I can’t imagine how hard it’s been for George R.R. Martin to try and finish a book series while a wildly popular TV adaptation of said series dominates the cultural zeitgeist. It must have been even harder when HBO’s Game of Thrones surpassed the storyline of Martin’s books and started exploring uncharted territory. In that moment, the tale was no longer purely Martin’s, it became something brand new. But would that brand new thing affect his upcoming books? And would the conclusion of the show turn fans off to reading the conclusion of the books?
Well, Martin has long said that the final seasons of GoT have had NO effect on his final books. They exist as two different beasts, Martin says. For awhile the books and the show were on the same track but those tracks diverged long ago and now they are completely separate entities. But he won’t lie, he’s happy the show is over.
Why? Because Martin says the stress of trying to stay ahead of the TV show was driving him bonkers. He was writing furiously, desperate to remain a couple years ahead of the series and it just wasn’t working. It sounds like a hair-pulling, nail-biting experience. Here’s what he said to The Guardian:
Well, that doesn’t sound a bit of fun. I’m surprised Martin didn’t give himself an ulcer with that sort of pressure. I’m glad his stress levels have lessened considerably since the show’s finale. Now he can focus on delivering his next book by, oh, 2035.
As we know, many fans were displeased with the final season of Game of Thrones so Martin’s final two books are probably looking mighty fine to them right now. I’m sure a lot of readers are excited to see an ending they’re satisfied with, one that Martin has had planned all along. The interest and anticipation for his final books is probably even higher now that so many were upset with how the show ended. Martin should be thanking HBO because the show’s lackluster conclusion has probably helped him in the long run!
For those keeping score, Martin has two more books coming in his epic Game of Thrones series. The next book, The Winds of Winter, is set to hit bookshelves in…a year? Two years? He’s been incredibly vague about when the book will be released. But at least he can now devote time to it without fear of HBO, fans and the lurking stress of both breathing down his neck.