Despite creating and writing the A Song of Ice and Fire book series, which formed the basis for HBO's Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin says he no longer has time to watch the series. The acclaimed author agreed to sell the rights to the books to the premium channel, while also exercising approval over the hiring of the series’ longtime showrunners, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. Martin also used to occasionally write the scripts for episodes of the series, writing one episode in each of the first four seasons, although he hasn’t done so since season 4.
With the storylines of the series having surpassed those of the published books a couple of years ago, much of the attention on Martin has centered on when, exactly, he might be completing the long-awaited sixth book in the saga, The Winds of Winter. And when it is published, how will it differ from what’s transpired on the show? Martin gave an interview this week, and while he didn’t reveal when he might finish the next book, he did make a surprising admission about his relationship with the series.
In an interview with the Metro newspaper, Martin revealed that he is not currently watching Game of Thrones, due to how busy he is with writing and touring. And while Martin did not exactly criticize the current direction of the series, he did say it deviates considerably from where his books are headed:
“The book series and TV adaptation go their separate ways… On the screen characters are killed right and left. About twenty of them have died already, which are quite alive to me and will appear in a new book.”
It’s been reported over the years that Martin has told Benioff and Weiss the conclusion of the books, and that they’re on the same page in that respect. But we’re well past the point in which the books and show have begun to evolve separately.
Game of Thrones fans, like a lot of fandoms, can be somewhat impatient when it comes to when they’ll be able to read the new book. But it’s worth remembering that Martin is the reason Game of Thrones exists. And if it’s better for his creative process, when it comes to finally finishing the book, to not watch the series, then that’s his prerogative and fans of the show and books should respect that decision.
[UPDATE: According to a report by EW, Martin emailed the outlet and explained he does watch the series. The author attributed the confusion to an issue of translation in which he said he didn't watch any TV while traveling internationally.]
Game of Thrones season 7 concludes this Sunday with 'The Lion and the Wolf' @9pm on HBO.