It’s been nearly two years now since Game of Thrones last left us after the season seven finale “The Dragon and the Wolf,” so to say that fans are excited for its return this Sunday would be a massive understatement. At the same time, the return is bittersweet. The upcoming season eight is also the show’s grand finale, and fans know that in six short weeks it will all be over and they’ll likely be spending the summer bursting into tears at random moments. When they’re at the bank. When they’re trying to pick out the best avocado at the market. When the damn clown is making a balloon poodle at their kid’s birthday party. It’s going to be a mess, and very confusing for those who don’t watch the series.
While most of us don’t want it to end, we all understand that a show can run too long and damage the overall product. Better to tell the story with as little filler episodes added in to stretch the series out as possible. But there is one particularly interesting person who doesn’t think the show should be ending just yet, someone who’s pretty familiar with it: George R.R. Martin.
Martin, the author behind the “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series Game of Thrones is based on and also a writer and co-executive producer on the series, spoke to The Hollywood Reporter recently. During the brief chat Martin was asked how he was feeling heading into the final season, when he shared his surprising thoughts on it ending now:
“I don’t think it should be the final season. But here we are. It seems to me we just started last week. Has it been longer than that? The time has passed by in a blur. But it’s exciting. I know it’s an end, but it’s not much of an end for me. I’m still deep in writing the books. We saw five other sequel shows in development. I think I’m going to be hanging around Westeros while everyone else has left. (Laughs.)”
Unfortunately he doesn’t elaborate on exactly why he doesn’t think this should be the final season. Which makes the comment even stranger and creates many questions we likely won’t have answers to for a long while.
We’ve known since it became clear that HBO’s Game of Thrones was going to catch and surpass Martin’s novels that the show would be spoiling things from the books, and that series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were told how the story would end by Martin himself. But if that’s the case, why would Martin think it’s too soon to end the show? Is there a lot more to the story he feels should be covered before reaching that end? Or has the ending changed for him since first sharing it with Benioff and Weiss?
I’ve always wondered if Martin might veer off in a different direction from the one he was originally traveling in once the show passed his books. With two more entries in the planned seven-book series still to come, who knows where he might go with it and how well it will ultimately match up with the show.
Obviously there will be plenty of differences between the two when all is said and done (as Martin points out in the chat with THR, the show has killed off around 20 characters who are still alive in the books…at least for now), but I’m not sure how I would feel if the show and the book series had two completely different endings. That’s entirely up to Mr. Martin at this point, so it will be interesting to see how things play out.
That next “A Song of Ice and Fire” book also came up in the conversation. Martin was asked if he’s been involved in the final season, or hard at work on the next book:
“Yeah, I’ve been in isolation. My loyal staff — I have a couple of them with me — have chained me to the typewriter. They’re making me eat healthy food. (Laughs.) It’s horrible!”
If you think waiting a couple of years for a new season of the TV series has been tough, try being a fan of the books. It’s been nearly eight years now since the release of the last entry, A Dance with Dragons, with no release date for the next book, The Winds of Winter, in sight. Which hangs a great big question mark over the status of the seventh and final book (if it ultimately ends up being the final one), A Dream of Spring.
But hey, books two and three, A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords, came out in 1999 and 2000. Perhaps old George has sneakily set it up so that the next two books will release in back-to-back years! OK, don’t get your hopes too high on that one.
But the final season of Game of Thrones is not the only thing Martin talked about. He also was asked if he could offer any updates on the upcoming prequel spinoff. Here’s what he had to say:
“It hasn’t started shooting yet, but they’re getting very close to that. They have a great director and an amazing cast. I’ve been following along closely. I have my fingers crossed. It’s different. It’s definitely very different. It’s set thousands of years in the past. You’re looking at a whole different era of Westeros. No dragons, no Iron Throne, no King’s Landing. It will be interesting to see what the fans make of that.”
You can head over to THR for more of the chat with George R.R. Martin, and click right here for much more on Game of Thrones including the trailer for the final season.
Follow me on Twitter.