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While it has seemed inevitable that HBO’s hit drama Game of Thrones would surpass George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series for a while, apparently, the author of the famed fantasy series never saw the TV series catching up to the books until recently. During a Q&A at Northwestern University recently, Martin admitted that he was extremely surprised when HBO’s Game of Thrones started to catch up to his own writing.
The show, of course, has caught up to me, which I didn’t actually think would ever happen. I had such a huge lead, but the truth is, I’m a very slow writer.

Martin isn’t exactly a braggadocio, and it isn't shocking in the least to hear him admit that he didn't see it coming when Game of Thrones began to overlap some of the stories he was telling in the A Song of Ice and Fire books. In the interview, he also mentions that while he is on a much slower writing schedule, the HBO team is on a rigid production cycle and the show must move forward, whether or not the books are ready and published for public consumption. So, he clearly sees why it has happened.

This isn’t as much of a disaster as it might seem. George R.R. Martin has already been in contact with David Benioff and Dan Weiss, the two showrunners on HBO’s Game of Thrones, to talk about where certain characters are heading and how the series will ultimately pan out. While some character arcs have changed on the HBO drama, the series is expected to ultimately end up in a similar place. In addition, recently we also learned that Martin has an idea for the end of the series and while he’s not revealing the main plot points related to the big conclusion, he has mentioned that it will be “bittersweet” but also “hopeful.” So, at least we know the series has been carefully planned.

Unfortunately, fans of the novels may learn where the series is going before the books hit the shelves. Over the last couple of years, George R.R. Martin has been hard at working writing the upcoming sixth book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. We’ve seen chapters of Winds of Winter get released and heard plenty of rumors regarding release dates for the big book, but nothing official has been announced related to the release of Winds of Winter. Plus, a seventh novel in the series has also been planned.

Whether or not Winds of Winter makes an appearance soon, Game of Thrones Season 6 is heading to HBO’s schedule sooner rather than later. The series is expected to return in 2016. For now, check out what we know so far about the upcoming episodes.