When Game of Thrones first debuted on HBO a decade ago, George R.R. Martin had written four installments of his A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series and a fifth was released soon after. It was always Martin’s intention to complete the saga before the HBO series reached its end, but as we know, Martin is still working on the sixth book in the series – The Winds of Winter – and the show wound up running out of Martin’s material before it concluded.
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While speaking with Chicago’s WTTW, George R.R. Martin said that he regrets letting the Game of Thrones series get past the novels.
Looking back, I wish I’d stayed ahead of the books. When they began that series, I had four books already in print, and the fifth one came out just as the series was starting in 2011. I had a five-book head start. And these are gigantic books, as you know. I never thought they would catch up with me but they did. They caught up with me and passed me and, you know, that made it a little strange—because now, the show was ahead of me and the show was going in somewhat different directions.
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Although Game of Thrones showrunner David Benioff and D.B. Weiss had been given a general outline of George R.R. Martin’s final two novels, they were more or less on their own during those final years. Given how the final season of Game of Thrones was received and how the arcs of many of the main characters concluded, Martin certainly has his work cut out for him when it comes to crafting his own conclusion. Martin has said that his ending will be different from the one in the show, but it remains to be seen just how different it will be. “I’m still working on the book, but you’ll see my ending when that comes out,” Martin said.
Although Game of Thrones has ended, the series will live on with House of the Dragon, a prequel series set to debut on HBO in 2022.