Warning: Contains Spoilers
It must be a strange feeling to see a universe you have spent decades putting to paper find new life within a hugely popular TV show.
Game of Thrones has hurtled way beyond the story told in George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series, taking the various unfinished plot lines in completely new and unexpected directions.
The mammoth TV adaption means certain characters differ greatly from their book counterparts, with major alterations to how their arcs pan out (Lady Stoneheart, anyone?). No doubt this is weird for Martin, who dreamed up directions and destinies for his characters long ago.
With the conclusion of the eighth and final season sailing into view, many fans have felt the final episodes to be a bit rushed in comparison to the slow build up of seasons gone by.
Of course, showrunners have run out of book material to draw from, leaving them in unmapped territory. But perhaps a couple more seasons would have allowed things to settle towards a more natural feeling conclusion.
Martin himself has spoken wistfully about his mixed feelings towards the show in an interview with Rolling Stone, stating:
Of course you have an emotional reaction. I mean, would I prefer they do it exactly the way I did it? Sure. […]
It can also be traumatic. Because sometimes their creative vision and your creative vision don’t match, and you get the famous creative differences thing — that leads to a lot of conflict.
You get totally extraneous things like the studio or the network weighing in, and they have some particular thing that has nothing to do with story, but relates to ‘Well this character has a very high Q Rating so let’s give him a lot more stuff to do’.
The series has been… not completely faithful. Otherwise, it would have to run another five seasons.
I love #GameofThrones but I have to admit that they have chosen to end a beautifully timed series forcefully and rushed. There were a ton of ridiculous battle schemes and plot issues that made NO sense based on the character development and basic mapping.
— the HOLY GOOF △⃒⃘ (@TheHolyGoof) May 6, 2019
This season of @GameOfThrones is extremely predictable (Disney-like), poorly written, and very rushed. I love the show to death, but this is a poor way to end it. There is clearly so much more story that is supposed to take place, and it's being crammed into 6 episodes. #GoT
— OceanEcho (@OceanEchoTV) May 6, 2019
Speaking about the ending of the show, Martin told Rolling Stone:
You know, it’s complex. I’m a little sad, actually. I wish we had a few more seasons. But I understand. Dave and Dan are gonna go on to do other things, and I’m sure some of the actors were signed up for like seven or eight years, and they would like to go on and take other roles.
All of that is fair. I’m not angry or anything like that, but there’s a little wistfulness in me.
With A Song of Ice and Fire as of yet still incomplete, we can no doubt expect a much different conclusion from Martin’s end.
And with the final ever episode airing on May 16, it is well worth revisiting the origins of this sweeping fantasy story.
You can now watch the new season of Game of Thrones on HBO or Sky Atlantic.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.