Epic fantasy fans are currently living their best life, given the wealth of TV adaptations for said epic fantasy works. That includes Neil Gaiman’s dazzling The Sandman series on Netflix. He did not write Lord of the Rings, although some trolls did come for him over Amazon’s “woke” adaptation, but Neil is a fan, and he also digs deep when it comes to the Game of Thrones universe. That includes scrutiny of bodily functions.
Of course, House of the Dragon recently rolled out the first season finale, and the timing was right for George R.R. Martin to promote The Rise of the Dragon: An Illustrated History of the Targaryen Dynasty, Volume One while enjoying a conversation with Gaiman in New York City. Well, the American Gods author had a hard-hitting question about the source of Tyrion Lannister’s daddy issues. Via Variety, this went down with a question about which digestion-related affliction applied to Tywin Lannister:
Gaiman: “Did Tywin have chronic diarrhea or chronic constipation?”
Martin: “I think he was possibly a little constipated.”
Neil Gaiman: “Did Tywin [Lannister] have chronic diarrhea or chronic constipation?”
— Variety (@Variety) October 28, 2022
This speaks for itself, does it not? Variety also details their wide-ranging discussion that included the dynamic duo dissecting the horrors that can happen with adaptations. Martin elaborated with his observations about which “legitimate” changes should happen while adapting for a new medium and which ones can stuff it:
He recalled adapting Roger Zelazny’s “The Last Defender of Camelot” for an episode of “The Twilight Zone” and, due to budget constraints, being forced to choose between having horses or an elaborate Stonehenge-esque set for a battle scene. (He didn’t want to make the decision, so he called up Zelazny, who chose to scrap the horses.) “That, to my mind, is the kind of stuff you are called upon to do in Hollywood that is legitimate.” An example of an “illegitimate” change, Martin said, was CBS making him include an “ordinary person” who just “tags along” in the episode in order to appeal to a “high concept.”
“I was new to Hollywood,” Martin said. “I didn’t say, ‘You’re f*cking morons.’”
There’s nothing else like observing an author who, on one hand, infuses intricate webs of characters with a dizzying array of names that seem geared to f*ck with us, and on the other, drops f-bombs and doesn’t mind discussing constipation. Thank god that this discussion didn’t involve King Viserys I. He had suffered enough already.