Since Game of Thrones ended its colossal, eight-season run on HBO Sunday night, we've heard from many of the show's stars as they've reflected on what the show has meant to them and their careers. Now we've heard from another voice the show made into a massive global star: George R.R. Martin himself.
Martin, who wrote the A Song of Ice and Fire novels on which the series is based, was a successful novelist and TV writer even before HBO gave David Benioff and D.B. Weiss the greenlight on a show based on his book, but Game of Thrones has made him an instantly recognizable household name. His morally ambiguous world of great houses, dragons, ice monsters, and antiheroes has become one of the most popular TV shows of the 21st century, and it's transformed his life.
Writing on his "Not A Blog" Monday night, Martin reflected on all of this, from his now-famous first lunch meeting with Benioff and Weiss to the massive gathering of cast members at the show's final season premiere.
"I had no clue, that afternoon at the Palm, that I was about to embark on a journey that would change my life," Martin said of his first meeting with the showrunners. "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."
Martin then turned his eye toward the future. He celebrated the achievements of the Game of Thrones cast and crew, including Benioff and Weiss' future Star Wars filmmaking efforts, and then discussed his own upcoming projects. Martin is hard at work right now on everything from several TV shows in development — including those Game of Thrones spinoffs at HBO — to feature films to a short film project to, interestingly, a "video game out of Japan" that he's consulted on. Martin offers no further details on what the game could be, and there's been no official announcement of a consulting deal, so we'll definitely be keeping our eyes peeled for more.
Then Martin turned to the books. For years now he's been at work on the sixth volume of A Song of Ice and Fire, The Winds of Winter, a book that many fans were once hoping would be released before Game of Thrones reached the same point in the story's timeline. The show ultimately sped past Martin, of course, and Benioff and Weiss met with the author to get at least some sense of how he was planning to end the saga. We still don't know exactly what was said in those conversations, which brings us to the question fans everywhere are still asking: Will the books really end all the differently from the show? Here's Martin's response to that:
"Well… yes. And no. And yes. And no. And yes. And no. And yes."
Martin went on to elaborate on the number of factors that are still contributing to his narrative which set him apart from the series, including the format. He pointed out that the final season of Thrones was wrapped in six jam-packed episodes, while he has the luxury of writing two more massive books to tell the rest of his story. Martin also noted that because of the show's various creative decisions, his novels also feature many more characters who either died early on the show or never even got a chance to be characters there, including Lady Stoneheart, Arianne Martell, Jeyne Poole, Darkstar, Victarion Greyjoy and many more. Martin closed on a philosophical note.
"Book or show, which will be the 'real' ending? It’s a silly question," he said. 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."
Martin has long since taken up the tradition of refusing to guess a possible release date for The Winds of Winter, which will then be followed up by the seventh and likely final volume in the saga, A Dream of Spring. He does continue to promise to finish the book, though, and perhaps now that the series is over, he'll be more driven than ever.