Though most of us suspected it, the fact that George R. R. Martin is not ready to release The Winds of Winter (the sixth book in the Song of Ice and Fire series) this year means the TV show and the books are definitely going their separate ways — more so than they have already. Game of Thrones was already nipping at the heels of its source material by Season 4 last year, so the upcoming Season 5 may start making big changes.
GRRM talked to Showbiz411 at the recent Writers Guild Awards, and had some very interesting things to say about the upcoming season:
People are going to die who don’t die in the books, so even the book readers will be unhappy. So everybody better be on their toes. David and D.B. (David Benioff and D.B. Weiss co-creators of ‘Game Of Thrones) are even bloodier than I am.
Martin also talked about the future of the TV series in muted terms:
Not really certain yet. This is the fifth season, the sixth season HBO picked up last year. We will have a 7th, 8th or 9th, no one knows. They only renew one or two seasons at a time. After we do season 6, maybe we’ll get a renewal for 7th and 8th. That all depends, Television is a very changeable medium.
Yeah, it’s the hottest show on TV now, but will it be the hottest show on TV two years from now? Hot shows come and go and television changes, and I’ve lived through that before. I certainly hope that we get to tell the entire story. Because whatever happens with the show I’m going to finish the books, it will be seven books. But each of these books are 1500 pages long and they each have enough material in them for several seasons. I have two more books, the one I’m writing right now, ‘The Winds Of Winter,’ and after that the last book, ‘The Dream of Spring,’ so those will be the two final books. But we’re talking 3000 pages of material. How many seasons that translates too? That’s up to D.B. And David.
That sounds a little salty to me, but let’s go back to that first quote:
“People are going to die who don’t die in the books, so even the book readers will be unhappy.”
Fact: GRRM loves spreading misery.
This puts book readers in an odd position, though. I have to admit that my love of the Game of Thrones TV series has always been tempered by the fact that I’ve read the books. It’s not a question about which is better overall — some of the changes the show has made improve upon the source material, and some don’t. It’s more about having an expectation of how things will play out. If it goes as expected, you’re not surprised. If it doesn’t, you don’t know as you’re experiencing it whether to praise it or be indignant. That’s one thing that has made recapping the show difficult in the last few years — it’s hard to address how something is different without explaining the divergence, which some people see as a book spoiler.
But moving on — I’m just talking to book readers and those who don’t care a fig about a few book spoilers below now, so watch yourselves if that is not you.
The show has already killed off some people who stay alive in the book (mostly looking at you, Pyp and Grenn and Jojen), so I’m not surprised that that will continue. But the way GRRM is phrasing it, it seems like that could include more major characters. That’s not the only question though, of course. Is the show going to create more characters like Talisa (just to kill them off), and if so, is Jeyne Westerling still a factor in Theon’s story, or is that taking on new life as well? Will Bran be ignored for a season since he’s already been plugged in to Weirwood.net, or will that story also go in a new direction? (Especially now that Jojen is dead?) And since Lady Stoneheart is definitely not making an appearance, how will that affect Jaime and Brienne’s story? (I’m still upset they turned Jaime into a rapist, so he’s going to need a huge redemptive arc).
Game of Thrones has had an odd transition from being almost exactly the same as the source material in its first season, to now going off almost completely on its own. I’m cautiously intrigued to see what Weiss and Benioff have cooked up, though. What changes are you hoping will happen? Who would you like to kill off? (And who are you desperate to have spared?) It’s crazy to think that next year though, with Season 6, everything could be completely different from anything book readers expect at all.
Game of Thrones returns to HBO on Sunday, April 12th.