“Game of Thrones” was just nominated for 19 Emmys and it’s not difficult to see why.
The HBO series is now the most-watched show in the network’s history. It recently surpassed “The Sopranos” with an average of 18.4 million viewers per episode. However, there was a time the creators of the show feared the series may not come together.
On an episode of “The Writers Room,” a Sundance series which looks at the making of popular shows, co-creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss recalled receiving poor feedback after screening the pilot for three friends who were also writers.
“We made a huge number of mistakes in the original pilot,” said Benioff. “We screened the initial pilot for three of our friends … and got to the end and there was just dead silence in the room. One of our friends kind of shakes his head and says, ‘You guys have a massive problem.’ It was one of the worst experiences, work wise, in my life.”
One problem the duo said they had was providing at least 50 minutes for each episode. Weiss said they had one episode that originally clocked in at 39 minutes.
“We were 93 minutes short for the entire season so we had this two week crunch,” said Benioff.
In order to fill the time gap, the creators focused on exploring character-driven storylines, while ensuring they connected with audiences.
Benioff explained one of the key mistakes happens in the last scene of the first episode. Brother and sister Cersei and Jaime Lannister are caught having sex by a child causing Jaime to push him out a window. In the initial cut, it was never made clear the Lannisters were related, making their relationship incestuous.
“Certain relationships that we thought were obvious were not at all obvious to an audience,” said Benicoft.
“There wasn’t ever any point at which you were told explicitly, and that’s the entire point of the scene,” added Weiss.
Benioff says when HBO decided to pick up the pilot episode that despite the mistakes and problems, the two had the chance to rewrite and reshoot much of the premiere episode.
The rest is history.
You can check out “The Writers’ Room” on Sundance.
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