The series finale of the hit HBO series Game of Thrones contained a number of shocking reveals. The most surprising? The recipient of the Iron Throne. After eight seasons of bloody battles, backstabbing, and bad behavior, it turned out that Bran Stark would rule Westeros. The series' showrunners, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, had previously implied that the idea came from A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin himself. But now, it seems that may not be entirely true.
As the HBO series began to outpace the novels in George R. R. Martin's fan-favorite series, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss consulted the fantasy author before creating their own plot points. Well, kind of, anyway. FanSided has reported that the new book Tinderbox: HBO’s Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers, which is written by James Andrew Miller, contains an illuminating interview with Martin’s representative, Paul Haas. During the chat, the rep claimed that the writer never told the GoT bosses who would take the Iron Throne.
This tidbit not only directly refutes prior information from both of the showrunners but also from the actor who plays Bran Stark, Isaac Hempstead-Wright. The star previously said that the co-creators told him they were following the author's plan for Bran when they placed him on the coveted throne.
Paul Haas also shared that the Iron Throne reveal wasn’t the only deviation from George R.R. Martin’s game plan. Apparently, the producers went off the beaten path long before Season 8. Haas explained:
It’s honestly difficult to blame the showrunners for marching to the beat of their own drum. After all, many Game of Thrones storylines had caught up with the books by Season 5, forcing the show's writers to invent their own. But the shift from the books didn’t translate to a dip in quality when it came to Seasons 6 and 7 - they hold a Rotten Tomatoes approval rating of 94% and 93%, respectively. Season 8, on the other hand, marked the largest change from the author's original ideas, and it seemed to suffer the consequences. Not only did the final season divide fans and critics alike, it also has the lowest rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with only 55% of reviewers giving it a thumbs up.
Will fans ever know for sure if George R.R. Martin actually planned for Bran Stark to sit on the Iron Throne? Only time - and the long-awaited release of The Winds of Winter - will tell. In the meantime, all eight seasons of Game of Thrones are available to stream now on HBO Max.
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