As Game Of Thrones fever digs its valyrian hooks into culture, George R.R. Martin remains focused on his huffing WordStar 4.0, where the long-gestating draft for The Winds Of Winter continues to unfold. Now, after years of hectoring by fans (and, um, us), he’s turning down appearances, cameos and even keeping his nose out of the new season’s writers’ room to focus on continuing his saga, which he’s said to be “struggling” with. The last book, A Dance With Dragons, arrived in 2011.
“I haven’t read the [final-season] scripts and haven’t been able to visit the set because I’ve been working on Winds,” Martin told Entertainment Weekly. “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 left him with “mixed feelings” about the show’s conclusion, and the author, echoing the rest of us, says he wishes he’d “finished these books sooner so the show hadn’t gotten ahead of me.” He added, “I never anticipated that.”
The showrunners say that they’re unsure of where Martin will take the story, as he “discovers a lot of stuff while he’s writing.” Regardless, David Benioff says that he and D.B. Weiss made a deal with Martin that they wouldn’t reveal what elements of their story coincide with his. “[The concern] used to be that the books would spoil the show for people—and luckily it did not for the most part,” he said. “Now that the show is ahead of the books, it seems the show could ruin the books for people. So one thing we’ve talked to George about is that we’re not going to tell people what the differences are, so when those books come out people can experience them fresh.”
The only show event that’s been confirmed to also unfold in a future book is the truth behind Hodor’s name. Otherwise, though, Martin’s book could skitter off into just about any direction, ones where Stannis isn’t unceremoniously killed off and the Sand Snakes actually, well, do something.
Game Of Thrones’ final season premieres on April 14. Check out its new trailer here.