The newest quotes from the fall-out behind the scenes of Game of Thrones may be some of the most inflammatory yet. They come from a new book called Tinderbox: HBO's Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers, which touches briefly on Game of Thrones while tracing the trajectory of the entire network. Author James Andrew Miller spoke to entertainment agent Paul Haas, who has long represented author George R.R. Martin.
Haas told Miller that Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss began diverting from the plot of Martin's books around Season 5. This is a complaint fans often make, though people this close to the production tend not to. Hass said that Martin himself began to worry about how the show would end around this time.
"George loves Dan and Dave, but after season five, he did start to worry about the path they were going because George knows where the story goes," Haas said, according to a report by Westeros.org. "He started saying 'You're not following my template.' The first five seasons stuck to George's road map. Then they went off George's map."
"George has not told me who gets the throne at the end of his arc; he will not tell anybody," Hass added. "I believe maybe his book publisher and book agent know, but I do not. And I've represented George since 1992... So I have no idea where it goes, but the bottom line is that the book's ending is a more satisfying experience than the show's."
Fans are hoping that Haas is right, as Martin has reportedly made great progress on his next book, The Winds of Winter over the last two years. Martin himself has generally spoken positively about the show, though he has been hard on himself for not finishing the books before the series caught up. When Season 8 premiered, Martin told Entertainment Tonight that both he and HBO wanted Game of Thrones to go on longer, but that Benioff and Weiss decided to cut it short.
The post-mortem on Game of Thrones and its reviled final seasons may never be over, but the completion of the books could give many fans closure. Fan theorists on forums like Westeros.org have been busy trying to decode the essence of Martin's "template" from the structure of the final season, interpreting how the author will put a more satisfying spin on a similar story. So far, there is no release date for The Winds of Winter.