The creators of “Game of Thrones” are finally ready to give some straight talk about how the show will end, and how it will run congruent with “A Song of Ice and Fire” author George R.R. Martin’s slow writing pace. Recently, showrunner David Benioff revealed that the hit HBO series will be forced to get ahead of its source material starting as early as Season 6.
In January, it was revealed that Martin will not finish the sixth book in the seven-part series in 2015. With “Game of Thrones” poised to begin Season 5 on April 12, a lot of fans are slowly realizing that the 66-year-old author will not have a finished series under his belt before HBO does.
“Luckily, we’ve been talking about this with George for a long time, ever since we saw this could happen, and we know where things are heading. And so we’ll eventually, basically, meet up at pretty much the same place where George is going; there might be a few deviations along the route, but we’re heading toward the same destination,” Benioff told the crowd at the Oxford Union, according to Vanity Fair. “I kind of wish that there were some things we didn’t have to spoil, but we’re kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place. The show must go on.... And that’s what we’re going to do.”
Martin released the bulk of his novels several years ago. Since then, the TV show has skyrocketed the otherwise unknown writer to fame, causing his writing to slow way down. His publisher recently announced that the book won't arrive this year. Meanwhile, the show is rapidly catching up to the story that Martin has released thus far. Odds are high that the HBO drama will wrap up the story lines presented in Martin’s fifth book, “A Dance With Dragons,” after Season 5. In fact, Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) won’t appear in Season 5 since the show has already caught up to his storyline.
That means, at the very least, Season 6 will be made without the source material, which isn’t so bad -- the show’s plot isn’t necessarily married to the books in anything but its broad strokes. Still, if Martin can’t get the books out before then, Season 6 will mark the first time ever that show watchers will know more than book readers.
Luckily, Entertainment Weekly reports that Martin has canceled several public appearances, including San Diego Comic-Con, so that he could finish the sixth book, “The Winds of Winter.” Unfortunately, the reality is that if Martin keeps up this pace, he won’t have finished the series before “Game of Thrones” hits Season 7. So, even if he hits the throttle on book six, it’s inevitable that show watchers will end up ahead of book readers by Season 7.
Although the showrunners have said that they’d like to call it quits and end the show after Season 7, HBO might buy Martin some more time to finish his novels by extending the profitable series another year or two -- or 10, for all we care.
“Game of Thrones” Season 5 debuts on HBO April 12.