For the first several seasons of Game of Thrones, everything between George R.R. Martin showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff seemed to be peachy. Martin consulted on the series, was involved in the casting, and he even wrote a few of the key episodes. Game of Thrones was an HBO juggernaut, and everyone was getting rich off a series that both critics and audiences adored. It was a fantasy paradise.
In fact, before last season when Benioff and Weiss came under fire for casting Pedro Pascal as the Red Viper, Martin even defended the showrunners against whitewashing accusations, though he did note that when and if the show “introduces the Sand Snakes, I expect we will see the same diversity as in the books, ranging from Tyene (blond and blue-eyed) to Sarella (light brown skin, as her mother was a Summer Islander).”
Of course, when it came to casting those two characters, Benioff and Weiss opted against a blond and blue-eyed Tyene and didn’t bother to cast a Sarella Sand at all.
Indeed, as the series began to catch up with George R.R. Martin’s progress on the novels (he’s completed five of seven installments in the A Song of Ice and Fire series), you could begin to see fractures forming in his relationship with the showrunners. He hasn’t outright dissed Benioff and Weiss, but you certainly get the feeling that he has disagreed with many of their choices.
Recall, in fact, the sex scene last season between Jamie and Cersei next to the corpse of their dead son, Joffrey, which many criticized as rape-y. Martin was diplomatic, but it was clear that he didn’t agree with the choice as he struggled to explain the decision, noting “that’s just my surmise; we never discussed this scene, to the best of my recollection.” Martin clearly wanted to establish that it wasn’t his decision and separate himself from it.