HBO's Game of Thrones and George R.R. Martin's book saga have continued to diverge over the years, and it looks like they will only continue to do so going forward. As revealed in a new interview with IGN, Martin says he is moving forward with a twist that involves a character alive in the books but dead on the show.
When asked if he had decided to move ahead with a twist in The Winds of Winter, he had long been contemplating, Martin confirmed he had.
"I have decided to do it," Martin says. "Will you know it? I don't know. It is fairly obvious because it is something that involves a couple of characters, one of which is dead on the show, and not dead in the books. So, the show can't do it, unfortunately, because they have killed someone I have not killed."
We, of course, don't know exactly which character Martin could be referring to, but one major character that is dead on the show but alive in the books is Stannis Baratheon.
That, however, doesn't narrow it down much, as Martin says "at this point, there are like 15 characters who are dead on the show who are still alive in the books. "I get all this stuff about being bloody-minded but [Game of Thrones showrunners] David [Benioff] and Dan [DB Weiss] are bloodier than I am," he says.
Early on in the interview, Martin expresses regret over being unable to finish his book series before the show, citing a number of reasons. He goes on to say that the show moves at a faster pace than the books; he is a slow writer and numerous distractions popped up over the last several years that prevented him from making quite as much progress as he would have liked, including working on the show as both a writer and producer.
"It is what it is, and ideally, I wish I could hold up The Winds of Winter right now and tell everyone to go buy it ... but it is still not done, so all I can do is continue to write it."
Martin revealed at the end of last year that he had missed multiple deadlines toward the end of 2015. Had he finished the book before the year's end, the novel would have been in the hands of readers before the April debut of the sixth season of Game of Thrones. As it is now, the show will spoil some of the events to come in future novels, though not all. As Martin pointed out in a blog post, some spoilers won't be spoilers at all, as the book and show have diverged and continue to do so with each passing season.