We're just weeks away from the debut of Game of Thrones Season 6, and a lot of fans who love both the series and the George R.R. Martin novels on which it's based are a little worried. Apart from a few plotlines here and there, the show is about to surpass Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels in terms of the series chronology, which means that we could experience very serious plot revelations on TV before we experience them on the page.
For a long time, fans were hoping Martin's writing speed would keep pace with the series, and that his sixth novel in the cycle -- The Winds of Winter -- would arrive before Season 6's April start date. That's not happening, though, and that means that the show is venturing into unknown territory, giving us pieces of the story that may or may not sync up with Martin's ultimate vision for the saga. In the past, fans of the TV show had to worry about fans of the novels spoiling upcoming events for them. Now, fans of the novels have to worry about the TV show spoiling their reading experience. So, how far will the show go in terms of spoiling the books?
According to showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss, not that far. While they're obviously not going to spoil major plot beats for the upcoming season, the showrunners did note that they're going their own way with the series, which means that you'll likely get a completely different story when Martin ultimately publishes The Winds of Winter.
“People are talking about whether the books are going to be spoiled – and it’s really not true,” Benioff told EW. “So much of what we’re doing diverges from the books at this point. And while there are certain key elements that will be the same, we’re not going to talk so much about that – and I don’t think George is either. People are going to be very surprised when they read the books after the show. They’re quite divergent in so many respects for the remainder of the show.”
Weiss also noted, that because Martin's outline for the series is not particularly detailed (he has the major events planned, but that's it), the showrunners could feel free to flesh out their own version of the story, giving fans a chance to experience two different takes on the same world. It sounds similar to The Walking Dead model of storytelling -- in that the TV version is recognizable to readers, but not entirely predictable -- but the difference is that the TV version has now eclipsed its literary counterpart.
“At a certain point, we realized we were going to outpace the books and we kind of chose to see it as a great thing on both sides – there’s this amazing world George has created and now there are two different versions, and there’s no reason we can see why you can’t be thrilled and surprised and dismayed by both of these different versions of this world," Weiss said.
Game of Thrones returns April 24 on HBO.