GAME OF THRONES Showrunners On Season 5 Straying From The Source Material

There were quite a few changes in season 4 of HBO's Game of Thrones from how events unfolded in George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. Should longtime readers of the fantasy series brace themselves for even more changes in season 5?

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By Mark Julian - 6/16/2014
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter following last night's epic season finale, Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss say they're already looking towards Season 5.  In particular, the duo touched on the question of whether their would be more changes from the source material.  Said Weiss, "We try not to talk about what's coming in future seasons, especially while the current season is still airing. And when we're not even finished writing the future seasons. I should probably be doing that right now, actually. The books are the reason we're doing this, they're our road map, and they provide many or most of our destinations. But there are many ways to get to each destination, and some are more appropriate for our show than others, and I am totally losing the thread of this metaphor here, aren't I? Yup. No idea where I was going with that. Destination unknown."  Coming to Weiss' rescue was Benioff, who addded, "While it's good to hear that those scenes were positively received by the fans, we've stayed away from the message boards and whatnot since season one. Did we mention those anti-anxiety pills? We have to make a show that succeeds on its own terms, and sometimes that means veering away from the books. Some people will be upset by that. Some people will like it. Obviously we hope for more of the latter, but if we ever write a scene (or avoid writing a scene) because we're afraid of pissing someone off, we're sunk. As for season five, we're still figuring out how we can afford everything we want to do. There are a few sequences that are absolutely terrifying from a production standpoint."  

There were a number of scenes in last night's season finale that deviated from what George R. R. Martin originally scripted A Song of Ice and Fire and there entire scenes that were compeltely omitted.  It seems that as the series gets closer and closer to catching up to GRRM, the more the showrunners are willing to alter the course from the roadmap the novels provide.  It's a slippery slope that fans of AMC's The Walking Dead know all too well.  When are changes made for the better and when do they serve some non story specific function like budget, screen time oblgiations and fandom feedback?  It's a fine line that merits close examination as Weiss, Benioff and co. encroach upon A Feast for Crows, and  A Dance with Dragons.


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Running Time: 60 minutes
Release Date: Spring 2014 (Season 4)
TV Rating: TV-MA for sex & nudity, violence & gore, profanity, alchohol/drugs/smoking and frightening/intense scenes
Starring: Mark Addy, Michelle Fairley, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Iain Glen, Aidan Gillen, Harry Lloyd, Kit Harington, Richard Madden, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Alfie Allen, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Jack Gleeson, Rory McCann, Peter Dinklage, Pedro Pascal,
Creators: David Benioff (series), D. B. Weiss (series), George R. R. Martin (novels)
Written by: David Benioff, D. B. Weiss, Bryan Cogman, Jane Espenson, George R. R. Martin

"Season 4 of Game of Thrones was formally commissioned by HBO on April 2, 2013 after viewer ratings showed a substantial increase between the second and third season openers. Due to the sheer length of the third novel, which is roughly 1.5 times the size of the first novel, the events of "A Storm of Swords" was split between season 3 and the upcoming season 4. However, Season 4 may also contain some material from the fourth and fifth books as some of those events happen concurrently to events taking place in "A Storm of Swords." In the wake of the Red Wedding, how does the North pick up the pieces and with their greatest enemy seemingly crushed, where does that leave the Lannisters. Daenerys Targaryen now has an army but is she ready to take back her homeland. Does Jon Snow turn south to seek revenge or remember his duty along the Wall?"
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ckal - 6/16/2014, 6:29 PM
Just come out and say you don't actually like the books that much and you aren't that good of writers.

RickabooRacker - 6/16/2014, 6:36 PM
I just wanna say Bat Maniac is my hero... That is all.
ScorpioRisin - 6/16/2014, 6:37 PM
It's over.
MarkJulian - 6/16/2014, 6:37 PM
I think you have to look at it as what fun is it for them as showrunners and writers to simply adapt everything that happens in the book, exactly as it happens in the book? That's not very creatively rewarding.
glasspleiades - 6/16/2014, 6:40 PM
@Whysoserious875 I must politely and emphatically disagree. I thought that was an incredible season finale and an absolutely amazing end to the best season of television I have yet to see.

this show, and GRRM's works, are so god damn daring. there is no fear about building a season around X and then burning down the house you've built. It means everything is at risk, there is no hero to save the day. sometimes the bad guy wins, sometimes they lose. sometimes your hero is cruel, and sometimes they are good.

This show is everything right with television right now and you SIR, shall not besmirch its good name!
henceforth, hitherto, scallywag and all that, etceteras, etceteras.
TyrionLannister - 6/16/2014, 6:46 PM
Did anyone proofread this thing?

the duo touched on the question of whether "their" would be more changes

Coming to Weiss' rescue was Benioff, who "addded"

There were a number of scenes in last night's season finale that deviated from what George R. R. Martin originally scripted [in] A Song of Ice and Fire and there [were] entire scenes that were "compeltely" omitted.

Seriously, were you drunk when you published this?
Niem8211 - 6/16/2014, 6:56 PM
Just don't forget people weren't watching this show because you made it up... They are watching the show because they want to be a part of Song of Fire and Ice... That is what made this show successful, not your added scenes.
ruadh - 6/16/2014, 6:57 PM
Not the best episode but I wasn't disappointed. Of course what works in print doesn't always work as well on screen, blah blah, but also they know far more about how the story ends than anyone watching/reading. May have to trust that, or just stick to the books.
batz11 - 6/16/2014, 6:57 PM
Yeah, thought it was an amazingly great episode...just watched it again...

I really hope the younger people on this site actually realize the incredible production and grand scale of entertainment you're receiving each week. Including complex, multiple storylines with amazing landscapes and sets from all over the world, movie-grade cgi, top notch acting, Oh, and "crammed" into only one hour per week!

If you only grew up in the '70s and the shit we had to watch (well some was good, like the Bugaloos ;)...be happy, you're getting a quality 'movie' in a television show for 10 weeks per season, let's try to keep the critism with some of this context and perspective...*hops of soap-box*
SaintofKiIIers - 6/16/2014, 7:04 PM
To the jerk0ff who said it was the worst of the series go troll somewhere else u loser.

Honestly jus sick of trolls who have no life, friends, or hobbies therefor they spend all their time on the computer trashing the things they wish so bad they had created or worked on themselves

Yes, whysoserious, in talking about u ya lifetime loser
cimmerian - 6/16/2014, 7:07 PM
Third book of the series was the best. So it's expected that Seasons 3 and 4 were gonna be AWESOME!
I pray in the future that when Game of Thrones is done, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will put their attention to another masterpiece book series:



by Robert E. Howard. The 2012 movie ruined this franchise. It deserves a decent treatment like what George RR Martin is getting.
TheGambitFreakIsBatmanOfCBM - 6/16/2014, 7:07 PM
As far as sequences costing too much, [frick] it. I don't watch this show for it's "amazing" special effects and what not. I watch it for the same reason I watch TWD and Breaking Bad: It has an intriguing storyline. They could exchange spending thousands of dollars making CGI Skeletons to fight Hodor, Bran and Meera, for some claymation. That might be my Evil Dead fanboy talking, but it wouldn't bother me a bit. I don't know why they veered away from doing Lady Stoneheart, Coldhands and all but I know why Season 5 is going to piss off fans of the novel. Martin is lazy, slow and busy with other projects. He is no where near finished with Winds of Winter and Game of Thrones (TV Show) is about to pass the timeline of the novels. They're gonna have to make their own storyline cause of Martin's incompetency.
BlindJustice - 6/16/2014, 7:07 PM
Last night was by far the BEST season finale the show has had yet. Of course after last week's episode, it was hard to top (as episodes go)...but it held it's own.

I'm just glad the writers haven't gone the way of the True Blood show... COMPLETELY different from the books.
TyrionLannister - 6/16/2014, 7:10 PM
Loved the episode, even the parts they changed (Brienne vs. The Hound). The only disappointing thing was that they botched the ending, which is rather strange given that the book hands it to them on a silver platter. Perhaps if they hadn't wasted so much time on Daenerys they would have had time to get it in there.
Spock0Clock - 6/16/2014, 7:11 PM
I really hope my personal fan theory of what they are going to do with Sansa is right, since there's basically nothing of her book storyline to adapt.

If they do what I think they are going to do, it's going to be great television.
BlindJustice - 6/16/2014, 7:11 PM
@cimmerian - I heard there was talk of HBO doing a Conan series once, but that was before Game of Thrones.

I'd love for HBO to take on another fantasy series as well...


fettastic - 6/16/2014, 7:14 PM
@Niem8211, 90% of tyhe audience of this show has not read the books, so no.

Also, 9% of the 10% that HAVE read the books have only done so because Weiss and Benioff made the show the best thing on TV in all of [frick]ing history.
Spock0Clock - 6/16/2014, 7:14 PM
@cimmerian

"David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will put their attention to another masterpiece book series."


Me, too, but I hope it's Dune. A live-action series that fleshes out the various houses and political intrigue (maybe establishing a peer-relationship between Fayd, Irulan, and Paul that frames the arc of all three of their stories) would be amazing.
Bl00dwerK - 6/16/2014, 7:24 PM
I don;t care if it strays from the books or not. Actually, I kinda hope it does...
JillyMcBeam - 6/16/2014, 7:24 PM
JillyMcBeam - 6/16/2014, 7:25 PM
@Spock, I'd be interested to hear your theory.
batz11 - 6/16/2014, 7:26 PM
Only other tv show I feel that came close to GoT quality was Rome, also on HBO...If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it! Only two seasons, guess too expensive to keep producing back then...

This dude look familiar? Played another "King" ;)


Amazing cast too...
SauronsBANE1 - 6/16/2014, 7:29 PM
Haha, CBM is probably the worst place imaginable to post an article describing a show veering away from the source material. This site is already chock-full of naive fanboys who can't process the fact that sometimes, things don't translate well from the page to the screen. These are the unimaginative folks who'd only be pleased if it were a complete, 100% retread and rehash of whatever was in the source material. And even if the changes are good (as they often are), they refuse to even entertain that thought, as it violates the "sacredness" of the source.

And yeah, I'm talking about comic book movies in general as much as I'm talking about Game of Thrones in particular. The Mandarin uproar, having Wolverine get sent back into time rather than Kitty, having Arya be a cupbearer for Tywin rather than Roose, and inventing scenes like Brienne encountering Arya and then dueling with the Hound...ALL of these are instances where straying from the source material was the best thing to do.

But nope, the knee-jerk reaction of fanboys is just "It sucks because it's different!" *sigh* Their loss.
cimmerian - 6/16/2014, 7:30 PM
@BlindJustice
Really? I hope they'll reconsider! Conan deserves a break.
Dungeons and Dragons is another of my favorite, too.

@Spock0Clock
Thanks, man!
TheGambitFreakIsBatmanOfCBM - 6/16/2014, 7:32 PM
@Fettastic Not completely true. Speaking for myself, back in my early days of High School, we were forced to read a fantasy/adventure book for an assignment. Because I loathed Harry Potter (No disrespect, Harry Potter just isn't my thing) and had read the Narnia, John Carter and LOTR series by that time, I was handed "A Clash of Kings" by Mr. Holland. The clueless epitome of a public school teacher failed to tell me that it wasn't the first book in it's series, but I read it regardless. Even though it utterly [frick]ed my head up, due to the fact I continued reading on with A Storm of Swords and Feast for Crows without reading Game of Thrones, I did go back and read the first. It is oen of my favorite series', but I'm not too big on novelizations and big-adventure-story-series type books. I rather like collective readings and stuff (Thanks to you, Kevin Smith's "Silent Bob Speaks").
SauronsBANE1 - 6/16/2014, 7:32 PM
Great stuff, Mark. Big fan of the continuing tradition of crossing out the names of cast members who haven't exactly made it this far haha.
ruadh - 6/16/2014, 7:41 PM
Another thing that may upset book purists is if this show DOES conclude with the sixth season. HBO tends to not let their shows stay on "too long", going for quality over quantity. They've signed on for two more, while signing only one at a time previously. Makes me wonder if they're planning to wrap in up that quickly, and that's why a lot of things they've determined to be superfluous are just left out.
batz11 - 6/16/2014, 7:42 PM
Looks like few more need to be crossed off, huh lol...
batz11 - 6/16/2014, 7:44 PM
If ratings continue to increase like they are, it will keep being made, guarantee that...hope so at least...
SauronsBANE1 - 6/16/2014, 7:52 PM
Haha yeah, guess it's not completely updated yet batz.

I agree, too. GRRM has already suggested it might take an 8th book to finish his series, and having just gotten through the last half the 3rd book...I can't see the showrunners concluding the series with only 2 more seasons. I have a feeling HBO will make an exception for arguably their most profitable, most-watched and highest-rated show ever. Perhaps 7 seasons, and a feature-length movie to finish it off with a bang?
McGee - 6/16/2014, 7:59 PM
If we don't see Lady Stoneheart or Cold Hands next season, I swear to God I'm gonna shrug my shoulders. >:(
ruadh - 6/16/2014, 8:01 PM
I could be totally wrong, but don't see it having a movie or going beyond 7 seasons. HBO has said already they don't want to let it go for too long.

Next year, they'll overtake what's been published on at least most of the plots, if not all. I really wouldn't be at all surprised if they start getting ever more serious with condensing and omitting.
krylonshadow - 6/16/2014, 8:11 PM
Walking Dead should not be mentioned in the same article as Game of Thrones. Walking Dead is a boring melodrama with predictable deaths and not enough zombies. Game of Thrones blows your mind seconds before it stabs you in the heart, AND it has zombies. Walkers? Pssht, it's all about them White Walkers.
prettynucIear - 6/16/2014, 8:15 PM
Walking started out good and then it jumped the shark and GoT is about to jump the shark. I'm afraid this show is another Lost.
robsncoppers - 6/16/2014, 8:34 PM
Cutting out Lady Stoneheart was the right move. Where were they going to fit her in? She is not an important character and her existence takes away from the important events that befell the better character, Catelyn Stark . They fixed GRRM's misstep frankly. The omission of the Tysha story is more upsetting. That seed was planted several seasons ago and has been referenced multiple times. I guess the show runners figured they should replace that story with Shae's because the audience actually saw that relationship on screen.
ruadh - 6/16/2014, 8:35 PM
Pretty nuclear, as a huge Lost fan, I actually am afraid it may go that way. Martin said GOT will not be another Lost, but its natural for a writer to want to surprise their audience. Makes me afraid that popular fan theories, even if what he originally intended, will be changed because too many people figured out where it was going. In this case, I think its okay to go that way and wrap it up faster.
sinsear912 - 6/16/2014, 8:43 PM
I sat there after the credits telling my wife they're gonna show lady stone heart after the credits
sinsear912 - 6/16/2014, 8:44 PM
I sat there after the credits telling my wife they're gonna show lady stone heart after the credits

ruadh - 6/16/2014, 9:03 PM
You did it twice? Encore airing?
batz11 - 6/16/2014, 9:12 PM
^ you sat through them twice lol ;)
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