Photo: Rich Polk (Getty Images)

This April, winter will finally arrive (allegedly) when the final season of Game Of Thrones premieres on HBO. While we have a general idea of what to expect from these last episodes–dragons! white walkers! Queen Dany!–there’s at least one thing we shouldn’t bank on: A cameo by author George R.R. Martin. (Fact: The “R.R.” in his name stands for Rail Road. Just look at his little cap.) Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Martin revealed that series showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss asked him to travel all the way from his house in New Mexico to Ireland to film a cameo in one of the final season eight episodes, which, he says, he was “tempted to do.” Unfortunately, he’s a little too busy working on The Winds Of Winter, the next novel in the A Song Of Ice And Fire series–or so he says.

“I didn’t think just for the sake of a cameo I could take the time to return to Belfast,” says Martin, who has been working on the next installment in his book series for, oh, about eight years now. It’s a very good reason to turn down a free trip to Ireland, but I’d like to offer another possibility: Maybe he just didn’t feel like going. “I’m working on my new novel” is such a classic excuse, and it’s become the perfect go-to for this author in particular. And can you really blame ol’ George Rail Road Martin for not wanting to sit on a plane for 12 hours just to film 40 seconds of footage?

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There is a theory among Game Of Thrones fans that Martin has not only finished The Winds Of Winter, but that he’s also finished the next–and final–book in the A Song Of Ice And Fire series. It’s believed that he might just be waiting until the HBO series ends its run to release them, so as not to distract from the finale. Or maybe he’s the only living author in the world who actually means it when he says, “I can’t, I’m working on my new novel.”