How is the Game of Thrones TV series made, when there are no books written by Martin yet to base it on?

I've read all of the books and watched all of the episodes, but I don't get it. Season 7 is running currently, but there is no book that covers it.

Has the Westeros universe moved to small screens? Is the story from the books finished by the TV series?

  • 2
    G.R.R. Martin told everything to D&D, but they have changed lot of things covered by the books so the end could be completely different in the books
    – Kepotx
    Sep 1, 2017 at 8:07
  • 1
    By your logic how does any TV show get made if there are no books beforehand?
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Sep 1, 2017 at 8:16
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    @TheLethalCod - Game of Thrones is based off of a book series. Apparently all of the material from the books has been gone through, and now they're still creating the series. So the OP is wondering how, because there are no current books to base it on.
    – Mithical
    Sep 1, 2017 at 8:19
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    @Mithrandir I understand the premise of GoT and the question. I'm just pointing out the obvious, they write it themselves, only in this case they also seek help from the author of the books.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Sep 1, 2017 at 8:21
  • 5
    Very very poorly.
    – Möoz
    Sep 1, 2017 at 8:59

2 Answers 2


George R.R. Martin is a co-executive producer for the show and in earlier seasons wrote at least one episode.

The producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss even addressed this particular issue back in 2014 prior to the start of Season 4:

“Last year [2013] we went out to Santa Fe for a week to sit down with [Martin] and just talk through where things are going, because we don’t know if we are going to catch up and where exactly that would be," Benioff says in the April issue of Vanity Fair. "If you know the ending, then you can lay the groundwork for it. And so we want to know how everything ends. We want to be able to set things up. So we just sat down with him and literally went through every character.”

Martin noted that not all of the pieces of the puzzle are in place. “I can give them the broad strokes of what I intend to write, but the details aren’t there yet," he tells Vanity Fair. "I’m hopeful that I cannot let them catch up with me.”

While in recent years George has pulled back from the show to focus on The Winds of Winter (or at least that is the offical answer, hard-core fans believe that GRRM and D&D have had creative differences that have caused Martin to withdraw his guidance) he had already given the show creators enough information to complete series.

It the end, D&D have had to fill in some of the gaps with their own stories. Both the show and the books know their end, which is has been stated to be the same, but are taking different routes to get there.

[Q] You’re now at a point where you’ve caught up with the books. What does that mean for the future?

Benioff: Season five is still very much within the books for the most part. The very first scene of the season and the very last scene of the season are book scenes. It’s more season six that’s going to be diverging a bit. We’ve had a lot of conversations with George, and he makes a lot of stuff up as he’s writing it. Even while we talk to him about the ending, it doesn’t mean that that ending that he has currently conceived is going to be the ending when he eventually writes it.

Weiss: It’s like looking at a landscape and saying, “OK, there’s a mountain over there, and I know that I’m getting to that mountain.” There’s an event that’s going to happen, and I know that I’m moving in the general direction of that event, but what’s between where I’m standing now and that thing off on the horizon, I’m not totally sure. I’ll know when I get there, and then I’ll see what the terrain looks like around me and I’ll choose my path once I get closer to it. He figures a lot of this stuff as he goes. He always says he’s a gardener, not an architect.

[Q] You’ve had to make your own editing choices as you’ve made the show.

Benioff: One of the most common questions we’ll get asked is, “Why did you change this from the books?” The answer is always the same, really. It’s just because we thought it would be better for the series. Some of them are really fun characters but we already have the largest cast I think in television history and it just seems to grow every year.

  • 2
    You should fix the lie you have in your last sentence, he pulled back from the show because of conflicts with D&D and also to focus on spinoffs which will make more money. Regards, an angry fan that just wants to read some books.
    – Edlothiad
    Sep 1, 2017 at 12:29

The Game of Thrones TV show is just and adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire book series, not a perfect transposition; these are two different things, and if you have seen and read everything, you are certainly aware of the many differences between the two: some different characters, many different characters' fates, many different events, and so on.
With this premise, it is safe to say that the TV show is based on the book series, but it is a different thing. In a certain sense, it could be considered a not entirely accurate summarizing of the books.

If I remember correctly, Martin was well aware that the series was proceeding faster than his books, and pointed Weiss & Benioff on the "right" direction, by giving them all the most important details of the plot of the still unpublished books, but otherwise, the authors of the show are creating their own story and universe according to their vision.

Certainly, the Westeros universe has not moved from the books to the screen; the books tell a more detailed story, with many more complex plots and subplots, and even if the books are published very slowly, Martin never expressed his desire to stop the series before it is finished.

On a side note, the subject of the publication dates of the books is a can of worms that you probably aren't willing to open. I, certainly, don't.

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