Game of Thrones may be George R.R. Martin’s baby, but that doesn’t mean he enjoys every single thing about the TV show based on his popular A Song Of Ice And Fire series. In fact, he was recently very open about his least favorite scene in the whole series. The scene in question comes from the first season of HBO’s Game of Thrones.
George R.R. Martin is often fairly candid with his fanbase about a lot of topics related to his work projects and work life, so his latest comments shouldn’t come as a huge shock. The scene in question he’s talking about has to do with King Robert Baratheon going on a boar hunt, mainly because he feels like the small party that went on the hunt was tacky and not true to real life or what he had envisioned.
Where we really fell down in terms of budget was my least favorite scene in the entire show, in all eight seasons: King Robert goes hunting. Four guys walking on foot through the woods carrying spears and Robert is giving Renly shit. In the books, Robert goes off hunting, we get word he was gored by a boar, and they bring him back and he dies. So I never did [a hunting scene]. But I knew what a royal hunting party was like.
Speaking with EW, George R.R. Martin shared some other tidbits about the show that has made him even more of a household name. But he also elaborated on exactly how he saw Robert Baratheon’s final hunt going, and to be fair, it sounds almost nothing like how it played out on the small screen. He said:
There would have been a hundred guys. There would have been pavilions. There would have been huntsmen. There would have been dogs. There would have been horns blowing — that's how a king goes hunting! He wouldn't have just been walking through the woods with three of his friends holding spears hoping to meet a boar. But at that point, we couldn't afford horses or dogs or pavilions.
Now, it’s probably worth mentioning that while George R.R. Martin depicts the society in Game of Thrones as having facets similar to Medieval England, it’s also a fantasy series with dragons and White Walkers. Thus, if the hunting scene isn’t specific to the “time period” I’d argue it’s kind of irrelevant. However, if an author sees a scene play out one way and then its TV version plays out totally differently, I can see how that would be a sticking point.
This is particularly true given that Game of Thrones had hefty budgets for each of its episodes. Still, even if a creative team has a ton of money to play with per episode, cuts have to be made somewhere. The episode in which Robert is gored by a boar is a notable one from Season 1 before Game of Thrones had reached its height in popularity. That episode – and spoilers -- “A Golden Crown,” saw Robert Baratheon (played by Mark Addy) go off on a small hunt in which he was ultimately gored by a boar, dying the following episode.
Robert’s death is a pivotal moment within Game of Thrones history and per what George R.R. Martin now says, it should have happened with a bit more fanfare than him traipsing through the woods and talking about “making the eight.” Probably the same amount of drinking, however.
Now, personally this moment never bothered me and there are a few more scenes particularly from Season 8 that get more flack from the fanbase. But it’s cool George R.R. Martin kept tabs on the show and watched it as much as a fan as a creator. Sometimes artists and writers just wash their hands of any programming that’s related to their source material, but not Martin, who even wrote episodes of the series through its run (including some highly-acclaimed episodes like “Blackwater”). It’s nice to see a creator deeply involved for once, even if it means we’ve been waiting a heckuva long time for The Winds of Winter.