George RR Martin has revealed he will go ahead with a twist in the next Game of Thrones book The Winds of Winter that will not be able to happen in the TV adaption, because the character has been killed off on the show.
In an interview with IGN, Martin said he had decided he would include the twist after a couple of years of deliberation. “I have decided to do it. Will you know it? I don’t know. It is fairly obvious because it is something that involves a couple of characters, one of which is dead on the show, and not dead in the books. So the show can’t do it, unfortunately, because they have killed someone I have not killed.”
Last month, Martin confirmed he had missed the last deadline – 31 December 2015 – that would have allowed the sixth novel in his fantasy series to be published before the next Game of Thrones series begins in April.
Deviations from the Song of Ice and Fire novels have happened frequently before in the TV show, with Martin telling fans concerned about the show spoiling the books: “Some of the ‘spoilers’ you may encounter in season six may not be spoilers at all … because the show and the books have diverged, and will continue to do so.”
In the IGN interview, Martin said revealing that the coming twist involved a dead character would not spoil anything because “at this point there are like 15 characters who are dead on the show who are still alive on the books.”
“I get all this stuff about being bloody-minded but [Game of Thrones showrunners] David [Benioff] and Dan [DB Weiss] are bloodier than I am,” he joked.
When asked if he ever felt he had to “beat the show”, Martin said: “If I did have that thought, I’ve lost – because the show has caught up and is in the process of passing me. Ideally, I would have liked to have finished all seven books and have the story complete, but the show moves at a faster pace than I do and that’s partly because I am a slow writer.”
Martin attributed the delayed release of The Winds of Winter to “a lot of distractions in the last few years”, including the TV show itself, for which he wrote a few episodes in early seasons and still helps produce. “It is what it is, and ideally I wish I could hold up The Winds of Winter right now and tell everyone to go buy it … but it is still not done so all I can do is continue to write it.”
Game of Thrones fans recently got a little jolt of hope from the author when he wrote on his blog that he was now focused entirely on the books. In reply to a fan who asked if he would be writing an episode for the TV show’s seventh season, Martin wrote: “I am not writing anything until I deliver Winds of Winter. Teleplays, screenplays, short stories, introductions, forewords, nothing. And I’ve dropped all my editing projects but Wild Cards.”