What Was the One Story Martin Argued Against Changing in HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’?
It may be the middle of the summer with temperatures rising all around the country, but here in my house winter has arrived and it’s going to be all kinds of chilly in here on Sunday night when Game of Thrones returns with the premiere of season 7!
In preparation to return to Westeros, I spent the morning reading a fantastic interview with George R.R. Martin published on Time.com. The creator of the realm goes into great detail with Daniel D’Addario about a wide variety of topics regarding the books, the show, and the one storyline he wished that the showrunner’s hadn’t changed. Beware, spoilers for the books ahead!
Martin was asked about his ability to “put up walls” between the book versions of his characters and the T.V. versions of his characters. He replied:
I’ve arrived at that point. The walls are up in my mind. I don’t know that I was necessarily there from the beginning. At some points, when David and Dan and I had discussions about what way we should go in, I would always favor sticking with the books, while they would favor making changes. I think one of the biggest ones would probably be when they made the decision not to bring Catelyn Stark back as Lady Stoneheart. That was probably the first major diversion of the show from the books and, you know, I argued against that, and David and Dan made that decision.
In my version of the story, Catelyn Stark is re-imbued with a kind of life and becomes this vengeful wight who galvanizes a group of people around her and is trying to exact her revenge on the riverlands. David and Dan made a decision not to go in that direction in their story, pursuing other threads. But both of them are equally valid, I think, because Catelyn Stark is a fictional character and she doesn’t exist. You can tell either story about her.
I hadn’t known about this version of Catelyn Stark until well after The Red Wedding played out on television. However, now that I have started reading the series, I am most excited to get to this part of her journey! I wonder how different the show would have been if David Benioff and Dan Weiss had included Lady Stoneheart.
Speaking of The Red Wedding, Martin also admits in the interview, that he really didn’t want to write that scene, but he knew it was coming from the beginning of the series.
What was the hardest moment to write in the series?
The Red Wedding, without a doubt. I knew the Red Wedding was coming and I’d been planning it all along, but when I came to that chapter, which occurs two-thirds of the way through A Storm of Swords, I found I couldn’t write that chapter. I skipped over that chapter and wrote the hundreds of pages that followed. The entire book was done, except for the scene with the Red Wedding, and even all the aftermath of the Red Wedding. It was just so hard to write that scene because I’d been inhabiting Catelyn for so long, and of course, I have a lot of affection for Robb, too, although he was never a viewpoint character, and even for some of the minor characters. They’re minor characters but you develop a relationship to them too, and I knew they all were going to die. It was some of the hardest writing I’ve ever done, but it’s also one of the most powerful scenes I’ve ever done.
You can read the entire interview here. Game of Thrones season 7 premieres this Sunday, 9 p.m. on HBO