Game of Thrones fans have less than a month to go now until the HBO fantasy series picks back up, with its anticipated fifth season. The fourth and fifth installments in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire literary franchise ("A Feast for Crows" and "A Dance with Dragons") will provide the source material for Game of Thrones season five. However, it has already been publicly acknowledged that the show will be making even more significant departures from Martin's novels in the episodes ahead (be it in terms of character deaths, brand-new story material, or certain still-living players being sidelined this season).
Why? Well, one of the reasons is because Game of Thrones has caught up to Martin's published novels on some of their plot threads. There's even a real danger that, by the time the sixth season rolls around, the show will have overtaken their source books' progress altogether. Hence, Martin plans to skip some major upcoming conventions, in order to concentrate on finishing his sixth (and the penultimate) Song of Ice and Fire installment, 'The Winds of Winter".
Martin posted an entry on his blog (the aptly-titled Not a Blog), informing his followers that he had hoped to attend two major conventions in the months ahead: the 2015 World Fantasy Convention and the International Comic-Con in San Diego. However, as of right now, he is planning to skip both events, as he explained (note: Son of Kong is Martin's joking way of referring to "The Winds of Winter"):
I don't often attend the World Fantasy Convention (not to be confused with the World Science Fiction Convention, which I have only missed once thirty years), but I was there the last time it was held in Saratoga, and I had a great time. A terrific town, a wonderful con.
This year the convention is returning to Saratoga once again, and I was hoping to return as well. I'm not a guest of honor, and I'm not (so far as I know) getting an award; I just wanted to go.
Reluctantly, however, I've just had to scratch Saratoga off my list of 2015 appearances. For no reason having to do with the con itself. I am sure it will be terrific. It's just a matter of time.
I have too much to do. Too many things on my plate. Son of Kong foremost amongst them.
My apologies to anyone who saw Saratoga on my Appearances page and planned to go in order to see me. I won't be there. Go anyway. You'll have a great time.
Also, I have decided against attending this year's San Diego Comicon. Same reason. But since Comicon was never listed on my Appearances page, scratching it is not as big a deal.
That being said, Martin concluded his post by saying "I reserve the right to change my mind," should be finish "The Winds of Winter" before these 'Cons roll around. There is no firm publishing date for the author's penultimate Song of Ice and Fire installment as of right now. However, given that he's suggesting there's a chance (however slight) that he might have some free time this summer after all, the indication is that Martin could finish "Winds of Winter" within the next few months.
Game of Thrones finds itself in a rather unprecedented situation: being a U.S. TV show adaptation that could feasibly wrap up before its source material does. Martin, for his part, has clarified that although he certainly controls the fate of his Song of Ice and Fire narrative, he does not have final say on how the televised version of his story will go about reaching the same conclusion. Here is his recent quote on that matter, in case you missed it:
“As we go forward, I expect I will have a voice in all these decisions. But mine will only be one voice among many, and there are all sorts of other factors that can come into play. I will say, I am incredibly fortunate in having partners like HBO, and David Benioff and Dan Weiss. Seven seasons, ten seasons, with or without one or two feature films… in the end, all that matters is that we tell a great story, with a great end.”
Martin has already filled in Benioff and Weiss - the showrunners on Game of Thrones - on how he intends to finish the Song of Ice and Fire, so it's really on them to connect the dots as they will, hereon out. That should help to relieve some of the pressure on Martin to both complete "The Winds of Winter" and then dive head-first into the novel finale, "A Dream of Spring", in a timely manner.
That's another way of saying: Game of Thrones should be fine, regardless of Martin's writing progress. At this point, it's really more about the author being able to finish his fantasy epic the way he wants for his own sake, more than anything else.
Game of Thrones season five begins airing on HBO next month, beginning Sunday, April 12th.
Source: George R.R. Martin