Game of Thrones ending

After nearly a decade, HBO’s Game of Thrones is about to come to a dramatic close. But George R.R. Martin‘s watch is not ending…yet.

The A Song of Ice and Fire author still has two books to finish in his long-running fantasy series, and impatient readers waiting for the next sprawling novel will be glad to hear that he’s been so busy working on The Winds of Winter that he hasn’t even had time to read the scripts for the final season of the HBO adaptation. Read his comments about the show’s impending conclusion below.

Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Martin revealed that he hasn’t read the batch of final season scripts – the ones that will supposedly form the basis for “the greatest thing that’s ever aired on TV,” according to one of the show’s former stars. The author said:

“I haven’t read the [final-season] scripts and haven’t been able to visit the set because I’ve been working on Winds. I know some of the things. But there’s a lot of minor-character [arcs] they’ll be coming up with on their own. And, of course, they passed me several years ago. There may be important discrepancies.”

The author also explained that he has “mixed feelings” about the Game of Thrones ending:

“It’s been an incredible ride. And almost all of it has been great. Obviously, I wished I finished these books sooner so the show hadn’t gotten ahead of me. I never anticipated that.”

Martin’s most recent book in this saga, A Dance with Dragons, was released in 2011 – the same year HBO’s adaptation debuted its first season. Writing the follow-up novel has proven a far more daunting challenge than Martin ever thought possible (and it doesn’t exactly help that he’s spent time writing several side books along the way). He says he was “tempted,” but the author turned down a cameo appearance in the final season because he couldn’t justify flying all the way to Belfast, Northern Ireland, when he still has so much left to write. “It’s the end for a lot of people,” Martin said of the finale. “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.”

And when he does eventually finish that work, readers hopefully won’t know exactly what happens. The show is keeping some key events in tact, but co-showrunner David Benioff told EW that they’re looking to preserve some mystery for the man who started it all:

“[The concern] used to be that the books would spoil the show for people — and luckily it did not for the most part. 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.”

Game of Thrones returns to HBO on April 14, 2019. Check out the latest trailer right here.

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