'Game of Thrones' Showrunners Don't Want Actors Reading The Books

Jorah actor Ian Glen talks Game of Thrones books vs. TV show

Game of Thrones is a tentpole of original programming for HBO, and shows no signs of slowing down following the finale of its fifth season. Based on A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy novels by George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones is not an easy TV series to pick up on a whim; its source books often exceed 1,000 pages of densely worded and content heavy text, alone.

Fan speculation is already amping up for the sixth season of the show, with heated debate centering around Jon Snow's ultimate fate and lineage. However, Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss have already deviated so often (and significantly) from the show's source material that attempting to stay ahead of the how by reading Martin's books is something of a futile task (especially since the author has finished them all yet).

Iain Glen, who plays Daenerys Targaryen's (Emilia Clarke) former bodyguard Jorah Mormont) spoke to Radio Times about his own familiarity (or, rather, a lack thereof) with Martin's source novels. In conversation with the site, Glen stated:

"I don't read the books. I read the first one when they gave me the job, just to get a feel from it and a synopsis breakdown of what was going to happen to the character. But beyond that, the writers themselves, David and Dan, they didn’t particularly want actors coming to the scripts from the book, always suggesting what the book did and how it was different...They were quite happy for us to move forward and treat them as screenplays with no history, so that’s the reason why I only ever read the first novel."

Many Game of Thrones viewer have never read the source material either, as most recently evidenced in the reactions to the dramatic developments that transpired during the season five finale. Benioff and Weiss, as mentioned before, have frequently set the series apart from the narrative presented in Martin's novels (so far largely to critical acclaim and ratings success), and it's probably easier for them to have their cast focus on the portrayal of their characters in the show only. Season five received its fair share of criticism even from those fans who've never read Martin's source material, after all, much less those ASOIAF fans that approached the season with built-in expectations.

Emilia Clarke and Ian Glen on Game of Thrones

Regardless, Glen is pleased with the runaway success of Game of Thrones, as he told Radio Times that the moment he realized where the show might be headed (in terms of being the phenomenon it has since become) was during shooting for the Khal Drogo funeral scene. And as for where he'd like to see the series wind up, Glen had this to say in passing:

"I just want Jorah to be there when Daenerys finally succeeds in the end, and sits on the Iron  Throne. I’d like to be beside her.”

Hopefully the Mother of Dragons' (Emilia Clarke) most loyal servant will survive long enough to see such a predicted victory, but until then viewers (and readers alike) will just have to wait until the show returns next Spring on HBO, or for whenever George R.R. Martin finally gets around to putting the finishing touches to The Winds of Winter.

NEXT: 10 Predictions for Game of Thrones Season 6

Game of Thrones season six will premiere on HBO in Spring 2016.

Source: Radio Times

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