George R.R. Martin Talks Winds Of Winter, Game Of Thrones Spinoffs, And How The HBO Brouhaha Has Impacted The Franchise

The Night King Game of Thrones
(Image credit: HBO)

2022 has been a wild year for HBO in many ways, some better than others. While the merger between WarnerMedia and Discovery to create Warner Bros. Discovery resulted in a brouhaha involving projects being cancelled and even pulled from the streaming library, this year also saw the long-awaited return of the Game of Thrones universe with House of the Dragon. Now, with the days counting down until 2023, A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin has weighed on the developing Game of Thrones spinoffs, impacts from the HBO Max situation, and the very long-awaited sixth book in his saga.

George R.R. Martin took to his Not A Blog website with some updates for fans with the new year looming. Like many, he took a little bit of a break to celebrate the festive season, and his return to work means some news for those dying to know what’s next for the Game of Thrones world on TV and the A Song of Ice and Fire novel series. Martin wrote:

I did take a few days off for the holidays, I confess. Shame on me, I guess. But now I am back in the salt mine, working… working on so many bloody things, my head may soon explode. Yes, WINDS OF WINTER, yes, yes. And HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, season two. And several of the other successor shows that we’re developing with HBO.

It sounds like George R.R. Martin would have been happy to take a few more days off, but those may be a luxury for him until he completely finishes some of those “many bloody things” he has in the works! HBO wasted no time in ordering the second season of House of the Dragon, which isn’t expected until 2024 even with Martin currently working on it. 

His phrasing for reassuring readers about Winds of Winter seems in line with how he defended the pace of his writing earlier in 2022, when he stated that “having to restate it endlessly” that he’s working on the sixth book “is just wearisome.” (The fifth book of the saga, called A Dance with Dragons, was published in 2011, and previous updates from Martin included a goal of finishing Winds of Winter in 2016.)

But what about those successor shows that are in development, in light of all the upheaval at HBO and its streaming service, with former Discovery CEO David Zaslav as CEO of the new Warner Bros. Discovery? 

Well, even high-profile projects under the Warner Bros. Discovery umbrella haven’t seemed entirely safe ever since the first big blow of the Batgirl movie being axed when it was already in post-production. HBO Max originals have been removed from the platform, and even high-profile HBO shows like Westworld haven’t been safe. The series was cancelled after four seasons, and then pulled from HBO Max.

George R.R. Martin confirmed that all the changes at Warner Bros. Discovery with regard to HBO Max have affected the Game of Thrones franchise future when he shed some light on the successor shows that have been in development at HBO. He said:

Some of those are moving faster than others, as is always the case with development. None have been greenlit yet, though we are hoping… maybe soon. A couple have been shelved, but I would not agree that they are dead. You can take something off the shelf as easily as you can put it on the shelf. All the changes at HBO Max have impacted us, certainly.

The A Song of Ice and Fire author didn’t go into detail on which of the upcoming Game of Thrones TV shows in development have been shelved, but I would guess that the Jon Snow spinoff is a priority for as long as Kit Harington is willing to reprise the role! It’s possible that some of the developing series were intended to become HBO Max originals. I could see the animated show about The Golden Empire being planned for streaming, as HBO Max proved to be a solid platform for Kaley Cuoco’s animated series

As Martin noted, "shelved" doesn't mean cancelled! There are more questions than answers about how the HBO Max changes have affected the Game of Thrones franchise, but George R.R. Martin having high hopes for more spinoffs is an encouraging sign. Besides, the incredible success of House of the Dragon is already proof that interest in Martin's world of Westeros and beyond wasn’t limited to Game of Thrones… or ruined after the divisive series finale.

For now, you can always revisit the full run of Game of Thrones and full first season of House of th Dragon streaming with an HBO Max subscription, and find some upcoming viewing options with our 2023 TV premiere schedule.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).