For all the questions about how far ‘Game of Thrones’ has veered off course from the source material, George R.R. Martin says he actually expects the ending to be the same for both the show and the books…
George R.R. Martin never imagined when ‘Game of Thrones’ started that the HBO series would catch up to the source material in his books.
He delivered the fifth book in his ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series titled ‘A Dance with Dragons’ just a few months after the first season of the show debuted and he only had two more books left to finish.
Fast forward several seasons later, Martin still hadn’t finished the sixth book titled ‘The Winds of Winter’ and there was no telling when the seventh and final book titled ‘A Dream of Spring’ would actually be released.
“I published a fifth book in 2011, when the series was just going on the air, so I was like five books ahead,” Martin told ’60 Minutes’ ahead of the final season of ‘Game of Thrones’ debut. “I was completely confident that I would have the entire series finished, and ‘Winds of Winter’ and ‘A Dream of Spring’ would be out before they got to them. [So] it was a blow when the series caught up. I didn’t think it would happen.”
When it was clear that ‘Game of Thrones’ was going to pass the source material, the showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss took a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico to spend a few days with Martin at his home to go over his vision for the rest of the story. Benioff and Weiss landed the job as ‘Game of Thrones’ showrunners after proving their dedication to the source material because Martin had received previous offers to sell off his material to make a film or television show in years past.
The two showrunners have made it clear that while they have made minor alterations to the story, they largely wanted to tell ‘Game of Thrones’ as Martin intended when he released the first book back in 1996.
Over the past few seasons, ‘Game of Thrones’ has long since passed Martin’s books but he told Benioff and Weiss the major story beats that would lead to his intended ending as well as his plans for each of the major characters involved in his books. The showrunners took that knowledge and continued to map out ‘Game of Thrones’ in a way that would at least nearly mirror the plans that Martin had in his books.
“We’re talking here about several days of story conferences taking place in my home but there’s no way to get in all the detail, all the minor characters, all the secondary characters,” Martin said. “The series has been extremely faithful, compared to 97-percent of all television and movie adaptations of literary properties. But it’s not completely faithful. And it can’t be. Otherwise, it would have to run another five seasons.”
Perhaps the biggest question that has been asked of the ‘Game of Thrones’ showrunners and Martin leading into this final season is how the series will end compared to the books. Obviously the journey to get to that ending will be somewhat different because Martin’s books still feature several characters who were killed on ‘Game of Thrones’ not to mention several other secondary characters who never even appeared on the TV series.
That said, Martin believes the actual end of ‘Game of Thrones’ will be very similar to what he intends to write for his books, which puts to rest all those questions about how the two will compare when it’s all said and done.
“I don’t think Dan and Dave’s ending is going to be that different from my ending, because of the conversations we did have but on certain secondary characters there may be big differences,” Martin revealed.
So there you have it — Martin’s books will end in a very similar way that ‘Game of Thrones’ will come to a close in just a few short weeks.
The real question for now becomes when will Martin deliver ‘The Winds of Winter’ or ‘A Dream of Spring’ — that’s anybody’s guess.