George R.R. Martin feels Game of Thrones needed thirteen seasons to be a faithful adaptation. Based on Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels, the HBO series began airing in 2011 and quickly became a cultural phenomenon. The show wrapped earlier this year with season 8, which was a divisive outing for Game of Thrones, to say the least.
The first six seasons of Game of Thrones ran for ten episodes each, with earlier years hewing quite close to the source material. However, Martin released his fifth novel in the series the same year the show premiered and has been famously delayed while penning the next installment. For a few seasons, it seemed as though the show was taking its time in an effort not to overtake the books. When it became apparent that Game of Thrones was moving beyond Martin’s novels, suddenly the glacial pacing the series had become known for began to speed up exponentially. Season 7 and Season 8 were seven and six episodes, respectively, and many fans felt the story needed more time to unfold. It would appear that Martin agrees.
Speaking with Fast Company (via Digital Spy), the author explained, "The [final] series has been... not completely faithful. Otherwise, it would have to run another five seasons.” Martin also discussed the process of adapting his novels, admitting, "It can be… traumatic.” He continued on, "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.” Martin also mentioned the difficulties of dealing with the opinions of the network and studio on top of everything else.
This isn’t the first time Martin has mentioned having troubles in adapting his work or that he's expressed sadness the series ended so soon. The author previously stated the Game of Thrones TV show wasn’t very good for him. He’s obviously grateful for the immense success of the series, but in terms of his continuing effort to complete his novels, it seems to have been a bit of hindrance. Game of Thrones may have come to an end, but there is more than one spinoff in the works, so HBO isn’t yet finished with the world Martin has created.
Any author will tell you that a good ending is incredibly difficult to write. There really was no way to please everyone, but there is also no denying that the last two seasons of Game of Thrones, particularly season 8, felt rushed in the eyes of many viewers. It does feel like showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss may have done the story a disservice by seemingly racing towards a conclusion. However, they were out of source material to draw from and that must’ve been panic-inducing. At this point, it’s best to accept that the show and the books are completely different animals. Fans are still anxiously awaiting getting their hands on the next installment in A Song of Ice and Fire and there are still two novels that have yet to come out. One thing is certain, when The Winds of Winter is finally released, it won’t feel as though the story was rushed.