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George R.R. Martin Says There May Be 'Discrepancies' Between the Game of Thrones Finale and His Books

Jon Snow knows more than we do at this point.
Jon Snow knows more than we do at this point.
Photo: HBO

Yes, George R.R. Martin is still working on The Winds of Winter. Yes, that means A Dream of Spring will come eventually. But before that happens, we’re getting the eighth and final season of HBO’s Game of Thrones. What will this spoil for fans of the A Song of Ice and Fire series? Hopefully: not everything.

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In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Martin said he hasn’t read the scripts for the final season of the series—nor has he visited the set—because he’s been focusing on writing The Winds of Winter. This means that he doesn’t really know the exact plans of Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss and hasn’t really been working with them on the ending, apart from that rough outline he gave them years ago about how he plans on ending the series. Given how far the HBO show has already strayed from the books, it means there’s a whole bunch we haven’t discovered yet that could be revealed in the final two installments of ASoIaF.

“I know some of the things. But there’s a lot of minor-character [stories] they’ll be coming up with on their own. And, of course, they passed me several years ago. There may be important discrepancies,” Martin said.

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However, this does raise the question of how much of the show’s ending will match the books. In the early seasons, the problem was how the books spoiled some of the show’s biggest surprises, like the Red Wedding or Jon Snow’s death. But now, since we’re so far away from the ending to ASoIaF, the concern is what the show is going to spoil the books instead. Benioff told EW he and Weiss made a particular promise to Martin to help ease that strain:

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.

Martin didn’t share how far along he is on writing The Winds of Winter, but he did note how he wished he’d finished the books sooner, because he “never anticipated” the show surpassing his own story. But, as they say in “the Biz,” the books must go on.

“It’s the end for a lot of people,” Martin said. “It’s not the end for me. I’m still deeply in it. I better live a long time because I have a lot of work left to do.”

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Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.

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DISCUSSION

My wife and I have been re-watching the series in anticipation for season 8, and we’re on season 5 where it really goes off the rails. I do kind of feel the show is fan-servicing now, I can’t imagine all of those characters will end up in Winterfell together in the books.

*book and show spoilers* *book and show spoilers*

I’m sure I’m missing things, but:

- I assume Tyrion will end up with Dany in the books like on the show.. even if his journey is less ideal.
- Sansa is currently eating lemon cakes in the books with Robin while Mance Rayder pretends to be a minstrel to rescue fake Arya from Ramsay.. so I have no @)(%ing idea what happened there (since Mance is killed in season 5 of the show and Sansa ends up marrying Ramsay).
- Speaking of Mance.. doesn’t Gilly have Mance’s child with her as she and Sam go to the Citadel, and Gilly’s child was left at Castle Black pretending to be Mance’s, because they were going to burn Mance’s baby for the kings blood? Or something. What the hell
- Real Arya, from TWoW excerpt, is touring with a minstrel show or something to kill people on her list.
- Is Rickon Stark really just meaningless?
- Are they really going to burn Shireen in the books and Stannis will be defeated by Ramsay?
- Does Jon possibly being a warg not matter at all?
- Does Dorne’s plot to make Myrcella queen not matter at all?
- Quentyn Martell’s book plot was completely useless
- What the heck is going on with “Young Grif” in the books? Clearly it’s not important? And Jon Connington is in season 8 with the Golden Company it’s believed sooooooooooo
- Lol Lady Stoneheart