‘Game of Thrones’ Exec Producer, D.B. Weiss on Future Seasons & Director Alan Taylor Leaving for ‘Thor 2’
I believe I can safely say we are loving Game of Thrones’ second season. I really didn’t know if it was possible to top the achievement that was the first season, but they did it. And they’ve got the ratings to prove it. Game of Thrones has been king of Sunday nights pulling in 3.766 million viewers for its second episode. Comparatively, Mad Men pulled in 2.69 million. This data comes from Nielson, so also consider all of the non-Nielson households as well as those downloading or streaming the show online. That’s a lot of freakin’ people watching Game of Thrones!
The Huffington Post had a chat with executive producer, D.B. Weiss in where they talked about decisions made when adapting such a beloved and dense series as George R.R. Martin’s novels as well as what they learned from the first season going into filming the second. You can read the entirety of the second part of their interview here, part one over here, and expect part three to post later this week.
These are few snippets I thought were too great not to share,
HuffPo: Someone pointed out to me that HBO shows typically don’t run for 10 or 12 seasons. My response was, but this is a somewhat anomalous show for HBO in a few ways. So to me, that wasn’t an area of concern — whether the show would ultimately get the number of seasons it would need to tell the full story. I guess I just assume that given the upward trajectory of the ratings and the show’s media buzz, it’s not a huge issue at this point. But is it ever an area of concern for you and David Benioff [co-executive producer]? Do you ever think that it would really need 10 or 12 seasons and that’s a long time for HBO to commit to a show?
Weiss: Well, I guess typical HBO shows don’t involve dragons or ice demons either. [Laughs.] So in some ways, this is clearly not a typical HBO show, and in other ways, we think it is very much a typical HBO show. Yeah, we realize if it all goes well, it could potentially be quite a long commitment, but we realized that going in. We’d read the books, same as anyone, and we had spoken to George about where things were going, and we went in with eyes open, knowing that if all went well, we would end up with a very, very long, coherent story that spanned several seasons of television. That was the attraction for us, really. I mean, I just I feel like that’s something new. Maybe with the exception of “The Wire,” which has that overarching, novelistic feeling to it, there are few examples of that kind of truly long-form, consistent storytelling out there, especially in this genre, which seems so tailor-made for it. It seems to be a feature of this genre — building a world of this size and playing [the story] out over many, many years. George has done a better job of that than anyone that I know of. That was really what it was all about for us.
HuffPo: Were there any sort of staffing changes that you made or certain production things that you can point to in terms of the Season 2 leap forward? I know you brought Alan Taylor on board as a producer and director.
Weiss: Yeah, I think there were, probably. It’s so hard to think about. There are so many people who are such integral parts of the show and the machinery of the show [is vast]. Alan certainly is one of [the key players]. By the time Season 2 is finished, he’ll have directed 6 of the 20 episodes. It’s almost a third of the show. We feel like his look in many ways epitomizes the way we want the show to look. The way he directs is just something we’ve had so much love and admiration for, and now, so much jealousy since he’s been stolen away to go do “Thor 2.” So we love you, Alan. And fuck you, “Thor”!
HuffPo: It seems, as you said, there are perhaps more scenes that maybe didn’t necessary occur in the books, at least not the way we see them on the show, but these scenes draw upon information that is in the books or convey information that we need to know. Do you and David feel more confident and more sure of yourselves when you take on things like that? Is it happening more this season, do you think?
Weiss: Yeah, I think it does happen more this season. It’s episode to episode — there is no blueprint for it. [Through the post-production process], you watch each episode many, many times, and you realize as you’re watching them that some of them have a great deal of new material and some of them are weighted in favor of the scenes that appear in the books.
It really is a question of: What’s the best way to get the characters where they’re going? What’s the best way to unfold [their lives] dramatically? What’s going to be the most satisfying way? Sometimes, the dramatic necessity pulls you away from the book. If the book deals with a piece of character information in a expositional way, where you [learn] a backstory way that’s very hard to dramatize, maybe you come into that element of a character from a different direction.
I know I’ve been really digging a lot of scenes not from the books, for instance any encounter between Littlefinger and Varys. Those two aren’t point of view characters in the book so we’re never given a scenes with them without a main character like Sansa, Cersie or Tyrion. Well, neither of them are POV characters in Clash of Kings, but, y’know, spoilers. Anyway, those two guys just play off each other so well it’s been a fantastic addition to the story.
What have you thought of season two of Game of Thrones thus far?