Details From The Unaired Game Of Thrones Pilot Revealed In New Book

The original pilot for HBO’s Game of Thrones is something of an urban legend. Throughout the years, the cast has talked about the big, and small, differences between what was initially shot and what fans ultimately watched when the show finally premiered. The tales and tribulations of getting the acclaimed fantasy series to television will be told in the upcoming book Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon, by James Hibberd.

Hibberd posted a preview with an excerpt about the making of the pilot on EW’s website, with quotes from the cast detailing the chaotic atmosphere, including the showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss admitting they really had no idea what they were doing.

Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon

“At first it seemed to us like it was going well,” Benioff said. “But that was because we didn’t know any better.”

“As we went on, the cracks turned into bigger cracks, which turned into fissures,” Weiss added. “You started to feel the wheels coming off by the time we got to Morocco.”

Author George R. R. Martin also shared some stories of what should have been simple scenes. “There are a couple of stories,” Martin said. “As a wedding gift, Khal Drogo gives Daenerys a silver horse and she rides away. For a moment you think she’s fleeing. Then she turns the horse around and leaps the horse over a big campfire. Drogo is very impressed, and it starts the relationship on a good note.

“We tried to film this scene. We got a top stunt rider and a top horse, a silver filly, but the filly would not jump that campfire. She got close and then was like, ‘There’s fire there!’ and would turn the other way. We tried to film it a half dozen ways.” Martin went on to explain that horse still wouldn’t jump the dead fire, as they were going to replace it with CGI.

“It’s a smart horse. It knows it’s not burning now, but it was burning a little while ago! So they had to scrap that sequence, which was unfortunate, as it was a bonding moment between Dany and Khal Drogo.”

After screening the pilot to friends, family, and peers, Benioff and Weiss were given not so great reactions. Veteran television producer Craig Mazin told them the show had a problem. Former co-president and CEO of HBO Richard Pleper went on to explain there were casting and narrative issues that made the pilot fall flat.

As we know now, HBO ordered 10 episodes of Game of Thrones, including a reshot pilot. Obviously changes weren’t only made to the scope-lacking script, but among the cast and crew as well. First-time TV director Tom McCarthy was replaced on Episode 1 by a top HBO veteran, Tim Van Patten, who had directed many acclaimed episodes of HBO dramas such as The Sopranos, Sex In The City, and Boardwalk Empire.

Fire Cannot Kill A Dragon will be hitting shelves October 6.

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