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Game of Thrones Jon Snow Kit Harington Daenerys Targaryen Emilia Clarke HBO

When you watch Game of Thrones Season 8, you will see many familiar faces. One you will not see is George R.R. Martin’s. The writer, who set Game of Thrones in motion with the A Song of Ice and Fire book saga, has revealed he turned down the chance to cameo in the final season. Martin explained the reasons he gave executive producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss, saying:

David and Dan invited me to a cameo in one of the final episodes, which I was tempted to do. But I didn’t think just for the sake of a cameo I could take the time to return to Belfast.

While Game of Thrones has hosted notable cameos, it will not host George R.R. Martin. Not because they did not ask though. As Martin told EW, he did not want to take time away from writing The Winds of Winter to do the cameo. Hence, Martin made the sacrifice to continue penning his much-anticipated installment in A Song of Fire and Ice series instead.

The original plan was not for Game of Thrones to wrap its run George R.R. Martin-less. Had the series’ initial pilot taken off, fans would have been able to see Martin putting in an appearance. That’s right! He already filmed a cameo for the show! Martin revealed:

There was a cameo in the original pilot that was cut. I was a guest at Dany’s wedding. But that was when she was played by Tamzin Merchant so all that footage got thrown out when we recast with Emilia Clarke.

For those who need any backstory, keep reading. The first Game of Thrones episode that kicked off the series in 2011 was not the original pilot. A lot changed in between the initial pilot and the one that aired. As George R.R. Martin mentioned, a different Daenerys is one of the critical differences.

Unfortunately, George R.R. Martin’s cameo as one of the guests at Daenerys and Khal Drogo’s wedding was a casualty. His sacrifice of a cameo to work on The Winds of Winter shows off Martin’s determination to finish the latest installment in his series.

While Game of Thrones’ final season will not feature a cameo from the man who made its entire existence possible, it will have other exciting things. Emilia Clarke has teased shocking developments in Season 8. Viewers will also get to see Sansa don a new aspect in her wardrobe.

If that is not enough to get you excited, the cast has weighed in about its ending. Speaking of the ensemble, the cast list for the Season 8 premiere has already leaked. As you may have expected given this story, George R.R. Martin is not among those listed. Some surprising actors will.

It would have been neat if George R.R. Martin had made into Season 8. It is something that would have inextricably linked him with the series on a visual level. Without him, none of it would be possible, so his presence is everywhere without needing to exist on-screen. Plus, his reasons for deciding against it are admirable.

You can see who does appear in Season 8 when Game of Thrones' final season premieres. The last chapter begins Sunday, April 14 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO. It will debut alongside a great deal of new content set to arrive during the midseason.