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George R.R. Martin Says His Game of Thrones Ending Is Different Than the Show
If you’re a bitter Game of Thrones fan still bitter about the ending of the series, rejoice—there may be hope yet. No, not because of that petition demanding that HBO remake the eighth and final season with “competent” writers, but because George R.R. Martin has shed new light on his intentions to finish the two final books in the series he’s been writing since the 1970s, The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring.
“People know an ending—but not the ending,” Martin said. “The makers of the TV show had overtaken me, which I didn’t expect.”
If you’re praying for Martin to shred the show’s ending and go in a new direction, you may be in for disappointment. Though Martin commented rather cryptically that season eight was “not completely faithful,” other creatives involved with the show have suggested otherwise. Isaac Hempstead-Wright, the actor who portrays Bran Stark, spoke in a behind-the-scenes HBO documentary about the longtime collaboration between Martin and showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.
“David and Dan told me there were two things George R.R. Martin had planned for Bran—and that was the Hodor revelation, and that he would be king,” Hempstead-Wright said. “So that’s pretty special to be directly involved in something that is part of George’s vision. It was a really nice way to wrap it up.”
As for what we can expect from Martin’s conclusion to the series, we can expect two doorstopper novels that will fill in the blanks of what felt to many like a rushed, nonsensical season. In a post on his blog after the Game of Thrones finale aired, Martin wrote about his intentions to conclude character journeys that the show wasn’t able to address.
“I am working in a very different medium than David and Dan, never forget. They had six hours for this final season. I expect these last two books of mine will fill 3000 manuscript pages between them before I’m done… and if more pages and chapters and scenes are needed, I’ll add them. And of course the butterfly effect will be at work as well; those of you who follow this Not A Blog will know that I’ve been talking about that since season one. There are characters who never made it onto the screen at all, and others who died in the show but still live in the books… so if nothing else, the readers will learn what happened to Jeyne Poole, Lady Stoneheart, Penny and her pig, Skahaz Shavepate, Arianne Martell, Darkstar, Victarion Greyjoy, Ser Garlan the Gallant, Aegon VI, and a myriad of other characters both great and small that viewers of the show never had the chance to meet. And yes, there will be unicorns… of a sort…”
Finishing the books without the pressure of the show airing simultaneously may prove a relief for Martin, who has long struggled to conclude his life’s work. In an interview after the show’s conclusion, Martin spoke about the oppressive nature of working to finish the books as the show increasingly outpaced him.
“Every day I sat down to write and even if I had a good day – and a good day for me is three or four pages – I’d feel terrible because I’d be thinking: ‘My God, I have to finish the book. I’ve only written four pages when I should have written 40,’” Martin said. “But having the show finish is freeing, because I’m at my own pace now. I have good days and I have bad days and the stress is far less, although it’s still there.”
While fans can expect two new books, the long-awaited Game of Thrones movie will not come to fruition. In the interview with Welt, Martin confirmed that there won’t be a Game of Thrones movie–however, if you’re seeking to blame someone for that decision, you can thank HBO.
“At this point in time, it wouldn’t be for me to decide, because HBO controls the film rights for Game of Thrones,” Martin said. “David Benioff and D.B. Weiss actually wanted to end the saga after the seventh season with three big movies… The executives said, ‘We produce TV shows, we are not in the cinema business.'”
There you have it, fans–what has long been a time of famine for diehard followers of the books may soon be a time of feast. Here’s hoping Martin clears up some of our many, many questions.
Adrienne Westenfeld is a writer and editor at Esquire, where she covers books and culture.