As the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) strike enters its second week, more and more TV shows and films are seeing their production delayed. One of those is the Game of Thrones spinoff A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight, whose writers room will be closed for the duration of the strike. This Hedge Knight update comes from the father of Westeros George R.R. Martin in a blog post explaining why he supports the strike.
This delay in an already lengthy production process (the first season of House of the Dragon took about 10 months just to film) may feel like bad news to fans of this world, but Martin makes it clear that the writers shouldn’t be to blame for this potentially longer wait, saying “No one wanted this — no writer with an ounce of sense, anyway — but the producers and the studios and the networks and the streamers gave us no choice. The Guild negotiated right up to the final deadline on May 1, but it takes two to tango.”
It’s not the fault of the WGA that these billion dollar studios aren’t willing to meet the guild’s reasonable terms for fair treatment and compensation. Everyone deserves to make a living wage, including those who create the movies and TV shows that we all spend so much of our time watching. While Martin encourages his readers to look further into the reasons of the strike for themselves, he does talk about how changes in TV have affected how writers are paid, saying “The move from broadcast and cable to streaming has severely impacted residuals for writers (and directors and actors as well). Television seasons have been shrinking; from 22 episodes on network, to 13 on cable, to 10, and now to 8 and 6. Since writers are often paid by the episode, that’s hurt too. Writer incomes are down across the board.”
The first WGA strike that Martin was a part of in 1988 lasted 22 weeks, and the last WGA strike in 2007-08 lasted for 100 days, but there’s no telling how long this strike will last. The WGA is reportedly willing to strike for as long as it takes for an agreement to be met, no matter how much the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) tries to paint them as the villains of the story. As Martin says “Maybe the AMPTP members will come to their senses tomorrow and offer some meaningful concessions, and the whole thing can be wrapped up next week. I would not bet the ranch on that, however.”
We don’t know how long production will be delayed on Hedge Knight or any of the other series affected by the strike, but what we do know is that we stand with the WGA as Martin does. The adventures of Dunk and Egg may take longer to arrive on our screens, but at least when Hedge Knight premieres we’ll know that its writers were paid a living wage. This strike has the potential to change the industry for the better as the WGA continues to garner support from other industry unions and fans of the content they create.