A Song of Ice and Fire ending

Unless you spent this past spring trapped in the burned-out ruins of Harrenhal, you probably know that HBO’s Game of Thrones came to an end a couple of months ago. That shortened final season drew some loud, negative responses from many viewers – but fear not, for author George R.R. Martin is not the reactionary type. If you think he saw the divisive reaction to the show’s ending and is currently scrambling to make changes to his A Song of Ice and Fire ending, rest easy knowing that he’s not going to change a damn thing. (Whether he’ll ever finish writing, of course, still remains to be seen.)

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Martin explains that despite some of the outcry from corners of the Internet about the way Game of Thrones came to an end, he will not be taking those reactions – or even the more positive ones, like ours – into account as he works to wrap up his sprawling fantasy epic book series that inspired the show.

“The internet affects all this to a degree it was never affected before. Like Jon Snow’s parentage. There were early hints about [who Snow’s parents were] in the books, but only one reader in 100 put it together. And before the internet that was fine — for 99 readers out of 100 when Jon Snow’s parentage gets revealed it would be, ‘Oh, that’s a great twist!’ But in the age of the internet, even if only one person in 100 figures it out then that one person posts it online and the other 99 people read it and go, ‘Oh, that makes sense.’ Suddenly the twist you’re building towards is out there. And there is a temptation to then change it [in the upcoming books] — ‘Oh my god, it’s screwed up, I have to come up with something different.’ But that’s wrong. Because you’ve been planning for a certain ending and if you suddenly change direction just because somebody figured it out, or because they don’t like it, then it screws up the whole structure. So no, I don’t read the fan sites. I want to write the book I’ve always intended to write all along. And when it comes out they can like it or they can not like it.”

That feels like the proper, level-headed response here. Giving in to the temptation to pull the rug out from people by switching things up in the books might feel satisfying in the short term, but considering Martin has been working on this series since the 1990s, it doesn’t make sense that he’d abandon his own foreshadowing and plot threads simply for the shock of it all. Even though major characters die all the time in A Song of Ice and Fire, Martin is not a storyteller who’s prioritized shock for shock’s sake in his writing: he’s interested in wide-ranging consequences, and I for one am happy to hear that he’s sticking to his guns and completing this story as he originally intended.

Again, that’s assuming that he ever actually finishes. Fans have been waiting for years on The Winds of Winter, and he says he’s still working on it:

“I have very fixed ideas in my head as I’m writing The Winds of Winter and beyond that in terms of where things are going. It’s like two alternate realities existing side by side. I have to double down and do my version of it which is what I’ve been doing.”

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