party chat

George R.R. Martin and Carlton Cuse Kiss and Make Up

Photo: Stephen Lovekin/2011 Getty Images
Photo: Stephen Lovekin/2011 Getty Images

Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin is on the record as being disappointed in the ending of Lost, much to Damon Lindelof’s consternation. But last night at the Time 100 Gala, hatchets (or Direwolves, if you rather) were buried, when Martin and Lindelof’s Lost partner Carlton Cuse had an air-clearing discussion. Cuse tweeted, “Just had a very nice chat with George RR Martin. Worked a few things out. George convinced me he thought Lost was one of the best shows of all time. (But it’s true he didn’t like the finale.)” We caught up with Martin at the Gala to get his side of the story, to find out what he thinks of Camelot and The Borgias, and just in time to hear what Amy Poehler makes of Game of Thrones.

Are you feeling competitive with Camelot and The Borgias and the other cable shows that are similar to Game of Thrones?
Sure, but I want them to succeed. I want to see more fantasy, more science fiction, more historical dramas on TV. When I was a kid, which was a long time ago in the fifties, there were all sorts of different shows on television. There were shows about the Civil War; there were shows about the Revolutionary War — Disney’s Swamp Fox and all that. There were shows about Robin Hood and King Arthur. And, you know, as a kid, a lot of it was like education. Maybe it’s not accurate, but you learned the basics about who King Arthur was and who Robin Hood was, and you got interested and you’d buy some books. And now we’re just looking at our own reflections in the mirror. We’re just looking at the housewives of New Jersey, and all of this nonsense, the typical suburban family in a sitcom. I want to see shows about all of human history and all different cultures. That educates us. It opens us up, and it’s also more interesting. What can you do in a cop show that hasn’t been done a million times before by Steven Bochco, Dick Wolf, or a whole lot of people who’ve worked in that genre? But historical drama opens up great possibilities.

What happened with you saying you didn’t like the ending of Lost?
I talked to Damon Lindelof’s partner, Carlton, tonight. He’s very tall with gray hair.

What did you talk about?
The ending of Lost and what I said. We didn’t punch each other or anything. We were nice. I mean, obviously, he disagrees. But we loved Lost. We wouldn’t miss it. Every week. We were trying to figure out, how could it end. What’s the mystery? What’s the solution? It’s intriguing. And then when we got the solution, we were disappointed.

Did Carlton pull you over to his point of view?
No, we didn’t get into that much detail. You know, ending something is difficult. Ending a television show is harder than ending a book because you don’t know how many episodes you’re going to have. You know, it’s not like we’re going to do this show and it’s going to be fifteen episodes and then it’s over. Then you could construct the arc. But instead they’re like, “Well, we’re going to put you on and maybe you’ll have six episodes and then we’ll cancel you, but maybe you’ll be on for 12 years. So construct a story arc that works for that.” So I think a lot of shows don’t have satisfactory endings.

How do you feel about everyone wanting to know the end of your series?
Well, I’m doing two more books, so I have a long time to worry about my ending. I have one in mind.

Does the pressure to get the next one out make it hard to write?
I don’t think so. Not particularly. It’s hard to write anyways.

[Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers come over to tell Martin and his wife what huge fans they are of the show.]
Poehler: I like the blondie!
Martin: She’s straight out of drama school.
Poehler: You can tell. I think she left all her shirts and bras at drama school.

Related Links:
Why HBO Renewed Game of Thrones Despite Its Mildly Disappointing Opening-Night Ratings
Is Game of Thrones for Newbies or Superfans? A Post-Show Debate
Game of Thrones for Experts: Can TV Possibly Mimic the Books’ Unique Structure?
Game of Thrones for Newbies: We Put a Complicated Show in Familiar Terms

George R.R. Martin and Carlton Cuse Kiss and Make Up