It's a classic case of creating a TV series and not knowing... the ending.
When 'Game of Thrones' began in April of 2011, the author of the series of books on which it is based, George R. R. Martin, was on the cusp of releasing the fifth entry of his fantasy novels. And now that the HBO creation is well and truly buried under a rubble of unfavoured fan appreciation, Martin has not yet published how the entire franchise ends.
According to reports, Martin urged 'Game of Thrones' producers at HBO to make the live-action series 10 seasons long. In fact, he "begged" them to do so. Martin, who was an executive producer on the series himself, as well as a scriptwriter of four episodes, would fly to New York to tell HBO executive Richard Plepler that there were enough storylines to so.
According to Martin's agent Paul Haas, who told journalist James Andrew Miller for the new book called 'Tinderbox': "George would fly to New York to have lunch with Plepler, to beg him to do ten seasons of ten episodes because there was enough material for it and to tell him it would be a more satisfying and more entertaining experience."
Martin was also concerned with the direction the series was beginning to turn from season five onwards. The book continues that HBO wanted to follow Martin's wishes for a 10-season storyline, but showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff wanted to cut it short.
It continues: "George loves Dan and Dave, but after season five, he did start to worry about the path they were going because George knows where the story goes. He started saying, 'You’re not following my template'."
However, it was the showrunners who stopped the series at eight, having devoted a decade of their time to the fantasy epic: "Dan and Dave were tired, rightfully so. They were done and wanted to move on, so they cut it short and then negotiations became, how many seasons can we stretch this out? Because of course, HBO wanted more."
According to Casey Bloys, president of programming at HBO, those extra two seasons would have been used to flesh out Daenerys Targaryen's story arc in a much more succinct manner. The book further states that negotiations with Weiss and Benioff landed on season eight as the final run of episodes.
Unfortunately, this resulted in the disappointing and disjointed final episodes most fans would rather forget. Essentially, they were too rushed to truly deem an enjoyable end to what was - arguably - one of the finest fantasy TV series ever. Should George R. R. Martin have gotten his way, the HBO series could have fared much better. In fact, we could be eagerly awaiting the final season arriving in the coming year.
There are still two 'A Song of Ice and Fire' books waiting to be released from the author. 'The Winds of Winter' is believed to arrive in 2022 (we want this in writing), while the final entry 'A Dream of Spring' will be the series climax.
And so, 'Game of Thrones' didn't get its 10-season arc, but that didn't stop HBO from creating a number of spin-off series. The first of which, 'House of the Dragon', will be released in the first half of 2022 on Sky Atlantic and NOW. It will serve as a prequel, following the Targaryen dynasty.