When author George R.R. Martin announced his new book The Winds of Winter wouldn't be published in time for Game of Thrones season 6, fans had mixed reactions. The delay meant the show would get ahead of the book series it was based on, potentially spoiling some of the twists in the books and revealing secrets that Martin hasn't gotten down on the printed page yet.
Game of Thrones won't get to spoil all of the surprises in The Winds of Winter, though. In a recent interview, Martin revealed there's at least one twist in the book the show will never be able to replicate.
Speaking with IGN, Martin explained the twist in the story couldn't be done on Game of Thrones because it involves a character who was killed on the show but remains alive in the book series. This will further fracture the story between the book series and the TV show, but it will also keep the show from revealing every upcoming twist and turn before The Winds of Winter makes it to print. Martin has already revealed season 6 will be the first time the show is ahead of the books in regard to the overall plot, but with this twist he's ensured the books will still have at least a few surprises waiting for fans.
Of course, Martin also pointed out the teaser he gave didn't really narrow things down too much. At this point there are around 15 characters who are alive in the books but dead on the show. Even if fans went through and considered every character that's in this situation, they'd still have to figure out how that character fit into the plot of The Winds of Winter and what twist might surround him or her. That makes it pretty unlikely the twist will be guessed based on Martin's one little teaser.
Once The Winds of Winter is released, it will be interesting to see if Martin takes a similar approach in the seventh book of the series. His comments in the IGN interview don't necessarily suggest the twist was done on purpose to differentiate the books from the show, but he did put a lot of thought into choosing to include the twist. If it goes over well, he may include more key moments in the (supposedly) final book to better separate the series from Game of Thrones so one won't necessarily spoil the ending of the other.
Until The Winds of Winter is out, there's sure to be speculation about what the twist is and who it will involve. Martin says he's not sure if fans will recognize the twist or not, even though he spoke as though it was a major twist. Regardless, there's a good chance that every point involving characters who were killed in the show will be analyzed to see whether they might be Martin's big twist once the book finally sees print.
Game of Thrones returns on April 24, 2016. The Winds of Winter currently does not have a publication date.