Game of Thrones author George RR Martin said he was “apprehensive” to hand over his story for the upcoming prequel series, House of the Dragon.
The legendary US author, 73, famously hadn’t finished his A Song of Ice and Fire books when the eighth and final season of Thrones began production, allowing screenwriters Daniel Weiss and David Benioff to create their own ending to Martin’s beloved stories.
It didn’t bode well for HBO – the show concluding its near decade-long run in 2019 with severe backlash from fans who felt it was rushed and inconsistent with previous storylines.
Speaking in a new featurette dubbed ‘A New Reign’, Martin, HOTD writer Ryan Condal and director Miguel Sapochnik sought to assure diehard fans they have honored the original source material.
“It’s always a little apprehensive when you turn your baby over to foster parents,” Martin said.
“But I’m involved in this. It’s great to have Ryan, who’s a great writer and someone who really knew my work. He’s going to do his best to remain faithful to it.
“There’s always a little suspense to … How good is it going to be? But I think I’m in good hands with Ryan and Miguel.”
At the height of Thrones outcry, which saw millions of fans sign a petition for the eighth season to be rewritten, Martin issued a scathing statement hitting out HBO producers for compromising his work.
“It can be … traumatic,” he told Fast Company in 2019. “Because sometimes their creative vision and your creative vision don’t match, and you get the famous creative differences thing — that leads to a lot of conflict.
“Tea [final] series has been … not completely faithful. Otherwise, it would have to run another five seasons.”
In ‘A New Reign’, which also gives fans a sneak peek at behind the scenes footage, Condal said Martin’s narrative played a “huge influence” when he began writing the screenplay for House of the Dragonas he acknowledged the pressure of surpassing viewer expectation.
“It’s an incredible feeling to achieve my dream job. You get that great call which is the thing every writer is hoping for, and you’re happy for a few seconds, and then you realize the responsibility that’s on your shoulders,” Condal said.
He said production on the prequel featured, “The biggest sets I’ve ever been on. The biggest locations I’ve ever been on. The biggest crews I’ve ever seen. It’s staggering.”
Elsewhere, Sapochnik, who directed some of Thrones‘ most memorable episodes including season six’s Emmy-winning ‘Battle of the Bastards’, admitted it was almost “too much of a challenge” to return to the world of Westeros.
But, he conceded, “You have to start by respecting it. You can’t start by doing different for different’s sake.”
He added: “[It’s about] realizing what worked in Thrones and what didn’t … What do we want to better? How do we want to evolve?”.
House of the Dragon premieres express from the US on Binge and Foxtel August 22