George R.R. Martin Says Literary Adaptations Are Never Better Than the Book

George R.R. Martin, whose “A Song of Ice and Fire” novels were very successfully turned into HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” does not like how nearly all literary adaptations come out on screen.

Hollywood has “gotten worse” when it comes to honoring source material, Martin said.

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“Everywhere you look, there are more screenwriters and producers eager to take great stories and ‘make them their own,'” Martin wrote in a blog post. “It does not seem to matter whether the source material was written by Stan Lee, Charles Dickens, Ian Fleming, Roald Dahl, Ursula K. Le Guin, J.R.R. Tolkien, Mark Twain, Raymond Chandler, Jane Austen, or… well, anyone. No matter how major a writer it is, no matter how great the book, there always seems to be someone on hand who thinks he can do better, eager to take the story and ‘improve’ on it.”

Martin mocked what industry creators have told him about adaptations: “‘The book is the book, the film is the film,’ they will tell you, as if they were saying something profound. Then they make the story their own. They never make it better, though. Nine hundred ninety-nine times out of a thousand, they make it worse.”

Luckily, he found the one exception.

Martin wrote that “once in a while we do get a really good adaptation of a really good book,” such as with the FX (for Hulu) series “Shōgun.”

“I am glad they did, though. The new ‘Shogun’ is superb,” Martin wrote. “Better than Chamberlain’s version, you ask? Hmmm, I don’t know. I have not watched the 1980 miniseries since, well, 1980. That one was great too.”

Martin has previously said he was “out of the loop” during the final seasons of hit HBO series “Game of Thrones” with showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff. Martin had formerly consulted on scripts and casting for the first four seasons of the series.

“By Season 5 and 6, and certainly 7 and 8, I was pretty much out of the loop,” Martin told The New York Times.

He also hinted in a blog post at the time that his writing was “taking me further and further away from the television series” and that characters’ endings will not match those of the show. The final books in the series (“The Winds of Winter” and “A Dream of Spring”) will offer a “very different” ending for the “Thrones” franchise compared to the series.

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