What Is D&D on Game of Thrones? (Updated Answer)

When people talk about Game of Thrones, they sometimes say, “D&D.”

What is D&D on Game of Thrones?

D&D refers to the first initials of David Benioff and Dan Weiss, the two showrunners on Game of Thrones. David and Dan served as writers, directors, and Executive Producers on the hit HBO fantasy series. D&D on Game of Thrones is not related directly to Dungeons and Dragons.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about D&D on Game of Thrones.

What Is D&D on Game of Thrones? (Detailed Explanation)

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Throne of Swords—What is D&D on Game of Thrones
Image by the author via Canva—What is D&D on Game of Thrones?

The acronym D&D is shorthand for the names of David Benioff and Dan Weiss. Benioff and Weiss are the two central figures behind the mega-popular HBO franchise show, Game of Thrones (GOT).

D&D has been heavily involved in the show from its very inception.

For example, it was D&D who first approached and convinced George R.R. Martin to let them adapt his bestselling fantasy novel series to the screen.

David and Dan also championed the project to HBO to get the show funded and developed.

Not only that but they also produced the show.

Producing the show involves a lot of work, such as:

  • Writing many of the scripts
  • Hiring the cast and crew
  • Working with the visual effects team
  • Overseeing post-production
  • And much more.

In other words, D&D were the driving force behind Game of Thrones (GOT). And their initials have become synonymous with the show.

The D&D shorthand is also quicker to write out than their full names.

Did D&D Write All of Game of Thrones?

D&D did not write all of Game of Thrones. However, they did write most of the episodes in seasons 1-8. In total, there were seven writers.

The 7 writers:

  • David Benioff
  • Dan Weiss
  • George R. R. Martin
  • Vanessa Taylor
  • Jane Espenson
  • Bryan Cogman
  • Dave Hill

Typically, 5-6 writers worked on each episode over the course of the show.

George R. R. Martin wrote at least one episode in the first four seasons. Martin was not involved in seasons 5-8.

What Is D&D on Game of Thrones? (Metaphorical Villains & Show Destroyers)

If you ask some passionate fans of the show, “What is D&D on Game of Thrones?” you’ll get a very persnickety response.

The fans may toss around metaphorical labels like “villain,” “evil,” and “bane of all darkness in the universe.”

Some have even re-associated the “D&D on Game of Thrones” to mean Dumb and Dumber.

Of course, none of this is literally true.

D&D are both professional and intelligent producers, writers, and directors. Personally, I can’t say anything negative about them.

Nor would I suggest anything damaging to their characters or reputations.

The hyperbole about D&D is usually rooted in the GOT fan consensus of an unsatisfactory season 8 of the show.

I get that. It wasn’t their best work.

However, I don’t think the level of outrage and criticism against D&D is completely justified.

But everyone is free to hold and express their own opinions.

Did D&D Ruin Game of Thrones?

D&D didn’t ruin Game of Thrones (GOT).

However, I can understand how some people might feel that way, especially if they were not happy with the final seasons of the show.

Most fans think that GOT started to go downhill after season 4.

Not surprisingly, that’s when the show surpassed the plots and storylines written in the GOT books.

After season 4, D&D were flying blind in terms of the story.

An entire production crew, including other screenwriters and actors, all combined to create seasons 5-8. Although D&D led the production crew, they are not entirely responsible for ruining Game of Thrones.

Besides, Game of Thrones is much bigger than the show.

It is an incredibly popular and well-written epic sage that millions of readers enjoy in book form.

Here is a good video on the rise and fall of D&D on Game of Thrones:

YouTube video by Supercuts Delight—What Is D&D on Game of Thrones?

What Is D&D on Game of Thrones? (Dungeons and Dragons)

Many people believe that D&D is also connected to the duo’s self-reported love of playing the roleplaying game, Dungeons and Dragons.

Dungeons and Dragons, ironically, is also referred to as D&D.

According to PopSugar, in an interview with Hollywood Reporter, Dan Weiss acknowledged Dungeons and Dragons as inspiring his talent for storytelling:

It was my first experience with world-building. You’d see hundreds of ‘what if’ scenarios play out in real-time as players attempted to achieve their various goals.

Dan Weiss

This close connection with Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) most likely helped to inspire and give meaning to the abbreviation of D&D for the behind-the-scenes maestros on Game of Thrones.

Admittedly, some fans were initially confused by the references to D&D.

Once they realized that D&D, in this case, meant the two showrunners and not the roleplaying game, they figured out what other fans were saying in the forums.

Is Game of Thrones Based on D&D? (Dungeons and Dragons)

Game of Thrones is not directly based on Dungeons and Dragons (D&D). However, the producers and writers of the show are avid players of the roleplaying game. Additionally, their love for world-building likely helped to inspire their work on Game of Thrones.

GOT is more closely based on J.R.R Tolkein’s books, The Lord of the Rings (LOTR).

The LOTR books were inspired by the early versions of Dungeons and Dragons.

Therefore, D&D likely served as an indirect influence on the show, shaping their approach to world-building and storytelling.

What Is D&D on Game of Thrones? (House of Dragons Spinoff)

With the House of Dragons spinoff on HBO, many fans worried that D&D were going to be involved with the project.

However, D&D did not work on House of Dragons.

Therefore, fans who were disappointed in the past with the showrunners’ work on Game of Thrones (GOT) should not be worried about the spinoff.

Let me be very clear: D&D is not attached to House of Dragons in any mechanical way.

Who Is D&D on Game of Thrones? (Other Projects)

David Benioff and Dan Weiss are both American writers, producers, and directors.

The controversial powerhouse duo have worked on several other projects.

Projects such as:

  • Leslie Jones: Time Machine (Comedy special)
  • The Overstory
  • Metal Lords
  • The Three-Body Problem

Why Did D&D Lose Star Wars?

D&D walked away from working on a Star Wars project with George Lucas because they got a better Netflix deal. Netflix reportedly matched Disney’s offer with a project the duo wanted to work on and gave them wide-open creative freedom.

Therefore, Disney did not fire D&D from the Star Wars deal.

D&D actually walked away from Disney to work on their Netflix projects.

Final Thoughts

For now, D&D are still hard at work on their mutual projects. It will be interesting to see where the two writers and producers will go from here.

Hopefully, they will be able to win GOT fans over with their future projects.

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