Even though Game of Thrones season 5 looks to be diverging from its source material to a greater degree than any of the prior seasons, the show’s creators have confirmed that the TV series and the books will end in the same place. And the show will get there first!
Speaking to the Oxford Union this weekend, D.B. Weiss and David Benioff confirmed what we’ve already suspected: Game of Thrones will outpace George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, thus spoiling TV audiences for the books’ eventual ending.
There was speculation that Weiss and Benioff, knowing Martin’s intended ending, would take the TV series in an entirely different direction. But while they’ve placed some characters in new locations and plotlines for season 5, it sounds as if the endgame remains unchanged. 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. And so we’ll eventually, basically, meet up at pretty much the same place where George is going; there might be a few deviations along the route, but we’re heading towards the same destination. I kind of wish that there were some things we didn’t have to spoil, but we’re kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place. The show must go on… and that’s what we’re going to do.
As Vanity Fair points out, even if The Winds of Winter comes out before Game of Thrones season 6 (which will premiere in 2016), the seventh ASOIAF novel will not make it to bookstores before 2017 and season 7. At that point, fans will have to choose between waiting to see Martin’s plots unfurl in a more detailed way, or the show’s streamlined narrative. Benioff addressed this dilemma with a journey-not-the-destination kind of answer:
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 in 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.