Game of Thrones Season 5 ended at an interesting place this past spring. It finally caught up with the books upon which it is based, by author George R.R. Martin. TV and novel fans alike are finally at the same point in the story, with neither knowing what will happen next. While George R.R. Martin plans to have his next book published sometime in 2016, it's pretty clear that it won't happen before Game of Thrones Season 6 premiers on HBO. The show will likely air for two more seasons after that, with George R.R. Martin planning two final books. It seems inevitable that the TV show will come to an end first. But guess what? George R.R. Martin doesn't care.
Game of Thrones has only continued to grow in popularity since it launched on HBO in 2010. The most recent run of episodes brought in a ratings high for the series, setting a new record. During the first three seasons, the show followed the corresponding novels in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. But that all started to change in Game of Thrones Season 4, with Game of Thrones Season 5 providing a few surprises for readers that went beyond the books.
Fans have been more worried about the TV series ending before the books than the author ever appeared to be. Though, it has remained a point of stress for him, weighing his creative freedom. The growing concern that he would not reach the finish line seems even more omnipresent now. Of the seven planned books in the Ice and Fire series, only five have been published. George R.R. Martin has been working on the sixth novel, The Winds of Winter, for what seems like an eternity. While at the Sasquan science-fiction convention in Spokane, Washington this weekend, the author read an excerpt from the unpublished book. He then took questions from the fans about both his novels and the TV series. GeekWire asked if he thought the TV show would end first, and he responded with 'Anything's possible'. He then went onto claim that the TV series is 'moving forward like a jet locomotive.'
David Benioff and Dan Weiss, the two men behind the TV series, are tasked with writing 10 fifty paged scripts every year. George R.R. Martin, on the other hand, is penning a massive long-form novel. That could explain some of the hold-up. But the author has had to change his thought process on how this all works.
"There was a period where I was worried about that. Then I said, to hell with that. Worrying about it isn't going to change it one way or another. I still sit down at the typewriter, and I have to write the next scene and the next sentence... I'm just going to tell my story, and they're telling their story and adapting my books, and we shall see."
Because he is so deep into trying to finish The Winds of Winter, George R.R. Martin has been less active in the development and progression of the Game of Thrones TV series. Throughout the first four seasons, the author penned one script for each season. He didn't do that for Game of Thrones Season 5, though. And he says he's not doing it for Game of Thrones Season 6 either. Another big question on everyone's mind is if George R.R. Martin will be able to finish the next book before Game of Thrones Season 6 debuts in the spring. It doesn't sound likely though, as this was his response (we're not sure if he was joking).
"Don't ask me when the book is going to be done - I'll ask my minions to lop your head off."
It will be many, many years before the seventh and final Ice and Fire book, A Dream of Spring, is published, so fans wanting to wait until they've caught up on the novel series before they watch the TV show will have a very long wait. The Game of Thrones series has already made some substantial changes from the books, and that's likely to remain true as the show heads into the future without the crutch of George R.R. Martin's written word. The show runners have been given the 'broad strokes' as to where the book series is heading, and that will certainly leave room for interpretation. It's clear that now, with the TV show having caught up with the books, both entities are on their own paths.
Those who finish watching the Game of Thrones HBO series first will likely get a very different experience when reading the books. It will be the same story told in two vastly different ways, which has to be exciting for a lot of fans. What about you? How do you feel about the TV series reaching its conclusion before the books are allowed to do so?