George R. R. Martin Plans To Mop Up The Mess Of GOT's Final Season This Year

27 January 2020
Culture, Film, Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin, HBO
Image: HBO

"People know an ending – but not the ending"

The reaction to the final season of Game of Thrones is one that's ranged from stunned confusion in some places to abject disappointment in others.

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There's no doubt that it'll go down as a colossal piece of filmmaking, but as a fitting way of wrapping up one of the greatest tales of fantasy and political intrigue ever told, more than a few will argue that it's left something to be desired. Just ask the millions who signed a petition for the final season to be re-written. 

With the show's final episode, the show ultimately lost its titanic struggle to wrap up the many, many remaining plot lines and story arcs that were left either completely open or half-complete by the seven episodes that came before it. The series reached a satisfying enough conclusion, sure. But it certainly didn't lay enough framework to make it all feel natural.

Of course, in the six-episode cloud hanging over the franchise's fanbase there is a silver lining. Master of stories George R. R. Martin is still yet to deliver the two books that, everyone hopes at least, will bring the series to a fitting, satisfying conclusion. 

Now that the show is complete and the planned spin-offs are on the way, Martin has offered his own update on just how closely the long-awaited books he has in the works will match the story arc of the show. Writing on his blog last year shortly after congratulating those who put the show together, he wrote: 

"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 [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss], 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...

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"Book or show, which will be the ‘real’ ending? It’s a silly question."

And after so many years of waiting, surely it's set to come soon, right? Initially, we thought not. But Martin has since clarified that the end (or at least the beginning of the end) is coming sooner than you think.

Amidst the the fallout from GOT's disastrous final season, GRRM took to his blog last May to clarify his progress with the novels since the release A Dance With Dragons dropped back in 2011, saying: "I will, however, say for the record – no, THE WINDS OF WINTER and A DREAM OF SPRING are not finished. DREAM is not even begun; I am not going to start writing volume seven until I finish volume six," he wrote.

He then revealed that he thought the sixth novel, which is most likely to address the White Walkers in far more detail than the Battle of Winterfell we received in the shows, will reach bookstores in 2020. He made the claim a post where he replied to Air New Zealand's offer to put him up in a secluded cabin to help him attain the focus he needed to finish the novels off once and for all.

"As for finishing my book… I fear that New Zealand would distract me entirely too much. Best leave me here in Westeros for the nonce. But I tell you this – if I don’t have The Winds of Winter in hand when I arrive in New Zealand for Worldcon, you have here my formal written permission to imprison me in a small cabin on White Island, overlooking that lake of sulphuric acid, until I’m done. Just so long as the acrid fumes do not screw up my old DOS word processor, I’ll be fine."

Martin is already planning a trip down South in August this year, which gives him precisely seven months or so at the current time of counting. Set the timers.

Martin also even more cold water over rampant speculation that he'd actually finished the novels long ago, but that publishing on The Winds of Winter was being delayed until HBO had finished airing the final season of Game of Thrones. Martin even addressed the rumours directly.

"Why would my publishers ... ever consent to this? They make millions and millions of dollars every time a new Ice & Fire book comes out, as do I. Delaying makes no sense. Why would HBO want the books delayed? The books help create interest in the show, just as the show creates interest in the books.”

Read More: George R.R. Martin might not actually want to finish a song of Ice and Fire

"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)," he stressed in an earlier blog post, "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..."

Martin has since clarified that the ending of the novels, whenever they do arrive, will be quite vastly different to that of the TV show. "People know an ending – but not the ending," Martin said in an interview with German newspaper Welt. "The makers of the TV show had overtaken me, which I didn't expect."

The author also confirmed speculation that Season Eight, if it went according to the plans of widely-panned show runners Benioff and Weiss, wouldn't have existed at all. "At this point in time, it wouldn’t be for me to decide, because HBO controls the film rights for Game of Thrones," he 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.'"

For now, fans will have to make do with whatever closure they can scrape together from the show's final season. Whether or not the ending intended by Martin will reflect what we saw on the screen is an entirely different matter.

Via GQ Australia