George R.R. Martin has big updates on Winds of Winter and why his ending is very different from the show

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George R.R. Martin has offered his latest update on the next entry in his A Song of Ice and Fire series, The Winds of Winter. The latest news comes from Martin’s Not A Blog website, where he said on Friday that the ending he sees for his books has shifted far away from the ending of HBO’s Game of Thrones series.

Martin has said in the past that the ending of his book series will likely be quite different from the ending of the show, but he’s never said it so definitively and clearly as he did in this new post.

Throughout the post he describes his writing process as something like gardening, tending to the story and seeing where it grows. This also brings him to explain where he sees it growing now:

“What I have noticed more and more of late, however, is my gardening is taking me further and further away from the television series,” Martin writes. “Yes, some of the things you saw on HBO in Game of Thrones you will also see in The Winds of Winter (though maybe not in quite the same ways)… but much of the rest will be quite different.”

He goes on to call this change inevitable, in large part because the books of larger and more complicated than the series ever could be. There are dozens and dozens more characters in A Song of Ice and Fire than in HBO’s series, along with many point of few characters and many characters that have very different forms in the novels — including fan-favorite Euron Greyjoy who Martin says is, “way, way, way, way different” in his version of the story.

To put things even more clearly, Martin explains:

One thing I can say, in general enough terms that I will not be spoiling anything: not all of the characters who survived until the end of Game of Thrones will survive until the end of A Song of Ice and Fire, and not all of the characters who died on Game of Thrones will die in A Song of Ice and Fire. (Some will, sure. Of course. Maybe most. But definitely not all) ((Of course, I could change my mind again next week, with the next chapter I write. That’s gardening)).

This major departure should come as welcome news for ardent fans of both Martin’s novels and fans of the HBO series that were disappointed with how it ended. While small departures were always presumed (and, again, frequently confirmed by Martin himself), this latest update means fans will have a reason to return to the story with the promise of a very different — and hopefully more satisfying — ending in the cards.


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Martin doesn’t offer updates on The Winds of Winter often, in part because he says he doesn’t want to spoil the story. While he’s offered no word yet on when he might release this latest book, we do know that he’s been working on it on and off since A Dance of Dragons was published in 2011. We also know, based on what he’s said, that he’s restarted bits and pieces of the book quite a few times.

Whenever The Winds of Winter does release, Martin will still have one more book to finish out his planned seven-book arc for A Song of Ice and Fire. Alongside his work on Winds, Martin is also producing several Game of Thrones spinoff series for HBO, as well as working on a few other books in the A Song of Ice and Fire universe.

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