George RR Martin has been pretty reserved with any potential criticisms of Game of Thrones, the HBO adaptation of his seminal book series, A Song of Ice and Fire. However, it sounds like Martin is starting to loosen up and speak his mind about certain issues he had with the show.
Speaking with EW, George RR Martin opened up about his feelings towards the show and its legacy. In the midst of the conversation, he dropped his feelings about the one scene in the series that he ended up severely disappointed with.
″Where we really fell down in terms of budget was my least favorite scene in the entire show, in all eight seasons: King Robert goes hunting,″ Martin says. ″Four guys walking on foot through the woods carrying spears and Robert is giving Renly s—. In the books, Robert goes off hunting, we get word he was gored by a boar, and they bring him back and he dies. So I never did [a hunting scene]. But I knew what a royal hunting party was like. There would have been a hundred guys. There would have been pavilions. There would have been huntsmen. There would have been dogs. There would have been horns blowing — that’s how a king goes hunting! He wouldn’t have just been walking through the woods with three of his friends holding spears hoping to meet a boar. But at that point, we couldn’t afford horses or dogs or pavilions.”
It might not be the most damning of criticisms considering the response to Game of Thrones‘ final season, but you can definitely tell that George RR Martin was hoping for the series to pull off certain visual treats that might not have been as impacting in his novel. The royal hunting party sounds like something that would have been incredible to see brought to life, but the budget on Game of Thrones did not reach astronomical numbers in its first season.
If the first season of Game of Thrones had been given the budget it received in the last season, the sky would have been the limit for George RR Martin’s desire to see the hunting party in its full splendor. By the end of the show, each episode was costing an estimated $15 million to produce. That means that the final season cost over $90 million to realize. In its first season, Game of Thrones averaged about $6 million an episode. that means the ten episodes ended up costing $60 million total. The final season only had six episodes and ended up costing $30 million more than the first season. Quite a jump in price!
It will be interesting to see if George RR Martin begins to open up even more about his feelings towards Game of Thrones. The series is widely seen as suffering a steep decline after the show ran out of Martin’s source material to draw from. And exactly how much of that plotting was provided by Martin is up for debate. Considering that Martin has two more books left to release in his A Song of Ice and Fire – The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring – it is going to be deeply fascinating to see how much they differ from the trajectory the show took.
There is almost no doubt that the scene George RR Martin takes issue with will be as criticized as a majority of other decisions Game of Thrones decided to make. For a show that became such a global phenomenon, the final run of episodes soured so many people on a universe that had become one of the biggest original intellectual properties of the last decade. There are supposedly still plans to move forward with a Game of Thrones spinoff show at HBO, but will the tarnished legacy of the show end up bringing that to a crashing halt? We will have to wait and see.
As of this writing, George RR Martin has still to announce a release date for The Winds of Winter.