Someone lit a fire under George R.R. Martin’s behind. As HBO’s Game of Thrones continues its speedy encroachment on the end of Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series thus far, promising to start delving heavily into future-book territory very soon, the author is doubling down on his commitment to finish writing The Winds of Winter. Martin opted to forego writing an episode of Season 5 of the series—as he had done the previous four seasons—to instead focus on his book, and EW reports that Martin also will not be writing an episode for Season 6. The decision had to be made now, because Weiss and Benioff are in the process of assigning the scripts for Season 6, which begins production in late July.
Traditionally, Martin wrote one pivotal episode for each season of Game of Thrones (like Season 4’s “The Lion and the Rose” and Season 2’s “Blackwater”), but now that showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff are determined to breeze past Martin’s published material and end the series after seven seasons (probably), no doubt the author is feeling the pressure to get his own version of these post-Dance with Dragons events out to the public before it’s all “spoiled” by the show.
But the show has really veered off into its own trajectory this year, so even though it’s inevitable that Game of Thrones will end before Martin’s book series, the conclusion will likely be significantly different from how Martin’s books end up.