There is only one thing we say to deadlines: not today. While Game of Thrones’ eighth and final season prompted mixed feelings in its fans, the show’s finale may be just the thing George R.R. Martin needed to finish his long (long, long)-awaited follow-up books in the Song of Ice and Fire series. On Sunday, The Observer will publish a rare interview with Martin, wherein he admits that Game of Thrones airing concurrently with his writing was not the motivator he had hoped for.
“There were a couple of years where, if I could have finished the book, I could have stayed ahead of the show for another couple of years, and the stress was enormous,” he says. “I don’t think it was very good for me, because the very thing that should have speeded me up actually slowed me down. Every day I sat down to write and even if I had a good day — and a good day for me is three or four pages — I’d feel terrible because I’d be thinking: ‘My God, I have to finish the book. I’ve only written four pages when I should have written 40.’ But having the show finish is freeing, because I’m at my own pace now. I have good days and I have bad days and the stress is far less, although it’s still there … I’m sure that when I finish A Dream of Spring you’ll have to tether me to the Earth.”
Martin calls the show’s ending “freeing,” and reiterates that the decisions David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, and the HBO series writers made in the show’s final seasons won’t necessarily impact his plans for his next ASOIAF books, saying, “it doesn’t change anything at all … You can’t please everybody, so you’ve got to please yourself.”
Even if A Dream of Spring’s ending won’t exactly match the show’s, fans may want to hold off on deleting their petitions for the time being. Some of the series finale’s less popular moves, like Bran becoming king, were already planned for the book series, according to Isaac Hempstead Wright. Back in May, Martin predicted that his ending for the books will spark plenty of books-versus-show debates, but assured fans that at least we’ll know what happens to Lady Stoneheart. As he put it on his blog: “How about this? I’ll write it. You read it. Then everyone can make up their own mind, and argue about it on the internet.”