George R.R. Martin responds to Game of Thrones finale, updates on outstanding books

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In our section of the office of my 9-to-5 job, a new rule got passed yesterday: No more talk about Game of Thrones. We have had two days of raucous debates breaking out in the wake of Sunday’s divisive series finale, and a few people had enough. The world isn’t just my office though, so of course everybody and their dog is still talking about the conclusion of the biggest TV series the world has seen in years. And now it’s time for another to get their say: The guy whose books started this whole shebang.

Posting to his “Not A Blog” blog, author George R.R. Martin posted a lengthy essay giving his thoughts on this landmark moment in television history. Of course, as expected, Martin doesn’t join the throngs of upset fans when it comes to criticizing how showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss rushed through the final two seasons, but it does get a mention. Instead, Martin chose to praise the people involved in turning this show into a reality, saying that “It has been a wild ride, to say the least.”

The last night, the last show. After eight epic seasons, HBO’s GAME OF THRONES series has come to an end.

It is hard to believe it is over, if truth be told. The years have gone past in the blink of an eye. Can it really have been more than a decade since my manager Vince Gerardis set up a meeting at the Palm in LA, and I sat down for the first time with David Benioff and D.B. Weiss for a lunch that lasted well past dinner? I asked them if they knew who Jon Snow’s mother was. Fortunately, they did.

That was how it started. It ended last night.

I had no clue, that afternoon at the Palm, that I was about to embark on a journey that would change my life. I had optioned books and stories for television and film before. Some had even been made. There was no way to know that this one was going to be different, that this pilot would not only be shot, but would go on to become the most successful show in the history of HBO, win a record number of Emmy Awards, become the most popular (and most pirated) show in the world, and transform a group of talented but largely unknown actors into major celebrities and stars. Even less did I imagine that I would somehow become a celebrity as well… and if truth be told, I’m still not sure how that happened.

That last section may rankle some fans though. Martin originally began writing his epic fantasy series (initially planned to be a trilogy, before being expanded to seven books) in 1991, with the first book, Game of Thrones, published in 1996. But while the first three releases came quickly enough, earning mass acclaim, as he became more of a celebrity, Martin’s writing output slowed considerably and subsequent books released later and later. It’s taken him a combined 11 years to release the fourth and fifth books, and we’re going on 8 years now without the release of the final two books in the series.

This especially became an issue when around the fifth season of Game of Thrones, the show overtook Martin’s books. It is in absolutely no way, shape or form a coincidence that it was here when the show’s writing quality noticeably began to drop as Benioff and Weiss ran out of completed source material to adapt, working only off of Martin’s cliff notes ideas of what he planned to do. So what has Martin been doing all this time and will he ever release the last two books?

I’m still here, and I’m still busy. As a producer, I’ve got five shows in development at HBO (some having nothing whatsoever to do with the world of Westeros), two at Hulu, one on the History Channel. I’m involved with a number of feature projects, some based upon my own stories and books, some on material created by others. There are these short films I am hoping to make, adaptations of classic stories by one of the most brilliant, quirky, and original writers our genre has ever produced. I’ve consulted on a video game out of Japan. And then there’s Meow Wolf…

And I’m writing. Winter is coming, I told you, long ago… and so it is. THE WINDS OF WINTER is very late, I know, I know, but it will be done. I won’t say when, I’ve tried that before, only to burn you all and jinx myself… but I will finish it, and then will come A DREAM OF SPRING.

You know, you would think that maybe writing those last two books would be Martin’s priority over all, having him sideline all other projects until they’re done – you know, like he said he would do in the past – but apparently not. So what will happen when the books do finally release? Will fans who were disappointed with the show’s resolution wait all that time only to have their hopes dashed again by the exact same events playing out on paper? Well, no. Also, yes. Probably maybe.

How will it all end? I hear people asking. The same ending as the show? Different?

Well… yes. And no. And yes. And no. And yes. And no. And yes.

I am working in a very different medium than David and Dan, never forget. They had eight 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…

Book or show, which will be the “real” ending? It’s a silly question. How many children did Scarlett O’Hara have?

How about this? I’ll write it. You read it. Then everyone can make up their own mind, and argue about it on the internet.

Oh there will be arguing on the internet, George. Of that we can be certain.

Last Updated: May 22, 2019

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