George R R Martin explains why he said no to a Game of Thrones movie for 15 years

'I had the power to say the sexiest word in Hollywood – No.'

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The Independent Culture

George R. R. Martin has discussed why he held out for a Game of Thrones TV series for over a decade, saying he didn't want his novels to go the same way in adaptation as Tolkein's Lord of the Rings.

In spite of sacks of cash being thrown at him, the author was simply not willing to compromise his books by having huge sections of them removed to fit a film narrative.

"It took Peter Jackson three movies to make Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, and he still had to cut things," Martin said during an interview on The South Bank Show.

"It would take three movies for A Storm of Swords alone! And if you figure like two movies for A Game of Thrones, and two for A Clash of Kings, you're already up to seven movies and you're halfway through the series.

"Nobody's going to commit to that, and, of course, they didn't commit to that."

Martin refused to cave to pressure, and did not want to see his series manipulated into a Jon Snow hero story with a few supporting characters.

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Martin rejected the idea of making his story Jon Snow-centric (Picture: HBO)

"The people I met with from movies said one of two things – they either said, 'Oh, we'll just make the first movie! And after that's a hit, we'll make more'," he recalled. "Well, of course, if you go down that route then you have Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials.

"Great fantasy, they made the first movie - didn't do as well as they expected, you'll never see a second movie.

"Alternatively they said, 'Well, we have to find - yes it's true it's too complex, it's too big the way it is - but we have to find the central arc. And we've decided the central arc should be Jon Snow.'

"So the whole movie would be about Jon Snow. Or the central arc is Daenerys, the whole movie would be about this exiled princess, and she gives birth to dragons.

"That might be a good movie, it might be interesting, but it wouldn't be my story. My story is a combination of stuff.

"I didn't need the money so I had the power to say the sexiest word in Hollywood – 'No'."

Martin did suggest however that a feature film could be used as a crescendo to the HBO TV series.

"It all depends on how long the main series runs," he hinted. "Do we run for seven years? Do we run for eight? Do we run for ten? The books get bigger and bigger [in scope].

"It might need a feature to tie things up, something with a feature budget, like $100 million for two hours. Those dragons get real big, you know."

Game of Thrones is currently in its fifth season on HBO and Sky Atlantic, with this week's episode seeing yet another brutal death.

@christophhooton

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