Game Of Thrones - What Is The Plan?

Game Of Thrones, if you have not been paying attention, is an HBO television series based upon the best-selling fantasy book series "A Song Of Ice And Fire" by George R. R. Martin (the first novel of the series was "A Game Of Thrones", hence the TV show title). The books and the TV show are tremendously popular, but there is a much-discussed problem; while the TV show narrative is currently trailing the novels by a couple of volumes, it is catching up alarmingly quickly. Mr Martin does not churn out the novels; they are finished when they are finished, and even the eventual number of novels in the series (originally seven) may change.

Not really, but it can seem that way...
The TV show has already differed in some ways from the book, which is almost inevitable in any translation from book to screen, but of course the goal is to present a coherent version of the same story. But that story (in novel form) still has a couple of books to go, and the next one (volume six) The Winds of Winter has already been delayed and is not expected to be published in 2015.

Season 5 of the TV show is just starting and is expected to cover essentially the material in books 4 and 5. As the books each take several years to complete, you can see the problem. The HBO series can't really take a break in it's pace; some of the major characters are played by young actors, who of course will change appearance rather quickly. They also don't want to stop while they are on a roll, so to speak; shutting down and restarting such a big production after a couple of years would be difficult.

It's generally understood that "if anything happened" to Mr Martin, the HBO producers already "know the ending", at least in broad strokes; who lives, who dies, who rules. Martin also seems to have a cordial relationship with the writers of the show, and has not complained about several of the changes they have already made from the source material. The author will hopefully finish his magnum opus in the next few years, but it really looks as if the TV show may have to go it alone and finish the TV version of the story on their own.

In his most recent journal entry, Martin shared his thoughts on how long he sees the series continuing. He was quick to point out that right now, the series only has an order for six seasons from HBO, and while that could – and most likely will – be extended, all talk of how the series will end after season 6 is mere speculation at this point. However, it is well known that Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have envisioned the show ending with season 7 from the beginning.

I have read all the novels thus far, but have not watched the TV version - oh, I know who plays which character and have seen clips from the show, but I am not a regular viewer. The TV show is a beautifully-produced high concept R-rated fantasy soap opera, and I don't doubt I will fall under it's thrall at some point. For now, I am following the books and hope that Mr Martin does not stumble in these last couple of volumes.

As for the HBO series "spoiling" the ending in a couple of years, well that looks almost inevitable at the moment - and in today's age it will be hard "not to know" how the TV show ends - but I suppose the journey is the thing, and the books will likely keep my interest in the machinations in Westeros and beyond.

It's a fascinating problem and I just hope the spirit of the sprawling narrative is preserved in Game Of Thrones HBO series, and that we all come out satisfied (or at least sated) at the other end.

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