Echoing the thoughts of fans, George RR Martin has spoken of his regret that HBO's Game of Thrones is only ten episodes long, instead of the 13 he thinks the adaptation of his fantasy novels requires.
Martin, author of The Song of Ice and Fire series the hit show is based on, says more episodes would be better serve his books, which are long, dense and populated by hundreds of characters.
“I wish we had more episodes,” he said. “I’d love to have 13 episodes. With 13 episodes, we could include smaller scenes that we had to cut, scenes that make the story deeper and richer.”
Martin cites one such scene that was cut from an episode in series one, in which the Starks are travelling to King's Landing, the capital of the Seven Kingdoms, with the royal family. It would have seen siblings Sansa and Arya Stark being invited to tea and lemon cakes with Queen Cersei, but Arya wanting to go hunt for rubies with a butcher’s boy instead.
Martin told The New York Times that he missed the scene as it added texture and helped establish the relationship between the sisters. Though it didn't make the show, the scene was used as part of the successful auditions (video below) for Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa, and Maisie Williams, who is Arya.
Despite such hope for more episodes than the current format of ten, though, the author, who originally worked on 1985's The Twilight Zone TV series, did admit that he was aware of television budget constraints, saying, "battles are expensive."
Featuring huge war scenes, regular special effects and being shot in locations such as Iceland, Northern Ireland, Malta, Croatia and Morocco, one season of Game Of Thrones is reported to cost between $60 million and $70 million.
The expense does mean that it goes against the US trend for long, twenty-four episode seasons, which can often lead to them feeling bloated. It's uncertain, of course, whether the same would happen for Game of Thrones, which has gained praise for being so sharp and urgent but criticism for not being able to give adequate time to its big cast of characters.
The tenth and final episode of series four, meanwhile, is set to air on Sky Atlantic this Monday.