Author George R. R. Martin was a huge part of the debut season of HBO’s Game of Thrones and quite happy with it as well. He actively participated in the casting process, which discovered many hidden gems.
The show even handled many of the iconic book moments quite perfectly. For instance, regarding the death of Ned Stark, Martin specifically said, “could not have been done better.” The showrunners Dan Weiss and David Benioff also added depth to certain characters. Such as Cersei Lannister’s chat with Robert Baratheon about her ruined marriage.
However, there were two scenes in Game of Thrones’ first season in 2011 that were not much liked by the best-selling author and both were not possible due to the production’s limited budget of $6 million per episode, as a result, both failed in achieving the author’s actual vision.
One of the scenes which annoyed Martin was just recently “fixed” in the prequel House of the Dragon. In the first season of Game of Thrones, King Robert goes on hunting along with a few others when he gets mauled by a boar and eventually dies from the wounds later on.
“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 book, Robert goes off hunting, we get word he was gored by a boar, and they bring him back and he dies. “
“So I never [wrote a hunting scene]. But I knew what a royal hunting party was like. 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.”
@Thrones_Fact shared Martin’s sentiments over the scene:
George R.R. Martin says his least 'Game of Thrones' scene was when King Robert goes hunting
"There would have been a hundred guys … He wouldn't have just been walking through the woods with three of his friends holding spears hoping to meet a boar" pic.twitter.com/J7qSQmlLvB
— GoT Facts & News (@Thrones_Facts) October 1, 2020
Turns out Martin’s detailed description was eventually used in House of the Dragon’s third episode as King Viserys goes ‘hunting’.
Another one of the scenes which frustrated Martin due to budget constraints was the jousting tourney. Although the scene in Game of Thrones was effective in terms of staging compelling action and effect alongside some Kings Landing court mysteries, Martin envisioned the scene to be something like the Super Bowl of Westeros.
Regarding the jousting scene, Martin said:
“There were a number of points we had to cut back. The jousting tournament was one of them. A tournament in the Middle Ages sponsored by the king and the Capital was a huge thing. And [co-executive producer Bryan Cogman] wrote a faithful version [in the original script].”
“There were dozens of knights, you saw eight different jousts, you got a sense of pageantry and competitors rising and falling and the commoners betting. We should’ve been at least as big as A Knights Tale but we couldn’t even achieve that. The only jousts we saw were essential to the plot. Still, I thought it worked pretty well.”
House of the Dragon did a re-do of the jousting tournament in its premiere episode, including an extended scene of a huge crowd that was CGI-enhanced. With the House of the Dragon having a hefty budget of almost $20 million per episode, the production quality is top-notch and bound to get bigger.
The audience has also given a positive response to the flexible budget per episode.
@blown_through believes “House of the Dragon is 10x better than GoT”
House of the Dragon is 10x better than Game of Thrones purely because of how much attention is paid to the ritualization of life instead of "medieval aristocrats were just like us", latest episode has a 40 minute hunting party sequence
— HOLE ✝️ (@blown_through) September 5, 2022
@CookieBot1254 shared his own review regarding the latest episode of HoTD:
Best episode of HotD so far. Really loved the hunting setting the politicking is heating up. Viserys exasperation is still great Rharerya has grown on me so much and her growth is great. Action cutting/choreography was kinda sloppy but still fun.
— Tweeting @ Them Softly (@CookieBot1254) September 5, 2022
House of The Dragon airs on Sunday night on HBO Max. If you live outside of the USA, here’s how you can watch House of The Dragon with ease.