George R.R. Martin Teases That the Game of Thrones Book Series Will End 'Differently'
Every writer knows that talking about writing is the next best thing to writing. If you can’t write, but you jawed about your book, then you basically did your writing for the day, right? Nobody is better at this high-wire act than George R.R. Martin, the man suffering the most public case of writer’s block in the history of contemporary literature. For Game of Thrones fans on pins and needles, Martin has offered another progress report on The Winds of Winter, the penultimate installment in his epic series—but this time, he’s teasing the ending.
In an interview with wttwchicago, Martin confirmed that the end to his books will proceed in a "somewhat different [direction]" than the HBO series. Fans of the television series may rejoice at this news, as they no doubt remember the show’s divisive ending. Martin, for his part, expressed some regrets about the sequencing of the books and television show, ruminating on the moment at the end of Season Five when the television series overtook the book franchise.
"Looking back, I wish I'd stayed ahead of the books," Martin said. "My biggest issue there was when they began the [TV] series, I had four books already in print, and the fifth one came out just as the series was starting in 2011. I had a five-book head-start, and these are gigantic books, as you know; I never thought they would catch up with me, but they did.”
Season Five ended in a memorable and characteristically bloody fashion, with Brienne executing Stannis, Cersei making her walk of atonement through King’s Landing, and Jon Snow stabbed to death at the Wall. For Martin, the moment marked a sea change in his writing process.
"They caught up with me and passed me,” Martin said. “That made it a little strange, because now the show was ahead of me, and the show was going in somewhat different directions. I'm still working on the book, but you'll see my ending when that comes out."
If you’ve noticed a conspicuous lack of a deadline in Martin’s latest progress report, you’re not alone in that observation. Readers are clamoring for a concrete update on when to expect The Winds of Winter, but like any writer on deadline, Martin is reluctant to provide one. It’s worth remembering that Martin is a famously slow writer; he began writing Game of Thrones in 1991, while the most recent installment, A Dance With Dragons, took six years. His previous update, shared to his blog earlier this year, described a banner year for writing (“the best year I've had on WOW since I began it”), but nonetheless, Martin won’t commit to a deadline.
"I will make no predictions on when I will finish," Martin said. "Every time I do, assholes on the internet take that as a 'promise', and then wait eagerly to crucify me when I miss the deadline. All I will say is that I am hopeful.”
We’re hopeful too.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by Esquiremag.ph editors.