Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin addressed the controversial ending of the HBO series directly this month. In an interview with PBS in Chicago, he noted how much the series had diverged from his books, A Song of Ice and Fire. However, he also noted with sadness that his own writer's block had allowed the differences to take shape.
"Looking back, I wish I had stayed ahead in the books," he said. "My biggest issue there was when they began that series, I had four books already in print and the fifth one came out just was starting in 2011. I mean, I had I a five-book head start — and these are gigantic books, as you know, if you've seen them — I never thought they'd catch up with me. But they did." Martin laughed through the interview, and he refrained from criticizing the showrunners who ended the TV series so abruptly.
Martin did give fans more hope that his books will have a different ending than the TV show did. He continued: "They caught up with me and passed me, and that made it a little strange because now the show was ahead of me, and the show was going in somewhat different directions. So, I'm still working on the book, and you'll see my ending when that comes out."
Martin has reported some breakthroughs in progress on his next novel, The Winds of Winter over the last year or so. On his personal blog, he has said that the COVID-19 pandemic helped force him to get back to writing in some ways.
In previous interviews and blog posts, Martin has said that there are some plotlines and characters which were dropped from the show that will have a "butterfly effect" on the endings of the two stories. This includes the revival of some characters from the dead, the introduction of skin-changer magic in more characters and whole political factions in southern Westeros that never made it on TV. You can check out those stories for yourself in Martin's books here on Amazon — available in print, digital and audiobook formats.
Game of Thrones is streaming now on HBO Max. The first spinoff series, House of the Dragon is currently in production and is expected to premiere in the spring of 2022. So far, Martin has not hinted at a release date for The Winds of Winter just yet.