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Since Season 5 of Game of Thrones ended, we’ve been yearning for something...anything to ease our separation anxiety. The HBO series has now caught up with George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels, so while they may still fill in a few gaps using the novels, for the most part, the series ending is bound to be different than the author’s books. For one, the show will probably be continuing before we even see the next A Song of Ice and Fire novel. While it can be frustrating for fans of the books, Martin has finally given us a tiny taste of what’s in store, and it may not be what many expected.
Martin revealed to The Observer that he actually hasn’t written the ending yet, but he has a certain tone in store, and he relates that tone to another popular fantasy fiction series:
I haven’t written the ending yet. I’ve said before that the tone of the ending that I’m going for is bittersweet. I mean, it’s no secret that Tolkien has been a huge influence on me, and I love the way he ended Lord of the Rings. It ends with a victory, but it’s a bittersweet victory…All I can say is that’s the kind of tone I will be aiming for. Whether I achieve it or not, that will be up to people like you and my readers to judge.
For those of you who have only seen Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films, you may be left pondering what Martin means by ‘bittersweet’. The films chose to leave viewers at a happier view of things, as opposed to the final chapters of Tolkien’s The Return of the King which saw Frodo and friends return home after their victory only to find that the Shire had been overtaken and corrupted, the kind, simple nature of their home no longer exists. It is a dark and sad ending, that really rips your heart out. This whole journey you’ve been rooting for the hobbits’ eventual safe return to the Shire, and despite their defeat of Sauron, it’s by no means a fulfilled, happy ending.
Martin’s desire to create a similarly bittersweet ending really comes as no surprise. I mean, what were you expecting? A happy ending? Do we remember the Red Wedding and how unexpected that was? It is good news that there is the ‘sweet’ part playing a role though. And that Martin hopes to give us some sort of happy achievement, whether it be seeing who we want on the Iron Throne, or finding out the true origins of a certain character’s past. We can only speculate on what’s in store for the series or the books. Martin, while knowing the tone of his ending, clearly doesn’t know what plot point he wants to end on, so there is still plenty of work to build up to that realization.