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The minds behind 'Game of Thrones' talk about the HBO series

March 16, 2011 |  7:00 am

Thrones “Winter is coming” this spring -- or so the slogan for HBO’s epic new series “Game of Thrones” promises. And it’s coming fully loaded with Machiavellian politics, gore, an invented language, cinematic visuals and a horny dwarf.

The drama premieres April 17, but the project has been simmering since 2006, when long-time pals David Benioff and Dan Weiss decided they needed to make George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” fantasy novels series into a TV drama -- not a PG-13 rendering but a narrative teeming with violence, sex and complexity.

"There are certain things we are never going to be able to do the way Peter Jackson could with 'Lord of the Rings,'" says Benioff in this Sunday Calendar feature. “On the other hand, we have a lot more time to spend with our characters. And at this point in my life as a 40-year-old man, I am much more excited by George’s stories than I am by ‘Lord of the Rings.’”

Benioff and Weiss met in a unusual spot for Hollywood show runners: both were getting master’s degrees in Irish literature at Dublin’s Trinity College. Weiss was studying James Joyce, Benioff Samuel Beckett -- and both went on to publish literary novels before becoming screenwriters. 

Meanwhile, George R.R. Martin was a TV writer who got fed up with scaling down his vision for the screen: "With my first drafts [of TV scripts], they’d always say, 'It’s great, but it’s too long, it’s got too many characters.'"

So he unleashed his imagination within his novels: the four volumes of “A Song of Ice and Fire” are gargantuan, and the 5th volume has been eagerly awaited by fans for five years. Although a publication date has been set for July, Martin hedges when asked if he’s handed in the manuscript yet:  “A chapter or two to go,” he insists.

There’s more on the show runners and their vision for “Game of Thrones” in the feature posted at Hero Complex.


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-- Joy Press

Photo: Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark and Kit Harington as Jon Snow in "Game of Thrones." Credit: Helen Sloan / HBO