Two decades ago, when the author and screenwriter George R. R. Martin began work on A Song of Ice and Fire—the best-selling fantasy series that would become the HBO hit Game of Thrones—he didn't think anyone in Hollywood would be crazy enough to adapt it. "The reaction to many of my television scripts had been, 'George, this is great, but it would take five times our budget. You have to cut it down,' says Martin, who spent the '80s writing for TV shows like Beauty and the Beast. "A Song of Ice and Fire was a reaction to that. I said, 'I'm going write something as big as my imagination, and not worry about budget.'."