Game of Thrones showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff have started to open up about the series again following its divisive finale. During the Austin Film Festival this past weekend, the pair talked about the process of how the show came together and what influenced their changes from George R.R. Martin's beloved source material.
As the panel kicked off, Twitter user @ForArya helped recap what Weiss and Benioff said about the 10 years they spent working with HBO on GoT. At a certain point in the panel, mostly avoiding the infamous reaction to Season 8, the pair said they might have gone a little "too far" with some of the violence in the show.
Benioff in particular highlighted the jousting scene with the Mountain, as well as Ser Hugh of the Vale's death scene.
Earlier in the panel, the pair also explained that they didn't have a whole lot of experience before they tackled Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, so they were surprised when Martin signed off on their pitch to HBO. "We didn't really have any," one of the two said when asked about their experience by Martin. The original unaired pilot the duo produced was infamously poor, and reflecting on that they both agreed it was filled with countless writing mistakes.
In fact, they were even more surprised when HBO picked it up when considering how much of a failure they considered it. "Everything we could made a mistake in, we did," they said.
During the panel, Weiss and Benioff also spoke about how the episodes in the first season were running short just two months before the pilot was to air. As a result, HBO ordered them to write and film 100 additional minutes of scenes to meet the contractual obligations. Prior to the reshoots, each episode averaged around 39 minutes. They were thankful for the reshoots, however, as they said it helped them to understand the characters better.
As more and more actors signed on to the project, Weiss and Benioff let them help redefine the characters for the screen. Maisie Williams was highlighted for what she brought to the role of Arya Stark.
Interestingly, it was also revealed that during the early stages the pair wanted to remove as many fantasy elements as possible in an attempt to not just "appeal to that type of fan." They said they also hoped to appeal to mothers and "NFL players," the latter of which they managed as Aaron Rodgers was a big enough fan he made a cameo in the final season.
They took a moment to address the lack of women and people of color in their writing room for GoT, too, saying they didn't even have a writers' room.