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'Game of Thrones' author drops hints about new book

George R.R. Martin notes "it would be impossible" for the HBO version and the upcoming "Winds of Winter" book to match up exactly.

Will Jaime and Cersei walk the same paths in George R.R. Martin's new book as they do on HBO? Unlikely. 
Helen Sloan/HBO

Warning: Possible spoilers for "Game of Thrones" ahead.

With less than a week till the new season of "Game of Thrones" premieres on HBO, some fans are rewatching old seasons, and flipping through author George R.R. Martin's books to get ready.

Although Martin doesn't talk much about the progress of "The Winds of Winter," the upcoming sixth novel in his "Song of Ice and Fire" series, he did drop a tidbit on his Not A Blog site Sunday night.

In the middle of a discussion about TV and book series to seek out (Martin's a fan of "Fargo" and "Good Girls Revolt"), an Italian teenager asked Martin a question.

"I'm sorry but... I don't like 'Game of Thrones,'" wrote Mattia Costantini, referring to the TV show. "I know that the show is the show and your books are your books, but I don't like it. Please, tell me that ('Winds of Winter') will diverge from the show in terms of storylines..."

And believe it or not, Martin answered!

"WINDS will be different in some ways, but will parallel the show in others," the author wrote. "At this point, there are probably a dozen characters who are dead on the show but alive in the books, so it would be impossible for the two to remain the same. (Also, of course, there are characters in the books who have never even existed on the show, like Victarion Greyjoy, Jon Connington, Penny, Arianne Martell... )."

This isn't exactly new information -- Martin has said before that "Winds" won't mimic HBO's scripts -- but it's noteworthy that Martin points out that in some ways the book will indeed parallel the show. (If we had to guess, we'd say the Lady Stoneheart plot will stay in the books only, but poor Shireen Baratheon is doomed in all media.)

And "Thrones" already has an enormous cast, but the four names Martin reels off are interesting. 

  •  Victarion Greyjoy is Theon's uncle and Euron's brother, and in the books, murdered his own wife after learning she was carrying Euron's baby. Juicy story, but we've got enough Greyjoys in the show. 
  •  Jon Connington was briefly the Hand to the King for the Mad King and lost in battle to Robert and Ned, wrong time period to make much of an impact here. Maybe he'll turn up in one of the spinoffs -- sorry, "successor shows." 
  • Penny is a woman with dwarfism who falls for Tyrion in a book plotline where he hides in plain sight as a party entertainer. (They ride on pigs and dogs and mock-joust, like the scene at Joffrey's wedding.) Don't count on seeing Penny onscreen, but her plotline in the books is an interesting one, as is nearly everything involving Tyrion. 
  •  Arianne Martell is a fan favorite in the books. On the show, she's kind of represented by Ellaria Sand. Fans can get their Arianne fix by reading this chapter Martin released from the unfinished book.

Maybe Martin was willing to break the taboo of mentioning the new book because Costantini refused to pull out the inevitable question the author gets asked constantly: When is "Winds of Winter" coming out? 

"I'm not going to ask you about when TWOW will come out," the teen said before asking about the show and books diverging. "I know it's hard, like really really hard, you've got a lot of things to cover, and people don't understand how hard writing a book like this is."

Hard indeed, but in the end, worth it -- we hope. "Game of Thrones" returns to HBO on Sunday. As for "Winds of Winter," your guess is as good as anyone's -- and don't ask Martin!

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