Now that Game of Thrones’ series finale has come and gone, even more attention is being paid to author George R.R. Martin. He’s mostly been minding his own business and living his life while the rest of the world harangues him about the final two entries in the series of novels that started it all.
Writing, as everyone should know by now, takes time, but with the Westeros spotlight placed firmly back on him, Martin took to his personal blog to share a few congratulations and an update on his current progress. Martin explained The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring are still works in progress, and addressed questions about how much of the book’s events would be similar to Game of Thrones given that parts of the eighth season’s plot were inspired by ideas from Martin’s unfinished work:
How will it all end? I hear people asking. The same ending as the show? Different?
Well… yes. And no. And yes. And no. And yes. And no. And yes.
I am working in a very different medium than David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss], never forget. They had six hours for this final season. I expect these last two books of mine will fill 3000 manuscript pages between them before I’m done… and if more pages and chapters and scenes are needed, I’ll add them. And of course the butterfly effect will be at work as well; those of you who follow this Not A Blog will know that I’ve been talking about that since season one. There are characters who never made it onto the screen at all, and others who died in the show but still live in the books… so if nothing else, the readers will learn what happened to Jeyne Poole, Lady Stoneheart, Penny and her pig, Skahaz Shavepate, Arianne Martell, Darkstar, Victarion Greyjoy, Ser Garlan the Gallant, Aegon VI, and a myriad of other characters both great and small that viewers of the show never had the chance to meet. And yes, there will be unicorns… of a sort…
Book or show, which will be the ‘real’ ending? It’s a silly question.
During all of season eight’s commotion, it became really, really easy to lose sight of just how far away from the source material the show had gotten because of how large and sprawling Game of Thrones became in its own right. It seems obvious to say now, but of course Martin’s novels are going to play out differently. They’ve got to, because a significant amount of important characters are so enmeshed in the story that it can’t really come to a close without their involvement.
Interconnected as they are, Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire are their own separate, different things, and so it’s fitting that they’ll both close out in ways distinct and unique to them. Of course, Martin isn’t going to get into specifics—for instance, if the same person ends up “winning”—which is to be expected.
But in case you thought it was All Books, All the Time from here on out…sorry to break it to you:
I’m still busy. As a producer, I’ve got five shows in development at HBO (some having nothing whatsoever to do with the world of Westeros), two at Hulu, one on the History Channel. I’m involved with a number of feature projects, some based upon my own stories and books, some on material created by others. There are these short films I am hoping to make, adaptations of classic stories by one of the most brilliant, quirky, and original writers our genre has ever produced. I’ve consulted on a video game out of Japan. And then there’s Meow Wolf…
A dream of spring indeed.
Jon Snow’s Happy Ending in the Game of Thrones Finale Explained
Game of Thrones ended well for all of Ned Stark’s children—with Bran as King of the Six Kingdoms, Sansa as Queen in the North, and Arya headed out on a grand adventure—except for Jon. His thanks for saving the world from a mad tyrant was a life sentence at the Wall. At least that’s what his punishment was supposed to be, because in the series’ final scene Jon was rewarded for always serving Westeros by being granted freedom from it.
Jon was transported from King’s Landing to the Wall by two members of the Night’s Watch, whose numbers are minuscule after many died fighting at the Battle of Winterfell. Waiting for him there was Tormund and the wildlings, many of them old men, women, and children. Tormund had told Jon they’d stay at Castle Black until the winter storms passed, roughly half a year earlier.
When he arrived at Castle Black, Jon was wearing his Stark clothing, but soon was back in his black Night’s Watch garb. He also appeared to have been reappointed as Lord Commander, as we saw him standing on the raised platform above the mixed group of wildlings and his fellow brothers in the courtyard. It makes sense they named him their leader again after Dolorous Edd died fighting the dead.
When Jon walked through the crowd the wildlings and his fellow brothers parted for him with reverence. Jon saved the freefolk by letting them come through the Wall, and without his efforts to unite everyone at Winterfell, the Night’s Watch and the world would have fallen to the White Walkers. Everyone there knew what Jon had done for them, and how he was murdered at that very castle and sent back there after killing Daenerys, all for doing the right thing. If any two groups know Jon got a raw deal with his sentence, it was the wildlings and Night’s Watch. The final scene of the show proved that.
There was no need for Jon to escort the wildlings through the gate. The lands beyond the Wall aren’t just free of enemies now, they are free of anyone. Those who stayed behind when Jon brought them to Castle Black were surely consumed by the army of the dead, and Tormund doesn’t need directions on how to traverse his homeland. As they continued out past the Wall amid signs of a thawing winter, Jon was surprised to hear the gate behind him closing. There was no reason to shut it. The wildlings and Night’s Watch will likely have a friendly alliance for a generation, since they all fought and lived together.
The gate was shut because the Night’s Watch was letting Jon go. They know he didn’t deserve a fate of living at the Wall defending Westeros against nobody. His brothers were thanking him for everything he had done for them and the Seven Kingdoms by freeing him of any responsibilities to it.
We thought Jon might make that decision on his own before the finale. He had told Tormund he wished he was going with him, and it was the only place he had ever found true happiness, when he was with Ygritte. Instead, it appears the Night’s Watch made that decision for him. As Jon realized what they were doing for him, a slight smile came across his face, before he headed out into the forest, another one of the freefolk who bends no knees and plays no part if any future game of thrones.
Tyrion said there would still be a Night’s Watch because “the world will always need a home for bastards and broken men,” but Jon is neither. He was a good man who always tried to do right by the Realm, no matter the personal cost, and in the end he was rewarded for his service by finally being allowed to stop living for everyone else. He was given his freedom and the chance to find peace. “And now his watch is ended.”
Game of Thrones ended well for Ned Stark’s children. All of them.