A new book released today, James Andrew Miller’s Tinderbox: HBO’s Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers, is a massive 1,000 page tome that looks at the rise of HBO as the destination for prestige television from the past and all the way to the present. In the course of it, of course, the book can’t but help touch on Game of Thrones. While it covers ground already revealed in past interviews and books (such as James Hibberd’s Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon), there’s a few new details… particularly from a voice fans have not heard before, George R.R. Martin’s long-time entertainment agent, Paul Haas, concerning the final season and its relation to GRRM’s plans for A Song of Ice and Fire.
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George R.R. Martin in the Eyrie on the set of Game of Thrones.
Two notable quotes from Haas:
George loves Dan and Dave, but after season five, he did start to worry about the path they were going because George knows where the story goes. He started saying, “You’re not following my template.” The first five seasons stuck to George’s road map. Then they went off George’s map.
. . .
George has not told me who gets the throne at the end of his arc; he will not tell anybody. I believe maybe his book publisher and book agent know, but I do not. And I’ve represented George since 1992.
So I have no idea where it goes, but the bottom line is that the book’s ending is a more satisfying experience than the show’s.
Besides filling in some details on just what went on with the final two seasons of the show, Tinderbox also reveals information about the development process for successor shows to Game of Thrones. Robert Greenblatt, former chairman of WarnerMedia, talked of how he was part of the process of pulling the plug on Jane Goldman’s The Long Night-related prequel pilot, which apparently had cost over $30 million to produce, and also how he pushed to skip the pilot process for House of the Dragon and make a full season order.
On a similar note, George R. R. Martin also commented on the fact that when he pitched two shows to HBO—Dunk & Egg and The Dance of the Dragons—he thought that HBO was definitely going to go forward with the one they liked, only to discover belatedly that they had had outside writers pitching shows based on their own ideas rather than in consultation with him.
There’s a great deal more in Tinderbox, touching on the great dramas and comedies that HBO has created over the years, and in particular some sobering words concerning what happened following Time Warner being purchased by AT&T which, suffice it to say, did not go as planned.
(Many thanks to zionius for bringing GRRM’s participation in the book to our attention.)