Random TV viewers are not the only ones going into Game of Thrones’ final season without knowing what lies ahead. The creator of A Song of Fire and Ice, author George R.R. Martin, is also in the dark about the epic swan song. Here, Martin opens up about where he stands heading into Season 8:
I haven’t read the [final-season] scripts and haven’t been able to visit the set because I’ve been working on Winds. I know some of the things. But there’s a lot of minor-character [arcs] they’ll be coming up with on their own. And, of course, they passed me several years ago. There may be important discrepancies.
That’s right! Matching up with what many fans presumed and/or feared, there may be “important discrepancies” between the final chapter of the television series and George R.R. Martin’s book series. Crucial to note in Martin answer is this word: “important.” The pages of A Song of Fire and Ice were clearly already going to make some detours from the show’s plotlines, but those alterations might be bigger than we expected.
Also interesting is George R.R. Martin's mention of the “minor-character arcs” that will be freshly conceived by Game of Thrones' showrunners. Who could those involve, and what could they mean? It's still a mystery for now, but not for much longer. With a trailer and the first round of promotional pictures already released, the final season is quickly coming upon us.
Game of Thrones will deliver its big-budget ending before George R.R. Martin gets a chance to conclude A Song of Fire and Ice, and likely even before he finishes the penultimate novel in the series. That has led to what Martin reveals as “mixed emotions” in his interview.
It’s been an incredible ride. And almost all of it has been great. Obviously, I wished I finished these books sooner so the show hadn’t gotten ahead of me. I never anticipated that.
George R.R. Martin had hoped to complete all of his novels before the television show came to an end, but Game of Thrones broke un-authored ground in Season 6, which saw the reveal of Jon Snow’s fate, as well as the Battle of the Bastards. That Jon Snow plot point is still a novel cliffhanger that Martin has yet to resolve. As for Jon Snow’s lineage, it's indicated that George R.R. Martin's novels and Game of Thrones’ revelation do not deviate from one another.
Fans already knew that Game of Thrones had diverged from its source work even before they had run out of written pages to call upon. There have been several change-ups in recent years, but whether those all amount to big differences in the story's ultimate conclusion remains to be seen.
For those watching the finale to learn how A Song of Fire and Ice will conclude, the answers still might not come until the books do. Game of Thrones’ co-showrunner David Benioff has stated had and D.B. Weiss will not reveal what the differences are between George R.R. Martin’s next books and the television show. So, expect to still be surprised when you get a chance to read them.
The latest book released in A Song of Fire and Ice was A Dance with Dragons. It came out almost eight years ago in July of 2011. The first season of Game of Thrones premiered a few months earlier, in April 2011. With George R.R. Martin opting not to take on a cameo in the final season to focus on Winds of Winter, he is destined to conclude his story sooner than later, even if it's just by a couple of days.
Find out how the television series chart its course to the finish line when Game of Thrones' final season premieres. Season 8 starts Sunday, April 14, at 9 p.m. ET on HBO. It will debut alongside a lot of other new content during the midseason.