'A special challenge': George RR Martin explains why 'House of the Dragon' was a formidable task
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Author George RR Martin says it was difficult to adapt his book 'Fire & Blood' for HBO's 'House of the Dragon'. HBO approved 'House of the Dragon' following the enormous success of 'Game of Thrones', which is based on Martin's 'A Song of Ice and Fire' novel series. The prequel show, which received favorable reviews from critics, follows a few significant Targaryen family members as they fight for the Iron Throne.
Martin explained why adapting 'House of the Dragon' from 'Fire & Blood' was such a difficult undertaking during HBO's FYC event at the DGA on Tuesday, March 7, 2023.
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'It's an outline'
“There is a special challenge to adapting Fire & Blood, which is significantly different from the books and stories for Game of Thrones," the author said. "Those are five, soon to be seven, I hope, novels that are fully developed with the characters, the dialogues, the scenes - it’s all there. Fire & Blood is an imaginary history book, that has a few scenes where I zero in, and I give you half page of a scene and I give you some actual dialogue but mostly its history. It's an outline, and you can’t present an outline on television, so it has to be filled in. And that’s where [Showrunner Ryan Condal] and his staff of writers have done a marvelous job."
He added, “In Fire and Blood, for example, it is stated that Queen Emma Arryn dies in childbirth and her son dies the following day. There is nothing about it being the most horrendous childbirth scene ever seen on TV. That’s all the work of [Condal] and his writers.”
George R.R. Martin explains that his 2018 novel “Fire & Blood” only served as an outline for #HouseOfTheDragon | @HBO @hbomax pic.twitter.com/HJGLSYpOws— Deadline Hollywood (@DEADLINE) March 8, 2023
'House of the Dragon' vs 'Game of Thrones'
Similar to 'Game of Thrones', 'House of the Dragon' revolves around a small group of people who are fighting for power and using various degrees of political intrigue to succeed. Early seasons of 'Game of Thrones' were a pretty straight adaptation of Martin's books, but later seasons saw the hit show transcend the plot he had outlined. By coincidence, this is also when its favorable reviews began to decline. Even though the show continued to draw extraordinarily remarkable viewership numbers as it entered seasons 7 and 8, many believe the quality dropped as the plot came to a close.
'House of the Dragon' hasn't yet run across this issue, at least not with Season 1. Season 1 had a respectable 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, despite the fact that the writers had to fill in many of the holes for themselves in terms of character arcs and more nuanced plot twists. That said, 'House of the Dragon' is still in its inception, and the biggest adaptation difficulties may still lie ahead.
'House of the Dragon' is streaming on Hotstar.