There has been much speculation amongst fans on what Game of Thrones might do if (when?) they catch up to George R. R. Martin. But the showrunners, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, haven’t really addressed the issue. Until last week, in an interview with James Hibberd of Entertainment Weekly. They, along with HBO president Michael Lombardo, discuss what is becoming a very real possibility: the show finishing the series before the books.
“I finally understand fans’ fear — which I didn’t a couple years ago: What if the storytelling catches up to the books?,” says HBO programming president Michael Lombardo. “Let’s all hope and pray that’s not going to be a problem”
Martin has told the showrunners his top-secret end-game plan for Ice and Fire, but wouldn’t be thrilled with the TV series progressing into that territory before he published his books. “I don’t think I’d be happy with that,” the author says. And neither would the producers. “We still have our fingers crossed that George will get there,” Weiss says. “That’s what’s best for us, it’s what’s best for the fans. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.” Adds Benioff: “Ideally the books come out first.”
So they are still hoping that GRRM can finish the books in time. However, given his writing speed (slower than Patrick Rothfuss, but slightly faster than Susanna Clarke), that would surely require them stretching out the remaining books over many seasons. So is that what they are planning? Could this show last for 10 seasons?
“We can’t wait too long because of the kids,” Benioff says. “Issac’s [Hempsted Wright] voice is changing. Everyone is getting bigger. We have this wonderful cast, but we don’t have an infinite amount of time … We don’t want to become a show that outstays its welcome and tries to turn each book into three seasons. Part of what we love about these books and the show is this sense of momentum and building toward something. If we tried to turn this into a 10-season show we’d strangle the golden goose.”
Oh. So 10 seasons is considered too many. What about that holy number that has been floating around? Both HBO and Benioff & Weiss deny that any such number has been agreed upon, be it Seven or otherwise.
The interview also discusses the possibility of the show taking a hiatus, but that idea is quickly shot down due to the complications over actor contracts. The other possibility floated by Hibberd is finishing the series off with theatrical-released films, something Lombardo pooh-poohs.
In the end, it all comes back to Martin. How fast can he write? And, the more immediate question, when will The Winds of Winter be done?
“I’ve given up answering that question,” says Martin, with only a hint of terseness. “I’m working on it and it will be done when it’s done. Hopefully it won’t be as long of a wait as the last book.”
Winter Is Coming: It is my opinion that they are going to catch up to the books and we will see the end of the series on TV before reading about it in the books. It seems HBO and the writers are in a bit of denial over that likelihood. Would you be okay with that? Or would you try to avoid the show so as not to spoil the books? Personally, I’d rather read about it first, but if the show catches up, so be it. I will watch it and enjoy it and then read the books when they come out to get a slightly longer, more in-depth and, maybe even different, ending.