David Benioff and D.B. Weiss gave a general panel on Game of Thrones this weekend, and the revelations had many fans upset. The showrunners revealed, among other things, how they cast Jason Momoa as Khal Drogo — by checking fan forums online. This news, along with some other bombshells, had the internet furious at the duo all over again.
Benioff and Weiss have avoided the spotlight since Game of Thrones Season 8 ended, for the most part. This weekend, they stepped out of their refuge briefly to speak at the Austin Film Festival, but they may soon regret it. While footage of their talk has not been published yet, Twitter user Needle & Pen paraphrased the whole thing, and the talking points have gone viral.
One of the biggest revelations in the thread was how Jason Momoa got cast as Khal Drogo in Season 1. According to Needle & Pen, Benioff said that they simply went onto fan casting websites and found fans suggesting Momoa. They followed through with the daydream, making it a reality.
David is also saying that he went to fan casting pages and that is how they found Jason Mamoa.— Needle & Pen (@ForArya) October 26, 2019
This was one of the most light-hearted tidbits from the talk, yet it still caused some grumbling. A few optimistic fans found this news amusing, especially those who tend to make posts on forums and fan-casting suggestions. Others, however, took this as more evidence of Benioff and Weiss' entitlement, and lack of craft.
Writer and critic Cheryl Lynn Eaton suggested that "somebody send them an invoice," adding more seriously that "they relied on the uncompensated labor" of fans "to do their job... And THAT? is wholly unfair and parasitic."
This was a common thread in reactions to Benioff and Weiss' talk in general. When asked why they never hired a full writing staff, they reportedly said: "Because we didn't know any better." However, they added that HBO wanted them to hire more writers, but they only ever let author George R. R. Martin and their own writing assistant Bryan Cogman do so.
It is so frustrating to be seen as resource material and a free marketing service but not a flesh-and-blood equal who would be a worthy employee. These men are not giving the same shots they received to anyone but their mini-mes.— Cheryl Lynn Eaton (@cheryllynneaton) October 27, 2019
Many argued that the duo was being disingenuous by suggesting that they were too ignorant to hire a staff and that instead, they were hoarding accolades for themselves. Some argued that more voices in the writing room would have not only helped save the end of the show, but built up dozens of more careers in the TV industry.
Benioff and Weiss did stress their inexperience in the TV industry throughout the panel, in an apparent attempt at self-effacement. However, this left people all the more angry, as if the two were trying to get out of taking responsibility for their work. Meanwhile, they also reportedly emphasized how much of their time, energy and lives they "gave up" to this production, for which they got little sympathy.0comments
Meanwhile, Game of Thrones is still streaming on HBO Go and HBO Now.