You might think George R.R. Martin would be among the lucky few who know what's ahead in Game of Thrones' final season, since, you know, he wrote the book series that inspired it. As it happens, though, the A Song of Ice and Fire author is just as much in the dark as everyone else about what's to come when winter finally descends on Winterfell — almost.
As part of Entertainment Weekly's sprawling new Game of Thrones issue, the magazine talked to Martin about the fact that since the tail end of Season 5, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have been largely on their own as they push the story forward. In the chat, the author revealed that at least one iconic scene from the new seasons was his idea — Hodor's backstory — and that he's consulted about a few other key plot points. But since the show has now surpassed the events of his book series, which he's been busy writing, Martin hasn't had time to find out what'll happen in the screen version.
"I haven't read the scripts and haven't been able to visit the set because I've been working on [The Winds of Winter]," he said. "I know some of the things. But there's a lot of minor-character [arcs] they'll be coming up with on their own. And, of course, they passed me several years ago. There may be important discrepancies."
Martin also told EW that he has "mixed feelings" about the fact that the show is ending this year, since he's still very much in the middle of his own version of the saga, with Winds and A Dream of Spring still in progress.
"It's been an incredible ride. And almost all of it has been great. Obviously, I wished I finished these books sooner so the show hadn't gotten ahead of me. I never anticipated that," he explained.
For their part, the show's creators are helping to ensure that they don't spoil the differences between Martin's upcoming texts and Game of Thrones' final season. As Benioff explained, it "used to be that the books would spoil the show for people ... Now that the show is ahead of the books, it seems the show could ruin the books for people. So one thing we've talked to George about is that we're not going to tell people what the differences are, so when those books come out people can experience them fresh."
In other words, the watch may be ending soon, but the read is still far from over.
Game of Thrones Season 8 premieres on HBO on Sunday, April 14 at 9/8c.
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