Everyone has strong opinions on the Game of Thrones TV show, and that includes George R.R. Martin, author of the literary doorstops that fueled the HBO juggernaut. Martin has been so infamously slow to complete the sixth installment in his A Song of Ice and Fire cycle that the showrunners just had to make up an ending themselves. But his beef isn’t with the show’s highly contested final stretch. In fact, it’s incredibly small and one could argue kind of nit-picky.
For his forthcoming new Thrones book Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon, due on Oct. 6, Entertainment Weekly critic James Hibberd spoke with Martin about his thoughts on the show. Many of them are positive; he digs how they depicted Ned Stark’s death, and ditto the “Red Wedding.” But he does take umbrage with one scene from the first season. His complaint is partly budgetary: Though Game of Thrones had one of the largest budgets for TV at the time — a whopping $6 million per episode — they evidently had to cut a few corners when fleshing out one part of the first book.
″Where we really fell down in terms of budget was my least favorite scene in the entire show, in all eight seasons: King Robert [Mark Addy] goes hunting,″ Martin told Hibbert, referring to a scene from the Season 1, Episode 7 episode “You Win or Your Die.” Martin elaborated:
″Four guys walking on foot through the woods carrying spears and Robert is giving Renly s—. In the books, Robert goes off hunting, we get word he was gored by a boar, and they bring him back and he dies. So I never did [a hunting scene]. But I knew what a royal hunting party was like. There would have been a hundred guys. There would have been pavilions. There would have been huntsmen. There would have been dogs. There would have been horns blowing — that’s how a king goes hunting! He wouldn’t have just been walking through the woods with three of his friends holding spears hoping to meet a boar. But at that point, we couldn’t afford horses or dogs or pavilions.”
Of course, your pick for worst Game of Thrones scene is almost certainly different. Or who knows? Maybe you too are well-acquainted with medieval hunts and your nostrils were flaring seeing something so minimalist and inaccurate. It’s also worth underlining that this was still the first season, and that after GoT became a sensation beyond HBO’s wildest dreams, the network would give them even more money to better emulate Martin’s pricy vision.
Meanwhile, you can see the scene that so roiled Martin below: