George R.R. Martin isn’t the type to idly sip wine in the Red Keep while the smallfolk of Flea Bottom fight for their rights.
Over the weekend, the A Song of Ice and Fire author — whose novels inspired the smash hit HBO drama Game of Thrones — gave an update on his blog about some of his projects amid the Writer’s Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists strikes.
In his post, Martin said he’s been on “several” picket lines in Santa Fe since the writers strike began in May, and said he was surprised to learn that the HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel series, House of the Dragon (which is based on Martin’s book of the same name), is currently filming despite the strikes.
“Honestly, I was shocked to hear that,” Martin said in his post, while also confirming that the “second season is half done.”
“ALL of the scripts had been finished months before the WGA strike began. No writing has been done since, to the best of my knowledge,” he wrote.
It was reported earlier this month that House of the Dragon is one of the few shows that didn’t halt production during the simultaneous strikes because most of its cast is primarily based in the UK, where actors’ contracts are governed by a local union, Equity.
As such, Equity members aren’t legally allowed to strike in solidarity with SAG-AFTRA, their union’s US counterpart, Variety reported.
Martin touches on the issue in his blog.
“The actors are members of the British union, Equity, not SAG-AFTRA, and though Equity strongly supports their American cousins (they have a big rally planned to show that support), British law forbids them from staging a sympathy strike,” Martin wrote. “If they walk, they have no protection against being fired for breach of contract, or even sued.”
“One of the two major UK political parties, Labour, has its roots in the trade union movement,” he continued. “How in the world could they have allowed such anti-labor regulations to be enacted? Seems to me that Labour Party really needs to do a better job of protecting the right to strike.”
Martin also announced that his “overall deal with HBO was suspended on June 1.”
The deal was supposed to last until 2026, Collider noted. Martin didn’t offer further explanation on the deal’s suspension, but it did occur a month after the WGA strike began in May.
Martin did blast Hollywood CEOs throughout his post, noting the unnamed producer who was was quoted by Deadline last week saying their endgame was to “allow things to drag on until union members start losing their apartments and losing their houses.”
Martin said in his post that the quote “gives you a hint of what we’re facing.”
Marin stressed in his post that he has plenty of projects to work on, however. He is working on a play called “The Iron Throne” and noted that “SAG-AFTRA covers television and film, but not the stage, so the strike has no impact there.” Martin also said he’s been tinkering away on “Winds of Winter” — his sixth novel in the Song of Ice and Fire series that fans have been waiting on for 12 years.
Martin noted in his post that due to his success, he’s “one of the lucky ones” in Hollywood.
“These strikes are not really about name writers or producers or showrunners, most of whom are fine,” Martin wrote. “We’re striking for the entry level writers, the story editors, the students hoping to break in, the actor who has four lines, the guy working his first staff job who dreams of creating his own show one day, as I did back in the 80s.”