UPDATE: Robert Kirkman clarified, and joked about, his GRRM quote in a series of tweets:


Original post:

There's a funky kind of nerd rivalry happening with "Game of Thrones" and "The Walking Dead." They are both insanely popular, with crossover fan bases, and both based on ongoing print series that are now slightly-to-very different from the TV versions. TWD creator Robert Kirkman just did an interview with Rolling Stone, and he dragged GoT author George R.R. Martin into the story to shame! shame! shame! him for spoiling his own work.

Kirkman, "Walking Dead" comic book writer and TV series executive producer, is now working many, many issues ahead of the storyline of the AMC show, which premieres Season 7 in October. On the other side of the coin, GRRM has yet to finish the behemoth tome that will be the sixth of seven books in his "A Song of Ice and Fire" series. The first book, "Game of Thrones," became the title of the HBO show that is currently covering new ground in Season 6.

GoT viewers are now getting a mix of material from previously published books; new material that's exclusive to the show; and some stuff that will be in the next books, so it's being "spoiled" by HBO. Kirkman shamed GRRM in Rolling Stone for telling GoT showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss the major bullet points and end game for the rest of his series. That's not something RK would ever do for showrunner Scott M. Gimple on "The Walking Dead."

Here's that portion of the Rolling Stone Q&A:

Do you have an end game for Dead in mind?
For the books? I do. I know how the story wraps up. The big question is when and how far in the distance that is. But I think that most people think, oh, why would he end it? It's so successful, he's going to keep throwing shit at the wall to keep it going. And that's not going to happen. You'll eventually be able to see that it all kind of comes together.

There's still plenty of story for the TV series to get to; you could tell the writers where you're going, and ...
I would never do that. That's the one thing I'm disappointed in George R.R. Martin for doing. He should have just been like, F-ck you. You make it up now, I'll get to mine when I'm ready.


Eh. Would you have done that, if you were GRRM? It's a tricky spot to be in. This is his story, so you can understand if he wants the showrunners to hit the big picture notes, even if it will never be *the* definitive adaptation of "A Song of Ice and Fire" since they already skipped so much and changed so many details. But the overall storyline?

Maybe it's good that he told D&D so they stay true to GRRM's characters. Maybe the show should've waited a few years to premiere, so there was a better chance of aligning with the books. Or maybe they should've added more seasons to the show, with two covering each book so they cover more ground and give more time to finish the story. Maybe, maybe, maybe. But plenty of GoT viewers don't even read the books, and may not even pick them up until the series is finished, if at all.

It sucks that book readers are going to be confused by book-to-TV-to-book changes when "The Winds of Winter" finally arrives, but it's not like Robert Kirkman's comic book is being slavishly adapted for TV either. Not at all. And both writers are credited as executive producers on their respective shows -- which have helped to make them super rich -- so they do have responsibilities to their showrunners, as opposed to acting like they are competing with them.

By the way, slightly off topic but also from the Rolling Stone interview, here's RK defending the controversial Season 6 finale cliffhanger:

Did it surprise you when people were up in arms over the recent season finale?
We knew that people might be upset, but come on! Everybody wants to see what happened. That's what a cliffhanger is. I'll probably get crucified for this, but I feel like there's a culture of instant gratification now: Netflix, social media, everything is on demand at all times. Nothing is withheld. You can't do 52 episodes a year. It's just not feasibly possible. If you can do something that has people talking about your show in that gap between seasons, that's great. We just ask that if you've enjoyed the show so far, just know, Season Seven is going to be pretty great.


It remains to be seen whether showrunner Gimple stuck with Kirkman's comic book storyline on that cliffhanger reveal or not.

Anyway, where do you stand on all of this? Would you, as Kirkman or GRRM, share your end game plan with the showrunners or tell them to make it up so you can keep your secrets for the page?

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