George R.R. Martin says books won't end like Game of Thrones

Martin promises plot variations (and similarities) when The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring finally come out.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
2 min read

Will Arya and Jon have the same ending in George R. R. Martin's book series as they did on the HBO show? Probably not.

Helen Sloan/HBO

HBO's Game of Thrones battled its way to a controversial finale Sunday, but life in Westeros isn't over. 

In addition to the various successor shows being planned, author George R.R. Martin is still working on two more books in the Song of Ice and Fire series that inspired the hit fantasy show. And on Monday night, Martin assured fans the books won't march in lockstep with the show.

"How will it all end?" Martin wrote on his site, Not A Blog. "The same ending as the show? Different? Well … yes. And no. And yes. And no. And yes. And no. And yes."

Martin reminded readers that where the HBO series' final season was limited to eight hours of screen time, he expects to have at least 3,000 manuscript pages in his final two books, The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring.

"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," Martin wrote. "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."

But don't argue with the man about whether the show or print ending is the real one. As he points out, Scarlett O'Hara of Gone With the Wind fame had three children in Margaret Mitchell's 1936 novel, and only one in the famed 1939 movie, and neither is the "right" number.

"I'll write it. You read it," Martin wrote. "Then everyone can make up their own mind, and argue about it on the internet."

 Martin wouldn't give a date when he might finish The Winds of Winter.

"I've tried that before, only to burn you all and jinx myself," he wrote. "But I will finish it, and then will come A Dream of Spring."

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Originally published May 20.