Movies & TV

George R.R. Martin Says Game of Thrones Season Eight Was 'Not Completely Faithful'

In a new interview, the author changes his tune on the much-maligned final season and discusses the "traumatic" experience adapting his books.

For writers whose works are adapted into a show or movie, the process can be as upsetting as it is lucrative. Take it from George R. R. Martin, who in a new interview has sounded off on the emotional challenges of bringing the much-maligned eighth season of Game of Thrones to the screen.

In a new interview with FastCompany, Martin says of the adaptation process, “It can be… traumatic. Because sometimes their creative vision and your creative vision don’t match, and you get the famous creative differences thingthat leads to a lot of conflict.”

Martin also spoke about the at-times corrosive influence of behind-the-scenes bureaucracy, saying, “You get totally extraneous things like the studio or the network weighing in, and they have some particular thing that has nothing to do with the story, but relates to, ‘Well, this character has a very high Q rating, so let’s give him a lot more stuff to do.”

The Q rating is a measurement of an entertainment property’s familiarity or appeal to audiences. In the familiarity department, Game of Thrones has saturated the culture as much as seems humanly possible, yet season eight tanked in the appeal department. In fact, fans were so incensed that 1.7 million of them signed a petition calling for the season to be remade with “competent” writers.

Martin may count himself among those 1.7 million aggrieved fans, considering his read on season eight: “The final series has been… not completely faithful.”

Martin’s cryptic comments about the adaptation process come as a surprise on the heels of his previous laudatory statements about the show and its creative team. In fact, Martin has historically implied that he works in lockstep with showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, with whom he met to discuss the ending of the show as early as 2015. When the series finale was met with jeers, Martin defended the showrunners, saying, “They had six hours. I’ll have 3000 pages.”


Yet now, Martin’s tune seems to have changed. In the ongoing game of shifting blame for the disastrous final season, Martin’s stance is clear—he doesn't want the blame.

This story originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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Adrienne Westenfeld
Assistant Editor
Adrienne Westenfeld is a writer and editor at Esquire, where she covers books and culture.
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