HBO’s Game of Thrones has been getting a lot of press online lately, for good or bad (or just bad bad). Executive producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss aren’t really hearing it though. They’ve got more important things to do, like run a hit show with ever-growing ratings.
Entertainment Weekly just posted some interesting quotes from the showrunners which, while slightly dated, probably hold true today:
We spoke to Benioff and Weiss about online fandom during our set visit last year (the interview took place in September, but this is the first time we’ve published these comments). “We both made this pact that we were going to stop looking at stuff online because you can go into the rabbit hole and get lost in this world of onlineThrones commentary if you’re not careful,” Benioff said. “We both felt a lot saner after we stopped doing that. There’s many more important things to be reading about online than our own show.”
The producers noted they saw some of the online reaction to the Red Wedding, which they felt like a “fair exception” to the rule. But otherwise, they try their best to stay away from the Internet chatter. The producers added that this troll-abstinence strategy wasn’t in reaction to any one incident or headline.
“You look at a message board and there might be nine positive comments, but the tenth one is negative — and that’s the one you’ll remember, that’s what sticks in your head,” Benioff said. “And you want to have an argument with the person: ‘Well, here’s why this happened [in the show],’ and you can’t. You start having an argument in your mind and you realize you’re losing your mind. You’re having an internal argument with somebody named DragonQueen42 — you’re never going to win that argument.”
It’s something our Alanna Bennett has written about in the past. Creators with their eyes and ears too close to the internet may drive themselves mad by focusing on the negative criticisms. Weiss said it “completely confounds the normal creative process.” And it’s not just creators but actors as well. Unfortunately, while there is a lot of great dialogue going on online, some people cross the line from criticism to personal attacks and that’s what these creative folks are hoping to avoid. We know far too well how nasty it can get on the internet.
But regardless of criticisms (or perhaps because of it?), Game of Thrones is continuing to surge in ratings (despite piracy).
“Sunday’s episode, ‘First of His Name,’ delivered 7.2 million viewers for its first airing at 9 p.m., then totaled 8.6 million including encores for the night,” writes Entertainment Weekly. “This marks the fourth consecutive episode to climb in the ratings and the third series-high record in a row.”
All that being said, we do hope Benioff, Weiss, and the rest of the creative teams are at least having their own dialogue on recent events and fan reaction to them and perhaps putting more consideration of that into their future work on the show.
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