A Song of Ice and Fire isn't completed yet in print.

I've Googled a bit, but can't determine if Martin is somehow contractually obligated to complete the books in a manner consistent with the conclusion of the television show.

I have seen published comments that at least some events shown in the show completely contradict his plans for the last two books, but could not find any indication of whether the basic thrust of the ending is something he has committed to as part of his arrangement with HBO. Is it still possible, as a publishing matter, for him to choose to have an entirely different character end up "winning at the end"? Has George commented on parallels between his envisioned ending and HBO's ending?

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    Yes, he is the author so the books go wherever he thinks they should. The series may or may not have the same ending as the books, but since there are many more people involved in the process his word has much less weight in the decision-making. May 20, 2019 at 20:47
  • Feels like the edits change the question to a different one. As originally written, it's about contractual obligations, which aren't a matter of opinion (although may be difficult to discover publicly). May 21, 2019 at 7:41
  • @PaulD.Waite I only removed it from the title to make it the broad dupe target for similar question, the question about contractual obligations remains in the body. And GRRM implying that his ending will be different sufficiently answers that I reckon
    – Aegon
    May 21, 2019 at 8:24
  • I would love to have seen Arya kill Danerys, assume her identity, and rule with Jon-with only the VIEWERS knowing that it IS Arya. May 21, 2019 at 13:37

2 Answers 2


GRRM has taken to NotABlog (His official medium to release statements and correspond with the fans) to answer this question after a fashion:

And I’m writing. Winter is coming, I told you, long ago… and so it is. THE WINDS OF WINTER is very late, I know, I know, but it will be done. I won’t say when, I’ve tried that before, only to burn you all and jinx myself… but I will finish it, and then will come A DREAM OF SPRING.

How will it all end? I hear people asking. The same ending as the show? Different?

Well… yes. And no. And yes. And no. And yes. And no. And yes.

I am working in a very different medium than David and Dan, never forget. They had eight hours for this final season. I expect these last two books of mine will fill 3000 manuscript pages between them before I’m done… and if more pages and chapters and scenes are needed, I’ll add them. And of course the butterfly effect will be at work as well; those of you who follow this Not A Blog will know that I’ve been talking about that since season one. There are characters who never made it onto the screen at all, and others who died in the show but still live in the books… so if nothing else, the readers will learn what happened to Jeyne Poole, Lady Stoneheart, Penny and her pig, Skahaz Shavepate, Arianne Martell, Darkstar, Victarion Greyjoy, Ser Garlan the Gallant, Aegon VI, and a myriad of other characters both great and small that viewers of the show never had the chance to meet. And yes, there will be unicorns… of a sort…

Book or show, which will be the “real” ending? It’s a silly question. How many children did Scarlett O’Hara have?

How about this? I’ll write it. You read it. Then everyone can make up their own mind, and argue about it on the internet.

It seems from George's statement that there will be some parts of the books' ending that will be similar to the show's ending but in other parts it will take different roads. Of course as George warns, he works in a different medium than TV so he'll be throwing in additional chapters and plots if needed. And if he likes those plots? Well it won't be first time he completely changed the story, he's known to change everything if it doesn't meet his standards and dumps hundreds of pages in trashcan if they take his characters on a journey he doesn't like. For example as cited in the article, he wanted to end the books after Red Wedding with Arya and Jon hooking up at the Wall and Tyrion acting like Jorah Mormont. How far have we come from that ending?

Not to mention, his warning about the Butterfly effect says quite a lot. In Chaos theory, butterfly effect is essentially that small changes in initial state of a system can result in much larger changes at a later state. This is something that is consistent with GRRM's writing style. If you compare GRRM's style to let's say JKR's style, you'll see that JKR is an architect, she knows what she wants and she builds the story towards that end. GRRM is a gardener, he plants some seeds, lets them grow naturally. If he doesn't like the growth, he prunes some. If he still doesn't like it, he cuts the whole thing down and starts again. He might have had an idea what the garden would look in its final shape but that doesn't mean he will stick to that shape in case something better hits him.

In other words, it is possible that this was more or less 90% GRRM's ending 8 years ago. Is it necessarily true today? Well… yes. And no. And yes. And no. And yes. And no. And yes. And since GRRM says his ending can be different, I'd say he's not contractually obligated to abide by that ending.

In a recent interview he admitted that the final season was not faithful to what he had in mind at least as far as the duration and roads not taken are concerned..

And speaking more specifically about Game of Thrones, he said: "The [final] series has been... not completely faithful. Otherwise, it would have to run another five seasons."

He also talked about his experience working with Hollywood which may or may not be veiled criticism of HBO and GoT showrunners:

It can be… traumatic,” he admitted. “Because sometimes their creative vision and your creative vision don't match, and you get the famous creative differences thing – that leads to a lot of conflict.” Speaking more generally of Hollywood adaptations, he added “You get totally extraneous things like the studio or the network weighing in, and they have some particular thing that has nothing to do with story, but relates to ‘Well this character has a very high Q Rating so let’s give him a lot more stuff to do.’”

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    Might be worth re-iteraing that "NotaBlog" is his official medium.
    – Möoz
    May 21, 2019 at 6:39
  • The link behind "NotaBlog" currently leads to a domain taster, Can U repair it?
    – user99738
    May 21, 2019 at 13:33
  • @jknappen I am not GRRM's domain administrator. It sometimes doesn't load for Chrome on me, switching browser to Safari or Firefox often does the trick. 80% of the time it loads on chrome as well. You can use webarchive copy for preview if it doesn't load for yoy from the source
    – Aegon
    May 21, 2019 at 13:36
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    How many children DID Scarlett O’Hara have? May 31, 2019 at 19:18
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    @Aegon Good answer. "In other words, it is possible that this was more or less 90% GRRM's ending 8 years ago. Is it necessarily true today? Well…" spot on +1
    – Kwola-T
    May 31, 2019 at 19:59

It actually is.

If you are asking about the final ending of Game of Thrones, which is Bran becoming the King of Westeros (except the North), then yes, this ending is George RR Martin's vision

In a recent interview with HBO itself, on their official website, makinggameofthrones, Issac Hempstead Wright (King Bran the Broken) said that Bran transforming & killing Hodor & Bran becoming King are GRRM's vision.

[Creators] David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] told me there were two things [author] George R.R. Martin had planned for Bran, and that was the Hodor revelation, and that he would be king. So that’s pretty special to be directly involved in something that is part of George’s vision. It was a really nice way to wrap it up.

Source - http://www.makinggameofthrones.com/production-diary/season-8-episode-6-finale-isaac-hempstead-wright-bran-interview

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