Reading the Wikipedia entry for one of the showrunners of Game of Thrones, namely D. B. Weiss, one gets the impression of a struggling writer whose projects got turned down one after another. From the Wikipedia article (emphasis added):

Weiss and Benioff co-wrote a screenplay for a film titled The Headmaster, but it was never made. In 2003, they were hired to collaborate on a new script of Orson Scott Card's book Ender's Game, in consultation with the then-designated director Wolfgang Petersen. It was not used.

Weiss's 2003 debut novel, Lucky Wander Boy, is themed around video games. In 2006, Weiss said he had a second novel finished that "needs a second draft". That same year, Weiss completed a screenplay for a film adaptation of the video game series Halo, based on a script written by Alex Garland. However, director Neill Blomkamp declared the project dead in late 2007.

Weiss also worked on a script for a prequel to I Am Legend. However, in May 2011, director Francis Lawrence stated that he did not think the prequel was ever going to happen

Then, all of a sudden, he gets hired as one of the showrunners for big-budgeted Game of Thrones.

How did this happen? Is there any known explanation for this? How did a person with so few successes in film and television get such a massive job?

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    Weiss shared Benioff's enthusiasm for the books. Martin agreed to let them adapt his books in to a show based on their answer to his question "Who do you think Jon Snow's real mother is?" cbsnews.com/news/…
    – Raj
    May 8, 2019 at 13:47
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    Note that while having a script be produced into a movie that earns a lot of money is the ultimate success for a writer, having scripts bought or optioned and never produced is still considered successful writing, partly because one can live on it. May 8, 2019 at 13:49
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    Voted to reopen. Even if the OP's intent was just to vent their frustration about a bad showrunner, in so doing they've posed a perfectly on-topic question. May 8, 2019 at 13:53
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    If anything, the question is pitching a narrative of Weiss not accomplishing anything, getting hired for GoT and, and that part is easy to fill in even if not explicitly spoken out, running it into the ground. Yes, you might construe an on-topic question out of this, but this is extremely dangerous territory here and the ultimate culmination of "bad writing" complaints disguised as questions. I'd rather we don't venture where these dragons are unless the question gets significantly reworked and the phrasing toned down much more.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    May 8, 2019 at 14:47
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    At the end of the day, inexperienced people get given a chance in new projects all the livelong day. Of course now we know GoT is a big thing and has apparently been destroyed by the evil bad writers. But that's incidental to Weiss getting hired as a showrunner on a new project. The question is ultimately an attempt to slander his professional reputation and theoretical debates on its on-topicness simply can't hide this. If you really want to hide it and turn this into an objective discussion of his career, you gotta work on the question a little further, I'm afraid.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    May 8, 2019 at 14:50

1 Answer 1


G.R.R.M. was looking for a Hollywood adaptation and they fit the bill. From an interview in 2013,

GEORGE R.R. MARTIN: Well, I had written three books, at that point, and each one of them was better than the other. At a certain point, as the books were doing well, I started getting interest from Hollywood, from various producers and studios who were initially interested in doing a feature film. I met with some of those people and I had phone conversations with some of those people, but I didn’t see it being done as a feature film. But, it did get me thinking about how it could possibly be done, and I decided the only way it could be done was with someone like HBO, as a television series, with each book being a season. I didn’t have time to do it, but I did tell the idea to my agent. I was out in Hollywood on something, and he told me he had set up a meeting with Benioff and Weiss, so I met them at the Palm restaurant. I knew a little about their credits beforehand. They’re both novelists who have written their own books. So, we had this lunch at the Palm that was pretty epic. We got there for lunch and started talking, and we continued to talk. They had the some notion not to do it as a feature film, but to do it as a television production. We talked right through lunch. Everybody from lunch left. We were alone in the restaurant. They started resetting all the tables for dinner, and then the dinner crowd started to come in, and we were still talking. I did ask them a few pointed question to determine whether they had actually read the books, and they gave me the right answers. So, we shook hands and they took the ball and ran with it. The next thing I knew, we were in business with HBO.

So, they were the perfect fit and he just "rolled with it".

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    Additional reasons likely include that Benioff was previously quite successful and wanted to work with Weiss, and also that the pilot for GoT that they wrote was accepted by all parties before the series was launched. Investors didn't take chances, they kept track of how things were going the whole way. A follow up question might be why Benioff wanted to team up with someone far less successful than he, although after getting paid $2.5 million for his script for Troy, he could probably afford to do whatever he wanted. May 8, 2019 at 18:28

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