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Game Of Thrones: How George R.R. Martin Really Feels About The Series Deviating From The Books

Contains spoilers for Game of Thrones season 8

Created by David Benioff and Dan Weiss, Game of Thrones has long surpassed George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels, of which there are two left, changing up plot points and adding in juicy storylines that don't exist in the same way on the page. In the last few weeks of Thrones' run on television, the man himself has opened up about his feelings on the series deviating from the books. 

Speaking with Rolling Stone, Martin revealed that part of him would have preferred Benioff and Weiss to do things "exactly the way" he did it, but another side of him completely understands that adapting books for television means altering things.

"Well, yeah — of course you have an emotional reaction," Martin said when asked if he had an emotive response when seeing that Game of Thrones had switched up certain parts of his work, specifically Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) marrying Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon), which never happened in the books. "I mean, would I prefer they do it exactly the way I did it? Sure. But I've been on the other side of it, too. I've adapted work by other people, and I didn't do it exactly the way they did it, so..." 

Martin continued, admitting that there was almost no avoiding deviation given that he's taken quite a while to finish the last two books of the A Song of Ice and Fire collection, The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring

"Some of the deviation, of course, is because I've been so slow with these books. I really should've finished this thing four years ago — and if I had, maybe it would be telling a different story here. It's two variations of the same story, or a similar story, and you get that whenever anything is adapted," said Martin, comparing Game of Thrones the series and the A Song of Ice and Fire books to the varying stories of fictional character Scarlett O'Hara's children. "The analogy I've often used is, to ask how many children did Scarlett O'Hara have? Do you know the answer to that? Three children in the book, one by each husband. She had one child in the movie. And in real life, of course, Scarlett O'Hara had no children, because she never existed. Margaret Mitchell made her up. The book is there. You can pick it up and read Mitchell's version of it, or you can see the movie and see David Selznick's version of it. I think they're both true to the spirit of the work, and hopefully that's also true of Game of Thrones on one hand, and A Song of Ice and Fire on the other hand."

The Thrones mastermind also shared that he's "a little sad" that the series is ending in just a few weeks' time, and wishes the show could have gone on for a little while longer.

"It's complex. I'm a little sad, actually. I wish we had a few more seasons. But I understand. Dave and Dan are gonna go on to do other things, and I'm sure some of the actors were signed up for like seven or eight years, and they would like to go on and take other roles. All of that is fair. I'm not angry or anything like that, but there's a little wistfulness in me," Martin stated. "Whenever a show ends, and the longer the show lasts the harder it is. You're really with a family. You're with them for a large part of the year, and not only working with them, but you're often living with them in some distant location where you're all in one hotel together. You're seeing them every day, like five days a week, sometimes seven days a week. They're very intensely involved in your life."

He then spoke about the relationships the Thrones cast have built with one another, giving particular mention to Arya and Sansa Stark actresses Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner.

"It's just a good cast, you know, relationships and friendships develop that are very, very deep. Then it ends, and everybody scatters to the ends of the earth. And a show that's lasted as long as Game of Thrones, it's the eighth season but it's like, what, 10 years they've all been together?" Martin said. "These young women have grown up together. They've become sisters, I think, in more than just the script. And the friendship that they've forged, that will endure."

Concerning the Game of Thrones' ending and the conclusion Martin's books will arrive at when A Dream of Spring is finally finished and published, Martin has said before that they actually aren't all that different. He quipped to Rolling Stone, "I can say that when my next two books come out they'll have to read them and then they can find out."

Though Martin knows how Game of Thrones will end, he hasn't watched the series since it went beyond what he had written. 

"I mean I know some of what's going on there, but I haven't actually seen any footage. So I'll be seeing that for the first time with everybody else," he said. "I haven't read the scripts, although I've had meetings with David and Dan where we've discussed stuff ... The major points of the ending will be things that I told them, you know, five or six years ago. But there may also be changes, and there'll be a lot added."

Of course, there's zero predicting exactly what will happen over the course of the remaining Game of Thrones season 8 episodes, or what Martin has cooking up in that brilliant brain of his for the ending of the novel series he's been working on for over 20 years. Some fans are convinced that the third episode of the series, which centers around the Battle of Winterfell between the living and the Night King and his Army of the Dead, just might slaughter the vast majority of characters via White Walker magic raising the corpses in the Winterfell crypt and turning the women and children seeking shelter there into undead monsters. We're hoping that doesn't happen — both on the show and in the books — but we also wouldn't be surprised if the rug gets pulled out from under our feet when we least expect it. This is Game of Thrones we're talking about — devastating twists are just part of the experience. 

Game of Thrones will air its next episode on Sunday, April 28 at 9 PM ET on HBO.