There's been growing concern among fans of Game of Thrones and its source material, George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels, that the HBO drama is catching up to books before they're written. Most recently it was suggested that showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss, privy to Martin's overall plan for the story, might eventually wrap the series before the seventh and final book.
Martin understands his readers and viewers' frustration with such an idea -- but he also thinks it's not an option Game of Thrones will ever have to consider.
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"My dream chronology is that the books finish first, and I do have a considerable lead over them," he recently told The Hollywood Reporter. "It's true that they're moving faster than I am, the series has its own speed, but I don't see us catching up for another three years or so -- by which time another book will be out. That should give them another two seasons of material. And while I'm writing the last book, they'd be making those."
It's been almost two years since Martin published A Dance With Dragons, the fifth book in his series. There was a five-year lapse between that and the previous title, A Feast for Crows.
Game of Thrones returns on March 31 with its third season, tackling roughly the first half of book three, A Storm of Swords.
"There are other HBO shows that have had long gaps between series," says Martin, referring to The Sopranos' nearly two-year breaks before the end of its run. "I'm just hoping the series will finish. I know the books will finish."
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Recently signing an overall deal with HBO to stay on Game of Thrones for at least another two years and develop other projects for the cable network, Martin also acknowledges that some might be concerned with how thin he's spread.
"I do wish that someone would invent a 48-hour day," Martin tells THR. "And I wish that I had the energy that I had at 30."
Potential projects at HBO would almost all be culled from Martin's other efforts. In addition to Song of Fire and Ice prequel Tales of Dunk and Egg, Martin says other projects would be based on his other novels, short stories and television pilots that never came to fruition.
"I have a considerable desk drawer full of material that I think would be excellent on television," he says, noting that everything takes a backseat to the books. And the suggestion of ever directing one of the projects or an episode of Game of Thrones makes him laugh. "In the 90s, when I had a development deal, I had a couple pilot deals where I was going to direct a couple of episodes a season. It's a really different discipline, and I think I'm a writer. And the writing is hard enough."