The new series is based on the book by George RR Martin fire and blood. Among other things, he details the events of the Dance with Dragons, a brutal civil strife between rival factions of the Targaryen dynasty, then at the height of its power. We’re talking about brother fighting brother, mother fighting daughter, and of course dragon fighting dragon.
To carry out this effort, HBO has chosen writer Ryan Condal, who will act as showrunner alongside Miguel Sapochnik, who directed emblematic episodes of game of Thrones such as “Battle of the Bastards” and “The Winds of Winter”. In the end, Condal was George RR Martin’s choice of choice to run things, as the two had already known each other for a long time.
“It didn’t happen right away,” Martin said during an appearance on the partner podcast, your words kindly transcribed by Lord_Edin in the house of the dragon subreddit. “Mainly, when I came to Los Angeles once or twice a year, we would have drinks at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills and just talk about what we were doing. And during these dinners and these meetings, I learned certain things about Ryan. Number one, he liked my work, which was good.”
I knew a lot about my world because I had read all the books about Westeros. I knew a lot about fantasy in general… Meanwhile, at the same time, HBO was getting ready to try, they could see that Game of Thrones was ending, they wanted a successor show. I proposed several ideas to them and one of them was the Targaryen civil war, which I call the Dance of the Dragons. But we had other writers, you know how this business works, we went through a few other writers. Some of them didn’t get very far, some of them went considerably far and did a good job. But at one point we found ourselves without a writer and… we were at the Four Seasons, and I thought ‘hey, you’d be great for this.’
Martin has been in Hollywood for a long time and knows what pitfalls to avoid. Hopefully, he will encourage people to know that in Condal, he chose someone with a real love for all things Westeros. “Yeah, I was really happy that Ryan knew my world so well,” Martin said. “Because HBO also put four other shows into production with four other writers who were great writers. His television and film credits were excellent, [but] they didn’t really know my books.
Now I have to admit that I am not the most objective guy in this discussion, I am the author of the original material. When you hire a writer to do an adaptation but they’re not familiar with the material… in some cases they hire people who don’t even like the source material. And you have a language in Hollywood, ‘I’m going to make it mine.’ I have my own vision for this and that sort of thing.
Not even talking about my work but about myself as a spectator, as a consumer of things, if I am going to see The Great GatsbyI don’t want anyone’s opinion The Great Gatsby. I don’t want them to make it theirs. I want Scott Fitzgerald to come to life in front of me. I love Daisy and Tom and Gatsby and the Roaring 20s. And you don’t always get that, so to be able to work with someone like Ryan, not only because he knew my books, the fact that he knew fantasy and loved fantasy was a great thing. .
house of the dragon is “a very faithful adaptation” of the work of George RR Martin
As for Condal, he is loved A song of ice and fire for more than 20 years. “That fateful encounter in Santa Fe and me picking up that pocket book from game of Thrones in 2001 at Barnes and Nobles when I was on tour down the fantasy aisle, everything lined up that day and started us on this wild ride that we’re on,” he said of being offered the opportunity to work on house of the dragon.
Condal assured fans that his goal is to keep the show true to Martin’s work, which means keeping him in the loop. “For me it was all about trust,” Condal said. “It was a unique writing relationship because George was the author of the source material. And I promised him from the beginning that I’m going to adapt the material as faithfully as I can, understanding that certain things have to change, change and be invented because we’re putting this into a visual medium. It is no longer a history book.
So for me it was a confidence building exercise. And the way Miguel and I approached the show was as fans of the original show. So what we’re all trying to do is create what we as fans would want to see. For me as a fan that meant a very faithful adaptation. So I was very lucky in this case, I had George’s ear. I shared every schematic I wrote with him for the pilot and every draft of the pilot I wrote. And then once it got going and HBO was happy, I think George was happy and he knew where the story was going and what the plan was.
So that’s what I really try to do. Keep him as abreast of the information as I could. Then at some point we wrote a series bible, and he came to Los Angeles to join us and heard how that was going. So I think every step of the way, he always knew where the story was going. So with me it was always keeping him involved and keeping his eyes on him as much as I could because I felt like if George blessed this and said this is good, or we discussed something and it’s not what he wanted and he compromised. kind of a mutual solution, so I felt that he had done my job as author of the adaptation.
And in fact, based on what we can tell, does it looks like the show is doing a good job of adapting fire and blood very closely. For example, there’s a large cast of characters, and I was prepared to cut or combine some characters, but so far it looks like they’re including almost everyonealthough of course we won’t know for sure until we see the finished episodes.
Jorge RR Martin, house of the dragon the producers argued about where to start the story
All that said, there Will there have to be some changes made, if for no other reason than because fire and blood it is an unusual book. It is not a direct novel, but a bogus history book in which a historian relies on multiple accounts of what happened during this war. There’s not a lot of dialogue, so the writers will have to think about that. And as for the multiple points of view, you will have to choose one where the book has given you multiple options.
“[W]We had a couple more healthy discussions at the beginning, in the type of formation of how the program was going to be structured and how this particular story was going to be told, “said Condal. “And it involved a deep, introspective look at material that you wouldn’t necessarily have to do if you were just reading or discussing it like a history book.”
Because it’s one guy (Archmaester Glydan) trying to filter out three other guys who have an incomplete account of the story that happened, trying to figure out what really happened. Because we’re telling the objective version of this story, we had to make decisions about what was going to happen and how it was going to happen…[T]there was debate here, and there was ‘well, what if we did this?’ and some things weren’t quite what George intended, but he was sold on it and liked it.
Another problem is where to start the story. Again, fire and blood it is a history book. It’s contains an account of the Dance with the Dragons, but it also covers much of what came before and after. How much of that backstory do you include and how do you include it?
“It’s like the history of the United States or the history of England,” Martin said. “Where do you start? If you’re writing the history of England, do you start with the invasion of the Picts, the Celts, the Romans? No, I’ll skip them and start the Saxon invasion. Or no, I’ll skip them, start with William the Conqueror. We face the same problems here. And actually, that’s a major issue for me and some of the other writers who came before Ryan on this project. We couldn’t agree on exactly where to start the story. Usually I wanted to start earlier and other people wanted to start later. But I think we found a great place to start the story.”
The way Condal speaks it, the team has found a place where they are serving two masters: staying true to the book while adapting it for television. “It’s really interesting because you can really serve the adaptation, be extremely faithful to it, but still bring a lot of invention, just because of the way the story is told,” he said.
We’ll see how this all came together when house of the dragon premieres on HBO and HBO Max on August 21.