HBO Pressures ‘Game of Thrones’ Author to Finish Books; ‘Rome’ Actress Joins Season 4

Published 2 years ago by , Updated July 26th, 2013 at 6:21 am,

When Will George R R Martin Finish Game of Thrones HBO Pressures Game of Thrones Author to Finish Books; Rome Actress Joins Season 4

Season 4 of Game of Thrones has barely started production, and we’ve already had a good number of updates: an “In Memoriam” video was shown at Comic-Con 2013 that mourned the departed characters while showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss teased aspects of the upcoming season, not to mention the casting of a pivotal Season 4 character, Oberyn Martell (“The Red Viper of Dorne”).

As fans of the hit HBO series know by now, Game of Thrones is based on a series of fantasy novels by George R.R. Martin. The story cycle is called A Song of Fire and Ice and currently encompasses five books, the latest of which, A Dance With Dragons, was published in 2011. The fourth book, A Feast For Crows, was published in 2005. The lengthy wait between books has created some trepidation among fans regarding the future of the series. Namely: will the cycle see a conclusion within our lifetime?

Recently, the notion that the show could end after seven seasons triggered a certain amount of speculation as to what happens if (and when) the HBO series catches up with the overall plot of the books.

Sibel Kekilli and Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones Second Sons HBO Pressures Game of Thrones Author to Finish Books; Rome Actress Joins Season 4

At a recent press conference in Beverly Hills, HBO chief executive Richard Plepler and programming president Michael Lombardo were confronted with just this dilemma. This lifespan of seven seasons is apparently not the official company line, as Lombardo said the following (courtesy of Entertainment Weekly):

“As far as I’m concerned, they can go on as long as there are stories to tell. We certainly haven’t gotten anywhere near that conversation with [showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss].”

So where did this “seven seasons” notion come from? Frank Doelger, one of the show’s producers, who a few months ago said, “I would hope that, if we all survive, and if the audience stays with us, we’ll probably get through to seven seasons.”

Lombardo went on to address the elephant in the room (Martin’s near-glacial pace as a novelist):

“I know there are issues with the books and catching up.” 

And HBO CEO Plepler? He put it somewhat more bluntly:

“Our line to George was ‘keep writing.’ ” 

Lombardo echoed this sentiment: “Yes. Get busy writing.” 

Does this news signal some kind of tension between Martin and HBO? Not necessarily. We do know that Book Six of the series, The Winds of Winter, is “tentatively planned for release” in 2014, and Season 4 of the show still has to get through the second half of the third book, A Storm of Swords.

Game of Thrones Season 3 Trailers Dragons HBO Pressures Game of Thrones Author to Finish Books; Rome Actress Joins Season 4

Things get a bit sticky with books four and five: roughly the first half of A Dance With Dragons takes place concurrently with the whole of A Feast for Crows, and untangling this narrative will likely prove something of a nightmare for the showrunners.

So there’s still quite a bit of time before the series “catches up” with the books, all told. While it’s true that the writers could interweave much of books four and five (which would tighten up the narrative quite a bit, as anyone who has read could confirm), there’s so much story still ahead. Martin’s on the fifth book and winter has technically not begun.


Indira Varma Joins ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 4

Meanwhile, Variety reports that Season 4 of GoT has yet another addition: Indira Varma will join the cast as Ellaria Sand, the lover of Prince Oberyn Martell of Dorne (to be played by Pedro Pascal of The Good Wife).

Like Ciarán Hinds, who joined the cast in Season 3 as Mance “King Beyond The Wall” Rayder, Varma is perhaps best known for her role on HBO’s Rome. She played Niobe, the wife of Lucius Vorenus (Kevin McKidd), who believed herself a widow and thus had a hard time adjusting to her husband’s return. She has also appeared in Bride and Prejudice, Human Target and Luther.

Indira Varma in Rome HBO Pressures Game of Thrones Author to Finish Books; Rome Actress Joins Season 4

In A Storm of Swords, Ellaria accompanies Prince Oberyn to King’s Landing when Oberyn takes the seat on King Joffrey’s small council which was offered to his brother, Prince Doran Martell, the ruler of distant Dorne. Ellaria is the mother of the youngest of Oberyn’s bastard daughters, a group of smart, cunning young women known collectively as the “Sand Snakes,” and who have a tough reputation.

Without giving away too much, suffice to say that Ellaria could prove to be a central figure in the intrigues of Dorne, a kingdom which has not forgotten certain atrocities visited upon its high-born daughter, Princess Elia, at the behest of Tywin Lannister.

In a story full of strong women, Ellaria is not exactly on the level of Cersei Lannister, but with showrunners Benioff and Weiss’s penchant for combining characters in the book in order to speed the narrative along, there’s a chance that Ellaria could take on the characteristics of some other strong Dornish women in the long run. Varma certainly has the fire for the role, and could prove a welcome addition to an ever-expanding cast.

What do you think, Screen Rant readers – are you happy to hear that HBO is pressuring George R.R. Martin to finish A Song of Ice and Fire? Or do you think he should finish them at his own pace?


Game of Thrones season 4 will premiere on HBO in spring 2014.

Source: EWVariety

Follow Anthony Vieira on Twitter @malaclyptic
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  1. i feel like HBO telling George to hurry up would affect the quality of the writing at least a little bit. On the flip side maybe a little pressure is what he needs to get those ideas flowing. im sure it will all be great either way

    • I really don’t want the last books to suck due to pressure for the show. On the other side of that coin, that dude REALLY needs to write faster or work on it more. I was dumbfounded when I read he had said was also working on “Other projects.” That’s his right I suppose, but an incredibly stupid decision when the TV show is running behind him like a Bull with it’s horn aimed at his rectum.

      • god forbid anything were to happen to george r.r. martin, who would finish the books and then the show? im sure hbo has to have some kind of plan in place for an emegency, right? lol

        • He has stated in interviews that he has discussed with the producers of the show his vision of how it will end. Just in case he dies beforehand.

        • He really could take a leaf out of Bernard Cornwell’s book. None of his books are rushed, yet he still manages to produce very good work

        • David Gemmell died whilst writing the Troy trilogy, yet his wife did a very good job of completing it. HBO could have done worse than film some of his stuff

        • see what I wrote below

      • Ya, he’s starting to enjoy life just a Little TOO much

    • Except the books are already pretty terrible. It’s amazing how HBO has turned a rather bland fantasy series and gave it feeling.

      • i am at a loss for words.

      • Steve – the definition of a rather bland and stupid person

      • I wouldn’t call them bland, but I would call them terrible. And yes, the books work much better as a tv series.

      • great contribution Steve. Really added to the conversation

        • Am I reading all this correctly… people think that GRRM’s A song of Ice and Fire series is bland and terrible!?

          • seemingly… even though the series, although awesome, does not even begin to compare to the awesomness of the books…

      • Disagreeing with the mainstream to the second degree! So cool, Steve, now give your hipster glasses a twirl and kill yourself for ironic value.

  2. As long as Mr. Martin doesn’t take six years between books 6 and 7 and HBO splits the remaining books into two seasons each, they should be good; however, if either one or both of those things don’t hold true, they could be in trouble.

  3. ive not read the books but i think the show is on season 3?

    but what im trying to say is the winter has still not come at book 5? hhahahaa,jeez. thank god i suppose that i dont read. i would hate to wait years to read the end.

    • Oh no, it’s snowing atm.


  4. Oh Martin, you lazy sob Everyone complains that you need to hurry up. HBO is not the first to say that. You’ve benn writing them like what 17 years altogether? Basically, 5-6 year gaps between books?

    Hell, i think you will first die than finish those g*dd*mn books already. You’re not taking your time, you’re sitting on your ass, doing nothing.

  5. I doubt George will write any faster if he is being told to, he seems to have his own time-consuming style to write.

    I spotted a little mistake in the article:

    “In A Storm of Swords, Ellaria accompanies Prince Oberyn to King’s Landing when Oberyn takes the seat on King Joffrey’s small council which was offered to his __father__, Prince Doran Martell, the ruler of distant Dorne.”

    Oberyn is Doran’s brother.

    • It says brother

  6. Season 8 – the adventures of Dunk and Egg
    Season 9 – Robert’s Rebellion and the Mad King’s Fall
    Season 10 – The Winds of Winter

    • Season 11- Hot pies is secretly the Song of Fire and Ice.
      Season 12- Hodor Flashes the Queen his Junk.
      Season 13- The Hound Opens a Taco shop just south of Casterly Rock.

  7. A Song of Ice and Fire, not a Song of Fire and Ice.

  8. If I was Martin, I’d tell HBO to go suck it. He should be left to write the books at his own reasonable pace. (Note the ‘reasonable’.)

  9. Let him finish them at his own pace! Don’t ruin the books by rushing them George!!

  10. He needs to wrap it up now, there can’t be more than 1 or 2 left. The last couple were patchy at times.

    • Right, cause you’ve been hanging in there for the last 17 years for him to finish the series. People like you are the problem with adapting things to film, nothing is ever good enough.

  11. The thing is, he sort of has to write the last two books at once to wrap it up properly. I’d wager he’ll finish the whole thing by next year, then release Winds of Winter in late 2014 or early 2015 and dream of Spring in late 2016 to coincide with the final hbo 2016/17 season.

    but as a lover of the books (and the show) I CAN’T WAIT FOR BOOK 6!!!! I wish I could spoil it all… for those who haven’t read the books, it just gets better.

    • It does ? I would’nt characterize it as that (well, there are a few great revelations, but really ,it’s getting messy)

      • Messy is putting it nicely. I would almost go as far as downright boring. Almost. There are so many main characters in so many places, and their individual plots plod along (for most of last 2 novels anyway) at such a painfully slow pace.

        Sure, the writing is still top notch, and the character development is there, it’s just that it’s taking more and more patience to bare the longer more tedious gaps in between any real development in plot.

  12. Not HBO’s place.

  13. Happy that Niobe is joining. More love for the Rome cast!

  14. HBO is pressuring Martin? SOMEBODY CALL NEIL GAIMAN!

  15. I can understand HBO’s concern but these books are about as dense and detailed as anything I’ve ever read (only 3 so far) and could become unglued and a mess quickly if Martin is rushed.

  16. Although I would like to see the books finished as soon as humanly possible, I think it is very important that George Martin takes his time writing the follow-up novels. I would rather wait for a quality product, then have George rush out some watered-down storyline. winter has only just arrived and there is plenty of story to tell yet. With that said, there’s nothing I’d rather be doing right now in reading the new novel.

  17. I don’t know, writing takes time to rush books only lead to dumb story lines. I think the show took a gamble basing it’s show on books that are still works in progress, IDK.

    • Totally agree. Nothing I hate most as a writer than being pressured into finishing something.

      Then again, some of my own personal favourite work was due to upcoming deadlines. My fave piece of all so far is a short story that I wrote the day before a deadline for 8 hours straight after having writer’s block for ages and dreaming most of what was subsequently written down the night before.

      Depends how Martin works best I suppose.

    • Agreed AyannaCosta – HBO knew the books were not done – they should of made the first couple seasons before starting to air them.

  18. A stop gap measure would be to do what Starz did with Sparticus and do a prequel season, perhaps showing Robert’s Rebellion.

    • well they should since Rheagar’s and mad kings legacy plays a big part in the storylines, and that is something they haven’t adressed.. And that would also bring Ned Stark back wich would be another level of awesome

  19. I don’t blame them. Many of the books appear to have no direction whatsoever. Take the 4th book which deals almost entirely with a family nobody has heard of or really has much interest in. Why introduce more players ? Did he get bored of the regulars ?

    GRRM also likes to build up characters then get bored with them and destroy everything they’ve done. Take Daenarys who apparently is resurrected with the baby dragons starts taking cities… only to have it all crash down to nothing.

    The final book left me feeling where the f–k is he going with this ?

    • Got to agree mostly

    • Idk man I am finishing book four right now. The guy at the bookstore said to power through it cause its a challenge but i enjoyed it. I liked the…… SPOILERS

      Greyjoy stuff, there is some very cool moments with them, as well as the stuff in Dorne with the Martells and Mrycella that was new material. Arya has a good adventure. Some interesting things happen and I like having Cersei as a POV character. Its nice to add some new characters and see what theyre thinking and plotting

  20. I think people are reading to much into what was said. I suspect it more jest than any serious pressure they are trying to put on George.

  21. It looks to me that after Decades in the Shadows of Hollywood & Writing ,now that Martin has the Spotlight, It might be a bit hard to force him back in his “Writer’s Box”. He seems to finally be enjoying his Celebrity & “Just Rewards”. Can’t blame him. He was in the “Desert” a Long time.
    I have never heard mention of a Back up plan (should something unhappy befall him) to finish the books. To carry on with a Designated Writer as a few others have done. I hope he cares enough for his Rabid following to plan for that possibility.

  22. It’s not a good situation. I do not want the story to be compromised because he’s rushing but taking on other projects and traveling extensively is not a good idea either.

  23. LMAO – George Martin has been stringing fans along with this series since 1996. He’s in no hurry to write anything, nor does he care what the fans think. HBO is kidding itself if the CEO thinks it can pressure Martin to finish the series. Martin will be dead long before that happens.

  24. He isn’t the picture perfect of health either. The man looks like a dying Santa Claus, His diet looks like it consists beer, nachos, and cotton candy. I would bet that he has a few health problems as is. I could imagine it is also one of the reason why they are pushing him to finish the books.

  25. Poor old george doesn’t look the absolute picture of health. I’d be pressuring him too. Or maybe Brandon Sanderson is lined up in the wings for another call up?

  26. After reading all the comments I have come to the conclusion that I must do something in order to help everyone.
    I have decided that I will begin writing a continuation to the series in case Martin dies before completing it.
    Since Martin has a tendency of killing off main players and then fabricating new ones, I shouldn’t have much trouble creating something that doesn’t contradict what he completes before his death.
    I will eradicate all the main players and create new ones to replace them. I will also leave plenty of room for adjustments in case he actually does get a chance to complete another book. I will then go to HBO and save them out of the tight spot and become an American hero. I may even get the Nobel prize!

  27. I really enjoy watching a great series. LOTR trilogy was awesome. In my professional opinion current producers are doing a lousy job – there are major gaps in the first three seasons – too much is being cut from the books. Leave George R. R. Martin alone and fire the HBO screenwriters and producers and hire a Peter Jackson (LOTR) and you will get 10 seasons.

  28. This really isn’t that tough to fix. With the author’s permission the screen writers carry on from where he left off. They do this while letting the viewers know several times that these are not from the original books. That way the book fans will still be inticed to see how he concluded the series while the film fans will have perhaps a totally different version.

  29. Considering Martin has supposedly planned the release of book 6 for 2014 and that he already has the basic plot of the final book figured, hopefully with a quicker pace we could see book 7 around 2017-18. Which for a fan of the books and series is tough to swallow. But the showrunners have done a good job trying to slow things down by splitting book 3 into 2 seasons. And with books 4 and 5 being as lengthy as they are wouldn’t be surprised to see 3 seasons made out of them. Now by then hopefully Martin will have released book 6 with 7 well on its way. This is only a prediction but depending on Martin’s writing pace he should finish with time to spare or worst case the series would be put on hold for an extra year leaving fans anxious for the final season (or 2). But I don’t believe HBO has to worry they’ve been doing a good job working with David D.B. and Martin to keep everything going.

    • Considering his books average 200,000 words and involve so much detail and intricate characterisation, I think he’s moving at a phenomenal pace. If he was churning out an 80,000 word crime fiction novel with 2D characters set in 21st century NY then I’d expect him to pop it out in 3 months but no, he’s doing great :)