With Game of Thrones now over, fans of the world George R.R. Martin created can turn their attention to the yet-to-be-published final two books in the series. Not that fans haven’t been doing that for a while now, of course…but it should come as no surprise that the author isn’t planning on speeding up his pace.
Martin’s fourth book in the series, A Dance With Dragons, came out eight years ago this month, right around the time the hit HBO show debuted. And while the author says there was pressure in the middle there to finish the books as the series started to catch up, that has diminished now that the show is over.
“I felt a tremendous amount of pressure for years now,” Martin told Entertainment Weekly. “The most pressure I felt was a few years ago when I was desperately trying to stay ahead of the show. There was a point when the show was coming out in April and my editors said if I could finish the book by December they’d rush it out. And the pressure I felt that fall was the greatest pressure I’ve ever felt and then at a certain point it became apparent I’m not going to finish it by then. I don’t only want to finish it, I want to make it as good as I possibly can. Since then there’s been pressure but not like there was at that point. There’s no longer a race. The show is over. I’m writing the book. It will be done when it’s done.”
“It’ll be done when it’s done” doesn’t inspire confidence in fans of A Song of Ice and Fire, but a good book is always better than a rushed book. Plus, there’s another one to follow that—and who knows if its completion will take the better part of a decade again.
When that final book, A Dream of Spring, does come out, though, don’t expect the author to change what he originally planned for his characters based on internet anger or what may or may not have happened on HBO.
“The whole last three years have been strange since the show got ahead of the books,” he said. “Yes, I told [showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss] a number of things years ago. And some of them they did do. But at the same time, it’s different. I have very fixed ideas in my head as I’m writing The Winds of Winter and beyond that in terms of where things are going. It’s like two alternate realities existing side by side. I have to double down and do my version of it which is what I’ve been doing.”
Head over to EW to read more from Martin, including why he will never bow down to the internet. And, while fans wait for The Winds of Winter, HBO is currently filming a Game of Thrones prequel series which, we’re guessing, could arrive before you hold the book in your hands.