For fans, Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have become something of troubling figures. Much of the issue stems from the final season of the HBO series which stoked controversy and outrage over a variety of issues, including the treatment of certain characters, episodes perceived as lackluster, and even the way the climactic Battle of Winterfell was shot with that episode being so dark many viewers had trouble watching the action. The pair even cancelled their appearance at San Diego Comic-Con at the last minute this summer, presumably to avoid the fan backlash but they did finally speak up at Austin Film Festival this past weekend and, unfortunately, the comments they made there didn't exactly go over well as they outlined some of the secrets of the series.
During the AFF appearance, Benioff and Weiss spoke about the source material they had to work with, their lack of experience going into making Game of Thrones, the removal of "fantasy elements" of the series to make it more palatable to a wider range of fans among other things and, perhaps most infuriating, that Benioff in particular didn't see the value of considering other people's reactions to the show. What might be the point that upsets fans the deepest, however, are the comments about the source material and how adaptations always end up in "divorce". Specifically, the pair noted that the "divorce" was made easier because the show outpaced the books. You can check out that particular highlight, shared by Twitter user @ForArya who was in attendance for the talk, below.
Dan is saying that writers and source material end up in divorce and that there divorce was amicable - since they ran out of material.— Needle & Pen (@ForArya) October 26, 2019
In addition to some of the comments about the source material, there were some troubling comments about the actual making of the series. In addition to revealing that an actual infant was placed on an actual block of ice in the scene where one of Crastor's abandon babies is taken by the White Walkers, they also revealed that they didn't have a writers' room at all for the series and that wouldn't hire writers unless they were also willing to be part of the production team. Instead, they did the majority of the writing themselves.
While some of the comments from Benioff and Weiss aren't going to do much to appease fans, ultimately Game of Thrones did do very well awards-wise in its final season. The series earned 32 Emmy Award nominations in its final season, something that surprised the showrunners.
"It was kind of surprising. I did not know that we expected that. At least in my mind, I thought that the last season would have been the peak and that we would've ended up with maybe a couple less, at best," Weiss explained. "I felt very happy for all of our team of people, all of the actors and all of the crew who got recognized because each made us feel really proud of them and happy for them, because we know first-hand how hard they worked. We saw it every day for many years."
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