Why George R.R. Martin Is ‘Apprehensive’ Yet 'Excited' About Game of Thrones Spin-off

By Klein Felt Updated:
Game of Thrones George R R Martin House of Dragon

After many were introduced to the world of Westeros with HBO's Game of Thrones, the fantasy mega-franchise is set to debut its first TV spin-off later this summer with House of the Dragon. The project will see the author of the books the TV franchise is based on, George R.R. Martin, take a step back from the writer's table and serve in a more advisory role. 

House of the Dragon debuts on August 21, 2022, showcasing the Targaryen civil war that took place nearly 300 years before the events of the Game of Thrones TV show. The project is just the first of many spin-offs based on the IP and is being manned by Thrones veteran Miguel Sapochnik

As George R.R. Martin works tirelessly on the latest book in the Song of Ice and Fire franchise, he will be overlooking House of the Dragon from afar, something that, if new quotes are to be believed, the author is both nervous and excited about. 

Game of Thrones Without George R.R. Martin

Game of Thrones, House of Dragon
House of the Dragon

In a new featurette for HBO's House of the Dragon, acclaimed author George R.R. Martin commented on how he feels about having less involvement in the Game of Thrones prequel series. 

Martin admitted that he's "excited" but "a little apprehensive," comparing the experience to "[turning] your baby over to foster parents:"

“I’m excited. It’s always a little apprehensive when you turn your baby over to foster parents, but I’m involved in this. It’s great to have Ryan, who’s a great writer, and someone who really knew my world. He’s gonna do his best to remain faithful to it. I knew Miguel Sapochnik was an amazing director. He’d won an Emmy, he’d done some of our best episodes. There’s always a little suspense to: How good is it gonna be? But I think I’m in good hands with Ryan and Miguel (chuckles).”

Showrunner Miguel Sapochnik also chimed in, saying he "[feels] incredibly loyal and responsible to the original show," and despite feeling like he "[achieved his] dream job," he realizes the "responsibility that’s on [his] shoulders:"

“I feel incredibly loyal and responsible to the original show. I have a great kind of desire to even be in the same room as that show because it was a game changer. George and his writing was a huge influence on me. It’s an incredible feeling to achieve my dream job. You get that great call, which is the thing that every writer is hoping for, telling you, ‘We’re gonna go make this thing.’ And you’re happy for a few seconds... and then you realize the responsibility that’s on your shoulders.”

Sapochnik also added that while working on Game of Thrones, he "[realized] what worked" and "what didn’t" and can hopefully "evolve" that with House of the Dragon.

See the full video below:


Passing the Torch for House of the Dragon

It is never an easy task for visionaries to give up control of their creative babies, just as George Lucas did with Star Wars. But George R.R. Martin seems to be doing it gracefully, at least in the small capacity that he is giving up control.

Yes, Martin is still overseeing House of the Dragon from a bird's-eye-view, but he is not there every day making the creative choices any longer like he was early on with Game of Thrones. And the acclaimed author has every right to be nervous - it is a big step to loosen those creative reins just a bit. 

But as J.J. Abrams was with Star Wars (to varying degrees of success), Miguel Sapochnik has been brought in to helm this next narrative step for the Game of Thrones franchise. And it seems that Martin has complete confidence in what Sapochnik and the team are doing with the upcoming prequel. 

House of the Dragon debuts on HBO on August 21, 2022.

- About The Author: Klein Felt
Klein Felt is a Senior Editor at The Direct. Joining the website back in 2020, he helped jumpstart video game content on The Direct. Klein plays a vital role as a part of the site's content team, demonstrating expertise in all things PlayStation, Marvel, and the greater entertainment industry.