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The Big Regret George R.R. Martin Has About Game Of Thrones

In a franchise as massive and successful as "Game of Thrones", George R.R. Martin, the writer of the novels that the show is based on, doesn't have much to complain about. The show has made him enormously wealthy, and he even wrote on several episodes of the series in the early part of its run.

The series wrapped up its initial run with an ending that was controversial, although HBO has already released a cast list for a prequel series called "House of the Dragon," which is set to hit the service sometime in 2022. In spite of the controversy around the series finale — and the final season more generally — Martin has plenty to celebrate around the enormous success of the series. In a recent interview with Chicago's PBS affiliate WTTW, though, Martin said that he has one big regret about the series, and the way that it relates to the novels he's published from his saga already. 

Martin wishes he could have stayed ahead of the TV show

As Martin makes clear in the interview, he only has one big regret about the series. "Looking back, I wish I'd stayed ahead of the books," he said. Only five of seven planned installments in Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" saga have been published to date, and the last one hit bookstands in 2011, shortly after "Game of Thrones" began airing. 

"My biggest issue there was when they began the series, I had four books already in print, and the fifth one came out just as the series was starting in 2011," Martin continued. "I had a five-book head-start, and these are gigantic books, as you know; I never thought they would catch up with me, but they did. They caught up with me and passed me."

The sixth book in Martin's story, "The Winds of Winter", has been in the works for a decade now, and it still doesn't have a clear publication date set. 

The series deviated from Martin's planned ending

"Game of Thrones" stuck pretty close to Martin's books through its first five seasons, but then showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff were forced to make it on their own once they ran out of material to adapt. The show stopped adapting the books for its last three seasons, but Martin still provided Benioff and Weiss with key plot points that the show should hit as it moved toward the end. 

"You know, that made it a little strange because now the show was ahead of me and the show was going in somewhat different directions," Martin said during the interview. "So, I'm still working on the book, but you'll see my ending when that comes out."

That likely means that Martin's ending will be different from the one viewers saw on the show. While it may share some similarities in the broad strokes, many of the details are likely to look different. Now, the only big question left is when exactly those new books will be available — and in the meantime, you can stream "Game of Thrones" on HBO Max.