      (Seriously, I was the chief editor for a major society journal for three years. That’s not 100% the same, as my primary decisions were to choose reviewers and then decide whether or not a paper was publishable in that journal; however, one of the things that I did do was frequently tell authors that this section or that section needed to be cut because they were not entirely germane to the thesis or because they basically duplicated another section. Let me assure you, authors did NOT like that!!! Of course, I don’t like it when editors tell me that, either: but they usually are correct….)

        Quote  Reply

    84. Hodors Bastard: In an odd way, I’ve always compared Tyrion & Penny’s conversations to cynical versions of Plato’s dialogues between Socrates and Phaedrus.

      lol, this is why I love interacting with you. I never in a million years would have made that comparison: but now that you mention it, I can sort of see it! Now I will envision Penny and her pig sitting in togas while reading Winds of Winter….

        Quote  Reply

    85. Markus Stark,

      You wouldn’t think it though, after reading all the negative posts about Sophie’s wig before season 6. I’m not surprised the showrunners think that those are the things fans get hung up on – because some fans are.

        Quote  Reply

    86. Aguero,

      I also prefer the show to the books overall, I love the books but the show is better overall due to the medium. The books can add finer details that the show cannot so they compliment each other very well.

        Quote  Reply

    87. Really good interview, I know a lot of pure book readers get pissed about a lot of things, Like how The Lannisters aren’t blonde enough, Dany isn’t silver enough with the right colour eyes but there are more important things to focus on besides character’s colouring. D&D are far from perfect with all the decisions they’ve made but no adaption can be perfect word for word unless the author themself creates and writes the entire show, so I think D&D have done really well with what they have.

        Quote  Reply

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