Bryan Cogman, initially a script coordinator for the series, was promoted to producer for the fifth season. Cogman, who wrote at least one episode for the first five seasons, is the only other writer in the writers’ room with Benioff and Weiss. Before his promotion, Vanessa Taylor (a writer during the second and third seasons) worked closely with Benioff and Weiss. Dave Hill joined the writing staff for the fifth season after working as an assistant to Benioff and Weiss. Although Martin is not in the writers’ room, he reads the script outlines and makes comments.
Benioff and Weiss sometimes assign characters to particular writers; for example, Cogman was assigned to Arya Stark for the fourth season. The writers spend several weeks writing a character outline, including what material from the novels to use and the overarching themes. After these individual outlines are complete, they spend another two to three weeks discussing each main character’s individual arc and arranging them episode by episode. A detailed outline is created, with each of the writers working on a portion to create a script for each episode. Cogman, who wrote two episodes for the fifth season, took a month and a half to complete both scripts. They are then read by Benioff and Weiss, who make notes, and parts of the script are rewritten. All ten episodes are written before filming begins, since they are filmed out of order with two units in different countries.
Benioff and Weiss write each of their episodes together, with one of them writing the first half of the script and the other the second half. After that they begin with passing the drafts back and forth to make notes and rewrite parts of it.
Benioff and Weiss intend to adapt the entire, still-incomplete A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels for television. After Game of Thrones began outpacing the published novels in the sixth season, the series was based on a plot outline of the future novels provided by Martin and original content. In April 2016, the showrunners’ plan was to shoot 13 more episodes after the sixth season: seven episodes in the seventh season and six episodes in the eighth. Later that month, the series was renewed for a seventh season with a seven-episode order. As of 2017, seven seasons have been ordered and filmed, adapting the novels at a rate of about 48 seconds per page for the first three seasons.
Season Ordered Filming First aired Last aired Novel(s) adapted Refs
Season 1 March 2, 2010 Second half of 2010 April 17, 2011 June 19, 2011 A Game of Thrones 
Season 2 April 19, 2011 Second half of 2011 April 1, 2012 June 3, 2012 A Clash of Kings and some early chapters from A Storm of Swords 
Season 3 April 10, 2012 July – November 2012 March 31, 2013 June 9, 2013 About the first two-thirds of A Storm of Swords 
Season 4 April 2, 2013 July – November 2013 April 6, 2014 June 15, 2014 The remaining one-third of A Storm of Swords and some elements from A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons 
Season 5 April 8, 2014 July – December 2014 April 12, 2015 June 14, 2015 A Feast for Crows, A Dance with Dragons and original content, with some late chapters from A Storm of Swords and elements from The Winds of Winter 
Season 6 April 8, 2014 July – December 2015 April 24, 2016 June 26, 2016 Original content and outlined from The Winds of Winter, with some late elements from A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons 
Season 7 April 21, 2016 August 2016 – February 2017 July 16, 2017 August 27, 2017 Original content and outlined from The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring 
The first two seasons adapted one novel each. For the later seasons, its creators see Game of Thrones as an adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire as a whole rather than the individual novels; this enables them to move events across novels, according to screen-adaptation requirements.
The Azure Window at Ras-id-Dwerja
The Azure Window at Ras-id-Dwerja, on Gozo, was the site of the Dothraki wedding in season one.
Principal photography for the first season was scheduled to begin on July 26, 2010, and the primary location was the Paint Hall Studios in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Exterior scenes in Northern Ireland were filmed at Sandy Brae in the Mourne Mountains (standing in for Vaes Dothrak), Castle Ward (Winterfell), Saintfield Estates (the Winterfell godswood), Tollymore Forest (outdoor scenes), Cairncastle (the execution site), the Magheramorne quarry (Castle Black) and Shane’s Castle (the tourney grounds). Doune Castle in Stirling, Scotland, was also used in the original pilot episode for scenes at Winterfell. The producers initially considered filming the whole series in Scotland, but decided on Northern Ireland because of the availability of studio space.
The first season’s southern scenes were filmed in Malta, a change in location from the pilot episode’s Moroccan sets. The city of Mdina was used for King’s Landing. Filming was also done at Fort Manoel (representing the Sept of Baelor); at the Azure Window on the island of Gozo (the Dothraki wedding site) and at San Anton Palace, Fort Ricasoli, Fort St Angelo and St. Dominic monastery (all used for scenes in the Red Keep).
The walled city of Dubrovnik
The walled city of Dubrovnik became King’s Landing in season two.