Well, it was only a matter of time, which recently hasn’t been on George R.R. Martin’s side—Game Of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have finally admitted that the show will end in the same way as Martin’s books. And given that Martin’s sixth entry in his A Song Of Ice And Fire series, The Winds Of Winter, stands a slim-to-none chance of being released in 2015, HBO’s cash cow seems poised to jump ahead of its source material sooner than anyone expected. Speaking to the Oxford Union over the weekend, Benioff explained how his show will overtake the books:
Luckily, we’ve been talking about this with George for a long time, ever since we saw this could happen, and we know where things are heading. And so we’ll eventually, basically, meet up at pretty much the same place where George is going; there might be a few deviations along the route, but we’re heading towards the same destination. I kind of wish that there were some things we didn’t have to spoil, but we’re kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place. The show must go on…and that’s what we’re going to do.
As he said, Benioff and Weiss have known for some time what the endgame for the world of Westeros will be, but for a while it seemed as though they might take significant creative liberties to get there. Now that it’s down to “a few deviations,” reality seems to be setting in for Martin, who has canceled several public appearances in order to hunker down on delivering The Winds Of Winter as soon as possible. With a little bit of swagger, he even hinted at the possibility he might show up if writing goes uncharacteristically fast, saying, “Should I complete and deliver Winds Of Winter before these cons roll round, I reserve the right to change my mind.”
Meanwhile, HBO has stated that it wouldn’t mind one bit if Game Of Thrones went to 10 seasons, which in theory would force Benioff and Weiss to spread their story a little more thin and possibly even give Martin enough time to finish the saga first. Ever the realist with his “show must go on” mentality though, Benioff doesn’t sound ready to slow down for anyone. As for why people would read the likely long-winding seventh book after its ending has already played out on screen, he offered, “the thing that’s kind of fun for George is the idea that he can still have surprises for people even once they’ve watched the show through to the conclusion.”
So there you have it, devoted readers of A Song Of Ice And Fire since 1996. Reading the last book might bring you a few delightful wrinkles left out of the show, much like J.K. Rowling’s recent revelation that Harry Potter’s world actually included a Jewish wizard or two.