In an interview with Vanity Fair George R.R. Martin finally acknowledged what we all, in our hearts, knew: With books six and seven not out yet, Game of Thrones-the-show is definitely probably going to outpace the books on which they are based. But don’t worry, he says! Everything’s gonna be OK.
Annie Leibovitz photographed the Game of Thrones cast for a sumptuous Vanity Fair cover, and while we could stare at it forever (you can see the full version, with Jaime Lannister and a Blue Steel-ing Jon Snow, here), the real treasure is inside the magazine’s pages, where George R.R. Martin was asked point-blank whether the show is catching up to his books. “They are. Yes,” he says. “It’s alarming.”
(Before someone comments with the link; yes, we know George R.R. Martin is not our bitch. He is in no way obligated to write books six and seven at any pace other than the pace he wants to set for himself. However, as fans of a series, we are not obligated to avoid speculating about and discussing the future of said series. We good? Moving on.)
To those following casting news for season four, premiering next month, this should come as no surprise. While big chunks of plot from the latter half of season three still need to be covered, both Daenerys’ and Bran’s storylines, at least, appear to be heading into book five territory. Books four and five take place at the same time, just covering different characters, so the series isn’t going to be keeping to the X-number of seasons for X book plan. Put simply, with book six not out yet, certain characters are going to run out of things to do pretty damn quickly.
But with A Song of Ice and Fire‘s notoriously lengthy times between books, the show catching up is something that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss anticipated might happen. “Last year we went out to Santa Fe for a week to sit down with him [Martin] and just talk through where things are going, because we don’t know if we are going to catch up and where exactly that would be,” said Benioff. “If you know the ending, then you can lay the groundwork for it. And so we want to know how everything ends. We want to be able to set things up. So we just sat down with him and literally went through every character.”
It’s not a “Yes, we are going to catch up,” but does anyone honestly think they won’t at this point? Anyone other than Martin, that is, who says “I can give them the broad strokes of what I intend to write, but the details aren’t there yet. I’m hopeful that I can not let them catch up with me.”
George, you sweet summer child.
Weiss also reiterated that the show will probably last for seven or eight seasons, which matches what we heard earlier from one of the show’s producers. “It doesn’t just keep on going because it can,” explains Weiss. “I think the desire to milk more out of it is what would eventually kill it, if we gave in to that.”
As much as it pains me to my very soul that we might be almost to the halfway point of the series—assuming there are only seven seasons, with ten episodes a season, that would mean we only have 40 hours left. Put it all together, and that’s binge-able in a week, easy. It’s not enough, I can’t handle it!—it pleases me that the showrunners have no intention of pulling a Supernatural and keeping the show on life support long past the point when it’s lost its creative spark. And hey, there always has to be an ending if you’re working with a series like A Song of Ice and Fire. Even if we’re many years out from reading it for ourselves.