George R.R. Martin: HBO Max changes have “impacted” Game of Thrones spinoffs

WESTWOOD, CALIFORNIA - MAY 08: George R. R. Martin attends the LA Special Screening of Fox Searchlight Pictures' "Tolkien" at Regency Village Theatre on May 08, 2019 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)
WESTWOOD, CALIFORNIA - MAY 08: George R. R. Martin attends the LA Special Screening of Fox Searchlight Pictures' "Tolkien" at Regency Village Theatre on May 08, 2019 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images) /

We’re about to enter a new year, which means that A Song of Ice and Fire fans get to ask themselves an eternal question anew: will this be the year that George R.R. Martin finally finishes The Winds of Winter, the long-awaited sixth book in his series?

Your guess is as good as mine, although the author assured fans that he’s working on it in a recent blog post. He also talked a bit about the various Game of Thrones spinoffs in the works at HBO. We already know about House of the Dragon, of course, but there are others in the works, including an adaptation of Martin’s Dunk & Egg novellas and even a Jon Snow show that would pick up after the end of Game of Thrones.

…that is, if HBO greenlights it, which Martin takes care to say hasn’t happened. HBO hasn’t given the go-ahead to anything yet beyond House of the Dragon, but Martin is holding out hope:

"Some of those are moving faster than others, as is always the case with development.   None have been greenlit yet, though we are hoping… maybe soon.  A couple have been shelved, but I would not agree that they are dead.   You can take something off the shelf as easily as you can put it on the shelf.  All the changes at HBO Max have impacted us, certainly."

By “the changes at HBO Max,” Martin is likely referring to recent moves made by HBO’s parent company Warner Bros. Discovery to remove select shows from the streaming service, including once-prominent ones like Westworld. With Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav in charge, it’s less likely that HBO will take big swings on expensive fantasy series going forward. But considering how successful Game of Thrones was, and how well the first season of House of the Dragon was received, I’m betting they’ll greenlight at least one more spinoff, maybe sooner than we think.

George R.R. Martin will take us to Casterly Rock in The Winds of Winter

Turning to the Song of Ice and Fire books, Martin wrote another blog post all about Casterly Rock, the ancestral seat of House Lannister. We haven’t visited the Rock in print yet, but Martin is looking to change that:

"Casterly Rock will not remain forever offstage, I hope.   I have two more novels to go, and my plan is to have one or more of my viewpoint characters visit the Rock in THE WINDS OF WINTER or A DREAM OF SPRING, so I can show you all the wonders and terrors and treasures of House Lannister first hand."

We have seen Casterly Rock on Game of Thrones; we visited it in season 7, which takes place later in the timeline than Martin’s book have gotten. So it’s not surprising to hear we’ll see it in the novels, as well. However, don’t expect it to resemble what we saw on the show.

HBO’s Game of Thrones
HBO’s Game of Thrones /

As Martin took pains to point out on his blog, Casterly Rock is not a castle on top of a big rock, which is how the show made it look…it is the rock, a huge mountain with miles of tunnels and huge rooms carved into it, all of it based on the real-life Rock of Gibraltar on the Iberian Peninsula.

"The Lannister castle is not ON TOP of the Rock.  It is INSIDE the Rock.   All of it.   Barracks, armories, bedchambers, grand halls, servant’s quarters, dungeons, sept, everything.  That’s what makes the Rock the strongest and most impregnable seat in all of Westeros.   The Eyrie, Winterfell, Storm’s End, they all have formidable defenses… but none of them can match Casterly Rock.   When Harren the Black built Harrenhal, he thought his immense new castle could defy even dragons.   Stone does not burn, he reasoned.   But stone does melt, and dragons fly, and… well, you know the rest.   And Balerion’s flames proved hot enough to turn Harren’s massive towers molten…But Casterly Rock is a mountain, and its chambers and halls are buried deep inside, under tons of solid stone.   No curtain wall in Westeros, however thick, can even come close."

When it comes to the “real” Casterly Rock, whatever that means, Martin prefers how artist Ted Nasmith illustrated it in the 2011 Song of Ice and Fire calendar. So if for some reason you ever need to picture a book-accurate version of Casterly Rock, go with that.

Next. All 11 seasons of The Walking Dead, ranked worst to best. dark

To stay up to date on everything fantasy, science fiction, and WiC, follow our all-encompassing Facebook page and sign up for our exclusive newsletter.

Get HBO, Starz, Showtime and MORE for FREE with a no-risk, 7-day free trial of Amazon Channels