Showrunner David Benioff talks 'Game of Thrones' Season 4 and beyond

By Mark Newtonon · 4k saw this· 14+ people are talking

So what are you going to do with your Sunday afternoons now? Game of Thrones Season 3 has ended and now my Sunday evenings are like a massive swath of unnavigable wasteland. I've found a suitable replacement though. Sitting and day-dreaming about what future seasons of Game of Thrones will hold. Now, series writer and producer David Benioff has arrived to help me out. Of course, in doing so we open ourselves up to some spoilers, so beware if you want to remain completely pure for season 4.

Season 3 ended roughly two thirds of the way though George R. R. Martin's third Song of Ice and Fire novel, A Storm of Swords. Season 4 is likely to conclude that book, but it also raises some interesting questions about book four and five. Named A Feast of Crows and A Dance of Dragons, these books see come central characters, such as Tyrion, Jon and Daenerys taking the back-seat in favor of new protagonists, locations and story-lines. Obviously, this is trickier to pull off for a TV series which has now established beloved characters (in fact Tyrion, Jon and Daenerys are arguable the most popular) that audiences want to see each week. Luckily, Benioff has arrived at a conclusion. Book Four and Five's timelines in fact overlap, showing what different characters do, in different places, but at the same time. So, future seasons of Game of Thrones are likely to encompass material from both books into one season.

This of course raises more questions, especially once more and more characters are introduced into an already bloated cast. Benioff has therefore but forward the notion of trimming down on some of the excess. He said:

The series has already reached a point where there are so many characters -- particularly in season three… we run the risk of bursting at the seams as we try to cram every single subplot and all the various characters and it becomes impossible on a budgetary level and it becomes impossible on an episode-basis to jump around every few minutes to 30 different characters and locations. We don't want to do that, and recognize that as a real risk and we will take steps not to fall into that trap.

The problems don't end here. By combining Martin's books into less TV seasons, are we not getting dangerous close to over-taking the original author? Martin is known for delivering his works in rather leisurely fashion and he is still working on the sixth book. This raises the very possible scenario that the TV series might run out of source material. Martin is less concerned though, he responded:

I think the odds against that happening are very long. I still have a lead of several gigantic books. If they include everything in the books, I don't think they're going to catch up with me. If they do, we'll have some interesting discussions.

What do you think? Would you still watch Game of Thrones if Tyrion, Jon and Daenerys were omitted for a season? Let me know below.

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