Making Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones

I have the Game of Thrones theme song stuck in my head. It might just stay lodged there for an entire year, until Season 3 starts. It will definitely keep playing until I hold a finished copy of Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones in my hands, the book that the Chronicle team has been developing in complete secrecy for the past year. Since the book contains Season 2 images, we’ve had to keep it under wraps. But now that Season 2 has aired? Now we can tell the whole world about it! This October, the GOT fan will get a great big fix before Season 3 starts (and definitely before book 6!).

The book is written by Bryan Cogman, a GOT show writer, story editor, and member of the great GOT family. I visited Bryan in Belfast during the filming of S2. He kindly took me around a rain-drenched set and introduced to me to all the cast and crew we happened upon (you know, Tyrion, Cersei, Sansa—really just an average day for me). I’ve been on sets a few times in Hollywood, and this one felt really different. The actors came off the set and hung around, shooting the breeze with the crew, laughing. The whole team was hunkered down in rainy Belfast, patiently writing, storyboarding, costuming, acting, filming this epic show, scene by scene. They had no idea how good it was going to be when it all came together, but all of them had a secret little gleam in their eye. Somewhere along the way they had molded into a happy family of hardworking, low-key, talented folks… who are making the most successful show on cable.

The cast and crew I met on set immediately lit up when I explained our book. Each episode contains multiple sets, costumes, props, weapons, planning, and kismet. Our mission was to capture all this otherwise unseen creativity—and the tight-knit energy that was so apparent on set—to share with fans of the show. Having moved to Belfast for the shoot, Bryan was in a perfect position to shake the GOT tree for all the good stories and put them onto the page. I spent hours poring over thousands of photos taken during the filming and after the cameras had stopped. Our driven, imaginative designers Paul Kepple and Ralph Geroni wove the stories and images together with hand-drawn borders, ornate lettering, and textured pages that perfectly house all the material.

Then came a day in late January. I was flicking through my email and found an email from “George.” Yes, that would be George R. R. Martin. He was emailing me his introduction to the book. I squealed.

I read the intro, and I squealed again because it was perfect. GRRM writes about how frustrated he was as a TV writer long ago—the epic battle he planned would be reduced to a cost-saving sword fight. He decided to write a book in which he had the freedom to create the wide-sweeping fantasy world he craved, one that had castles and continents with hundreds of people sitting down to lavish dinner tables, huge battles with LOTS of swords, and costumes that dripped with jewels. In short, he created a completely unfilm-able book.

To find out how the brave/crazy show creators, D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, translated the epic world of Westeros and Essos into an epic television series, get your hands on a copy of Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones this October. And for those new GOT fans who can’t quite track all the plots, subplots, characters, relationships, sigils, motives, histories… consider this book to be your GOT user’s guide.

Sarah Malarkey
Executive Editorial Director

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