It’s been a running joke that George R.R. Martin needs to write faster. When the HBO Game Of Thrones series was first announced, after all the fanfare and rejoicing died down more than a few people wondered what would happen if the television series caught up to the books. It was a valid concern considering the time frames between books. Well, now we know.
We all laughed at the video above, and many of us thought George deserved a little poking with a stick even though we also understood it takes time to do his thing. Now Game of Thrones show-runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have come clean on eventually catching up to the books, and going beyond what has been published. That’s right, for the first time in history, a television show is going to spoil the source material book before it is even published.
This isn’t something either Martin or the show wanted, but showbiz being showbiz, the show must go on. While readers wait for the sixth book in the series The Winds of Winter, viewers, including a majority of those readers, will find out what happens on the show.
Benioff and Weiss recently appeared at the Oxford Union and when asked about the possibility of the show moving past the books Benioff said:
Luckily, we’ve been talking about this with George for a long time, ever since we saw this could happen, and we know where things are heading. So we’ll eventually basically meet up at pretty much the same place where George is going [in Book 7, A Dream of Spring]. There might be a few deviations along the route, but we’re heading towards the same destination. I kind of wish there were some things we didn’t have to spoil in terms of the books, but we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. So the show must go on.
When you look at it, nothing will really change. Television shows often make tweaks to the source material but end up with the same end result. That’s what Benioff and Weiss are planning. They have discussed the ending with Martin and know where the books are going. Now they just have to forge ahead using the current plots brewing in the series to get the characters there.
Now a lot of people are pulling their hair and asking themselves why Martin couldn’t just write faster, or stop going to conventions and just write, but as Benioff says:
[A]t the same time, George has his process. And if it takes him 20 years to finish the series, that’s what it should take him. He’s writing, to my mind, the great fantasy epic of our time. So we can’t rush him and I wouldn’t want to rush him. [But] at the same time, we can’t put the show on hiatus.
Will the show getting ahead of the books ruin the reading experience for fans?
I think the thing that’s kind of fun for George is the idea that he can still have surprises for people even once they’ve watched the show through to the conclusion. There are certain things that are going to happen in the books that are different from the show, and I think people who love the show and want more — want to know more about the characters, want to know more about the different characters who might not have made the cut for the show — will be able to turn to the books.
We’ve already seen the show diverge from the books in certain subplots so it isn’t really something new, now the coin has flipped and the spoilers on the other foot. The real question now is will this affect the series ratings? Will fanatic book readers not watch the show until after they have been able to read the books?
I imagine that staying spoiler free is still going to be a rough task. Not to mention that everyone wants to know how this series will end and if their own theories will stand the test of Martin’s writing.
Where do you stand on this?