Folks, it’s been a wild few days for Game of Thrones fans as they got hit with the back-to-back-to-back whammy that was David Benioff and D.B. Weiss exiting their Star Wars deal, the Game of Thrones prequel pilot starring Naomi Watts getting canned, and then another prequel, House of the Dragon, getting a whole season order. It’s been a lot to take in, but maybe the most important opinion comes from George R.R. Martin, the man behind the Song of Ice and Fire series that started all this in the first place. The author took to his personal blog today to offer thoughts and updates, the most pressing being that he won’t be writing a script for House of the Dragon despite penning the companion book, Fire & Blood, on which the show is based. That is, unless he can finish Winds of Winter, the sixth installment in the Song of Ice and Fire saga, in time for production.
Here’s what Martin wrote [emphasis is his own]:
“I expect to be involved in [House of the Dragon] to some extent… and, who knows, if things work out, I may even be able to script a few episodes, as I did for the first four seasons of GAME OF THRONES.
But… let me make this perfectly clear… I am not taking on any scripts until I have finished and delivered WINDS OF WINTER. Winter is still coming, and WINDS remains my priority, as much as I’d love to write an episode of HOUSE.”
Martin did, in fact, write an episode apiece for the first four seasons of Game of Thrones but put that aside to focus on Winds around 2014, which he’s been chipping away at ever since. But he’s worked on plenty of side-material in the meantime, too, and in lieu of House of the Dragon plot details he offered up some recommended reading: Dangerous Women and Rogues, two anthology collections co-edited with Gardner Dozois.
As for the canceled prequel—which was to be set thousands of years before Game of Thrones and deal with humanity’s first scuffle with the White Walkers—Martin doesn’t think the decision to not move forward was because of House of the Dragon.
It goes without saying that I was saddened to hear the show would not be going to series. Jane Goldman is a terrific screenwriter, and I enjoyed brainstorming with her. I do not know why HBO decided not to go to series on this one, but I do not think it had to do with HOUSE OF THE DRAGON. This was never an either/or situation. If television has room enough for multiple CSIs and CHICAGO shows… well, Westeros and Essos are a lot bigger, with thousands of years of history and enough tales and legends and characters for a dozen shows. Heartbreaking as it is to work for years on a pilot, to pour your blood and sweat and tears into it, and have it come to nought, it’s not at all uncommon. I’ve been there myself, more than once. I know Jane and her team are feeling the disappointment just now, and they have all my sympathy… with my thanks for all their hard work, and my good wishes for whatever they do next.
House of the Dragon will be executive-produced Martin, Ryan Condal (Colony), and Miguel Sapochnik, who directed episodes of Game of Thrones like “Battle of the Bastards” and “The Long Night”. The prequel series will focus on the famously fire-and-incest obsessed family the Targaryens as they rose to power in Westeros. For more on the show, here’s the official announcement.