Season 8 of Game of Thrones was far too short. Many characters could have been fleshed out more if we had more time with them. Daenerys’ decisions might have made more sense. But alas, the season was only six episodes (and last season was really short too.) Why was the season so short? It turns out that D.B. Weiss and David Benioff wanted the season to be this short. George R.R. Martin wasn’t a fan of the idea.
A reporter from Variety asked George R.R. Martin (GRRM) why it’s ending. “I don’t know. Ask David and Dan when they come through… We could have gone to 11, 12, 13 seasons. But I guess they wanted a life,” GRRM said with a laugh. “…If you’ve read my novels, you know there was enough material for more seasons.”
When pressed for more, he added: “David and Dan have been saying for … five years that seven seasons was all they would go… We got them to go to eight but not any more than that. … There was a period five years ago when they were saying seven seasons and I was saying 10 seasons and, you know, they won. They’re the ones actually working on it, so…”
You can read a thread about it on Reddit below. Just beware: this is in the Freefolk subreddit, which allows spoilers in headlines and photos without warning:
Interestingly, GRRM used to write a script every season for Game of Thrones, but his last script aired on TV in 2014 (Season 4’s “The Lion and the Rose.”) He likely stopped writing because the show passed up the books, but some fans still theorize and wonder if he stopped because Benioff and Weiss’s decision to keep the show at only eight seasons was approved right around that same time period. GRRM has said publicly that he stopped writing scripts because he wants to focus on his books and scriptwriting takes up too much time. On his blog in 2015 he wrote: “Writing a script takes me three weeks, minimum, and longer when it is not a straight adaptation from the novels. Writing a season six script would cost me a month’s work on WINDS, and maybe as much as six weeks, and I cannot afford that… With David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, and Bryan Cogman on board, the scriptwriting chores for season six should be well covered. My energies are best devoted to WINDS.”
Vanity Fair explored GRRM’s last script in-depth, noting numerous cuts that were made. These cuts were fascinating, pointing to threads in his books that the show decided to drop. For example, he had more plans for the direwolves, including noting in his script: “A season or two down the line Ramsay’s pack of wolfhounds are going to be sent against the Stark direwolves, so we should build up the dogs as much as possible in this and subsequent episodes.”
Sadly, this direwolf focus did not end up happening.
GRRM also planned a different person would be revealed as trying to assassinate Bran, not Littlefinger, and it was going to be revealed in Season 4. He also had many minor characters mentioned in his script that were left out of the show entirely.
In the end, it’s not clear exactly what Benioff and Weiss insisted on ending the series at eight episodes (originally wanting to end the series at seven.) But we do know that GRRM was not on board with this idea. Can you imagine if the series had 10 or more seasons and this season was just partway through? Things would be very different for fans now in that alternate universe.