All men must die. It is known.
Yet there are other things that are known: George R.R. Martin is a notoriously slow writer, and the HBO show’s teenaged cast of Starks is rapidly outgrowing their slow-to-age characters.
Martin’s publisher, HarperCollins, has confirmed that the sixth “Thrones” book, “The Winds of Winter,” will not be published in 2015. This means that the show will do what Martin has long dreaded, and end before the novels.
A note about timelines:
- A Game of Thrones (1996)
- A Clash of Kings (1998)
- A Storm of Swords (2000)
- A Feast for Cross (2005)
- A Dance with Dragons (2011)
- The Winds of Winter (~2016)
- A Dream of Spring (~Unknown)
- Season 1 (2011) — Book 1
- Season 2 (2012) — Book 2
- Season 3 (2013) — Book 3 Part 1
- Season 4 (2014) — Book 3 Part 2, parts of book 4 and 5
- Season 5 (2015) — Parts of book 4 and 5, possibly the unpublished book 6
- Season 6 (2016) — Unknown
- Season 7 (2017) — Unknown
For a while Martin was pumping out a book every two or three years. But the series has grown beyond what even he predicted, and each book introduces more characters and countries to play the game of thrones. The show, however, is on a schedule. It films in the fall and premieres in the spring. And they’ve long said that they would end the series after season 7.
This leaves the future quite uncertain.
There is no way Martin will be able to publish two new novels before 2020. He also doesn’t have it all planned out in a pretty outline – just broad ideas of how the series will end.
Martin could “guide” show creators through the end of the series and spoil his own books. Or he could let the show creators write their own ending, and have a different, much more lengthy one in the novels a la “Fullmetal Alchemist.” Either way, fans had better keep track of the news. When it comes to Westeros, there are not seven gods. There is just one, really — his name is George.