Game of Thrones wrapped up its record-setting fourth season in a spectacular way, leaving fans of the series to wait nearly another year for more answers surrounding their favorite characters. After four seasons, the HBO series is quickly gaining on the unfinished book series from which it draws inspiration, which turns fan’s eyes to novelist George RR Martin and his plans for the literary behemoth. It appears the well may run deeper in Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series than expected, which may lead to an uncomfortable wait for television and book fans alike.
Entertainment Weekly notes that rumors have persisted that George RR Martin’s book series could extend to eight from the previously promised seven. If this happens, this could be a cruel turn for fans of the HBO series.
The infamously slow-moving Martin has taken five or six years to release each book in his series since the first three were released in a rush between 1996 and 2000. At that pace, Martin would release Book 6 in a couple years, then Book 7 five years after. That’s about seven years between now and the alleged completion of the series. But if there’s an eighth book to wait for, now you’re looking at 12 years, which is completely unpalatable for even the most patient television fan.
Could HBO writers write another four or five seasons into the show to stall for Martin in a seven book series? It’s possible, if they really want to explore certain aspects of the world. The foundational plot line must address a myriad of messy situations that will take time and patience for both show creators and fans alike. HBO could milk a transition season or two between now and Book 6, then buy time until Book 7. But add a Book 8? Now, you’re stretching this story — fan patience — pretty thin.
The only other option would be to take the show off the air for a year or more. The creators could maybe buy a year before they started to lose their audience, but no one wants a good show off the air for too long. At some point, you build resentment and disinterest when you take a story away before it’s finished. Book fans can be patient about these things. A TV audience is a different beast altogether.
As with anything related to Martin’s epic fantasy series, expect the news to be small and slow moving when it materializes at all. In the meantime, Game of Thrones is scheduled for a fifth season to premiere next spring.