On George RR Martin’s birthday, here’s what he asked David Benioff, DB Weiss before giving them Game of Thrones rights
When George RR Martin met David Benioff and DB Weiss for the first time in 2006, he asked them a simple question--Who is Jon Snow’s mother. When they gave the right answer, George decided to give them the rights to make Game of Thrones of television.Updated: Sep 20, 2020, 07:15 IST
Beloved author George RR Martin celebrates his 72nd birthday on Sunday and we are bringing back the fun story of his first meeting with Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and DB Weiss. In 2006, Martin met the two at the Palm in Los Angeles. His three books from A Song of Ice and Fire were already stellar hits and Hollywood’s top producers and filmmakers were all eyeing the series for adaptation. However, there is a really interesting reason why he chose to say yes to Benioff and Weiss.
When the show ended after an eight-year run last year, George took to his blog to share his thoughts on the series, how it took off ground and how it ended. Speaking of his first meeting with the show’s creators, George wrote, “The last night, the last show. After eight epic seasons, HBO’s GAME OF THRONES series has come to an end. It is hard to believe it is over, if truth be told. The years have gone past in the blink of an eye. Can it really have been more than a decade since my manager Vince Gerardis set up a meeting at the Palm in LA, and I sat down for the first time with David Benioff and D.B. Weiss for a lunch that lasted well past dinner? I asked them if they knew who Jon Snow’s mother was. Fortunately, they did.”
“I had no clue, that afternoon at the Palm, that I was about to embark on a journey that would change my life. I had optioned books and stories for television and film before. Some had even been made There was no way to know that this one was going to be different, that this pilot would not only be shot, but would go on to become the most successful show in the history of HBO, win a record number of Emmy Awards, become the most popular (and most pirated) show in the world, and transform a group of talented but largely unknown actors into major celebrities and stars. Even less did I imagine that I would somehow become a celebrity as well… and if truth be told, I’m still not sure how that happened,” George had added.
Speaking about their meeting with George, DB Weiss had said they had already discussed the answer to the question among themselves. “He asked us who is Jon Snow’s mother. And we had discussed this before. And we gave an answer - a shocking answer, and George at that point didn’t actually say whether or not we were right or wrong. But the smile on his face - his smile was a tell and we knew we had passed the “Wonka” test at that point, I think,” he said.
Benioff added, “Yeah, we had read thousands of pages and we got to a certain point - I remember I read through half of Storm of Swords and I called Dan (Weiss) and I said if somehow we get George to agree to do this and HBO to agree to do this, and we got to a third season and we get to this scene, which he (Weiss) had already read because he was a much faster reader than I am, I just think an audience is going to love it. But that means getting George to say yes and HBO to say yes and getting a pilot picked up and getting it - it all seemed pretty unlikely. And it all depended on this meeting and I would say we were intensely nervous. There had never been anything I had worked on before that I was so excited about the possibility of it. And it was pretty intimidating.”
Almost 13 years after the meeting, Game of Thrones has made its mark as one of the most popular shows in the history of television. With path-breaking action sequences, memorable dialogues, more than a dozen iconic characters played by award-winning actors, Game of Thrones amassed a large fandom through the years.
The end of the series may have been less than what was expected but the show still remains one of the best fantasy epics the world has witnessed. George is yet to release two more instalments in the series--The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring. George has been working on the books for a few years now and fans keep begging him to release the books soon. His latest self-appointed deadline for The Winds of Winter is 2021.
George is also working on the show’s prequel series. Speaking about them, he had written last year in his blog, “Huge continents, ten thousand years of history, cities, deserts, oceans, mysteries, triumphs and tragedies. If there were indeed eight million stories in The Naked City in the 50s, surely there are eight billion stories to be told about Westeros, Essos, Sothoryos, and the lands beyond the Sunset Sea, south of Oz and north of Shangri-La.”
“And in these days of a hundred networks, channels, and streaming services, I think television has plenty of room for two shows set in Westeros… or hell, maybe three or four… I still want to do ‘Spearcarriers’ after all,” he said. One of the prequels, starring Naomi Watts, was ditched by HBO. Another, set 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones, is still in works.
Follow @htshowbiz for more