Nearly four months have passed since the final episode of Game of Thrones aired, and fans found witnessed the conclusion to the massive fantasy series. Sort of.
Technically, they saw one version of the ending. The other version — or the “real” version, depending on who you ask — is still stowed away in the mind of series author George R.R. Martin.
Since the finale, and over the course of most of the series, Martin has been hard at work on the series’ final two books, The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring. But all this writing hasn’t kept him from a variety of extra curricular activities, including talking about anything and everything Game of Thrones. In the three months since the finale aired, Martin has given his thoughts on the HBO show, talked about the next book’s non-release date, and even dropped a few hints about the upcoming prequels series.
George R.R. Martin’s Thrones finale reactions
Martin posted his definitive finale reactions on his Not a Blog site the day after the finale aired. In a post titled, An Ending — hard not to notice that it’s an ending and not the ending — Martin expresses his appreciation for everyone who had a hand in helping the show bring his story to life.
“I want to thank people, but there are so many,” he wrote. “There were forty-two cast members at the season eight premiere in New York City, and that wasn’t even all of them. And the crew, though less visible than the cast, were no less important. We had some amazing people working on this show, as all those Emmys bear witness. David & Dan assembled a championship team. The directors were incredible as well. I should start naming names, but then I’d miss someone, there were so many.”
In a fairly deft display of just how much he’s learned about his fans since he started writing, Martin also seems to have anticipated just about every talking point that would occupy the next three months of conversation in a single post.
What’s next for Game of Thrones
In that same post-finale send-off, Martin mentions that he’s still hard at work on The Winds of Winter, and that he won’t give the book a release date until it’s actually finished, since that’s burned him before. He mentions the five shows he has in development at HBO — including some non-Westeros related work — as well as the shows he’s working on with other networks.
In other Winds of Winter release news, there was a brief controversy when Barristan Selmy actor, Ian McElhinney claimed that Martin had already written all of the books and was just waiting on HBO to let him release them. Martin once again took to his Not a Blog website to clarify that this was not true.
Martin also gave a brief insight into his writing schedule during an event in London. According to The Wertzone blog’s Adam Whitehead, the author plans to finish “The Winds of Winter,” then write the fourth Dunk and Egg book, followed by “A Dream of Spring,” Dunk and Egg 5, and then finally, “Fire and Blood 2.”
How the Game of Thrones books will end
Whether or not the ending of the HBO series will be the same as the ending of the books is the question that Martin has answered the most since the finale. But really he’s only finding different ways to say the same thing he said on his blog immediately after the finale aired.
“How will it all end? I hear people asking. The same ending as the show? Different,” Martin wrote. “Well… yes. And no. And yes. And no. And yes. And no. And yes.”
Martin wrote this post before the fan reactions to the finale hit the internet. But the reactions themselves seem to have frustrated him. During a podcast with film critic Leonard Maltin, Martin mentions that he feels “the internet is toxic in a way that the old comic fandom and the science-fiction fandom was not.”
But Martin has also made it clear that the criticisms of the ending won’t get to him. While many have suggested that the negative reactions could provide Martin with a sort of large-scale focus group to see how he could change the ending in his books, Martin himself has said that he won’t be doing that. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly in July and again in August while talking to The Observer, Martin said that none of the reactions to the show will change the ending he has for the books.
“I want to write the books I’ve always intended to write all along. And when it comes out they can like it or not like it,” Martin told Entertainment Weekly.
But that doesn’t mean the ending will be the same
One of the most clarifying of Martin’s remarks about the ending came in August during an interview with JOE. Martin explained that he felt they could have gone for 13 seasons — rather than what he calls “seven and a half.” But he says that the decision to cut certain story lines, such as Lady Stoneheart, Quentyn Martell, and Young Griff, four or five years before the finale aired simplified the ending.
“Who knows? Maybe that was the right decision,” he continued. “You can’t quarrel with the most popular television show in the world, but I have my books in mind and I’m going ahead. I know I’m very slow, but I’ll get there eventually.”
Elden Ring and non-Winds of Winter projects
Despite working on “The Winds of Winter” since about 2011, Martin continues to stay busy with other projects. Some of these are Game of Thrones-related, like advising on Jane Goldman’s new Long Night-focused prequel show.
Martin also mentioned, during his interview with JOE that he even pitched HBO another Game of Thrones spin-off that was rejected. The show, called Spear Carriers, would have followed a few common folk as the main plot of the Game of Thrones series happened in the background. We know that Martin has a hand in a few other shows, but these are the only ones he’s given much information on.
Finally, we also know that Martin had a hand in the upcoming video game Elden Ring. While Martin himself hasn’t talked much about the game, or his involvement with it, president of FromSoftware, the game’s development studio, Hidetaka Miyazaki has. According to Miyazaki, Martin helped create the game’s overarching world and mythology.