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About Those Spinoffs...

So while I was on the road out California way, the story broke about the four GAME OF THRONES spinoffs that HBO is developing. And of course the news has since spread everywhere, all over the web and all over the world.

Yes, it's true. More or less. Though, as is all too common these days, various distortions and misapprehensions have crept into some of the reports along the way. And television being the fast-moving business that it is, there have already been some further developments.

For what it's worth, I don't especially like the term "spinoff," and I don't think it really applies to these new projects. What we're talking about are new stories set in the "secondary universe" (to borrow Tolkien's term) of Westeros and the world beyond, the world I created for A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE. It is a world, and a pretty big one, and if there were eight million stories in the naked city back in the 50s, just think how many more there are in an entire world, and one with thousands of years of recorded history.

None of these new shows will be 'spinning off' from GOT in the traditional sense. We are not talking Joey or AfterMASH or even Frazier or Lou Grant, where characters from one show continue on to another. So all of you who were hoping for the further adventures of Hot Pie are doomed to disappointment. Every one of the concepts under discussion is a prequel, rather than a sequel. Some may not even be set on Westeros. Rather than 'spinoff' or 'prequel,' however, I prefer the term 'successor show.' That's what I've been calling them.

Yes, I am involved, and have been for months. I had my first meeting with HBO about the possibility of a successor show back in August, when I pitched them two possible series. (One of those is among the concepts being developed, one is not). In the months that followed, other writers were brought in and pitched other ideas. Ultimately HBO decided to go ahead with four separate developments, to be written by Max Borenstein, Jane Goldman, Brian Helgeland, and Carly Wray.

It was stated in some of the reports that I am working with two of the four writers. That's not quite right. I've actually been working with all four of the writers. Every one of the four has visited me here in Santa Fe, some of them more than once, and we've spent days together discussing their ideas, the history of Westeros and the world beyond, and sundry details found only in The World of Ice & Fire and The Lands of Ice & Fire... when we weren't drinking margaritas and eating chile rellenos and visiting Meow Wolf. They are all amazing talents, and I am excited to be working with them. In between visits, I've been in touch with them by phone, text, and email, and I expect there will be a lot more back-and-forth as we move forward.

And there's more. We had four scripts in development when I arrived in LA last week, but by the time I left we had five. We have added a fifth writer to the original four. No, I will not reveal the name here. HBO announced the names of the first four, and will no doubt announce the fifth as well, once his deal has closed. He's a really terrific addition, however, a great guy and a fine writer, and aside from me and maybe Elio and Linda, I don't know anyone who knows and loves Westeros as well as he does.

Some of the reports of these developments seem to suggest that HBO might be adding four successor shows to the schedule to replace GAME OF THRONES. Decades of experience in television and film have taught me that nothing is ever really certain... but I do think it's very unlikely that we'll be getting four (or five) series. At least not immediately. What we do have here is an order for four -- now five -- pilot scripts. How many pilots will be filmed, and how many series might come out of that, remains to be seen. (If we do get five series on the air, I might have to change my name to Dick Direwolf).

The one goal that EVERYONE involved shares here is to make these new shows just as good as GAME OF THRONES itself. No easy task, mind you. David Benioff and Dan Weiss are a tough, tough act to follow, as all those Emmys demonstrate.

I can't tell you what the shows will be about (well, I could, but I won't), but I will tell you a couple of things they WON'T be. Which will disappoint some of you, sure, but better to do that now than later, I think.

We're not doing Dunk & Egg. Eventually, sure, I'd love that, and so would many of you. But I've only written and published three novellas to date, and there are at least seven or eight or ten more I want to write. We all know how slow I am, and how fast a television show can move. I don't want to repeat what happened with GAME OF THRONES itself, where the show gets ahead of the books. When the day comes that I've finished telling all my tales of Dunk & Egg, then we'll do a tv show about them... but that day is still a long ways off.

We're not doing Robert's Rebellion either. I know thousands of you want that, I know there's a petition... but by the time I finish writing A SONG OF ICE & FIRE, you will know every important thing that happened in Robert's Rebellion. There would be no surprises or revelations left in such a show, just the acting out of conflicts whose resolutions you already know. That's not a story I want to tell just now; it would feel too much like a twice-told tale.

More than that, I will not say. Feel free to makes your guesses, if you like... but I am not going to be confirming or denying anything, so don't expect replies.

And yes, before someone asks, I AM STILL WORKING ON WINDS OF WINTER and will continue working on it until it's done. I will confess, I do wish I could clone myself, or find a way to squeeze more hours into the day, or a way to go without sleep. But this is what it is, so I keep on juggling. WINDS OF WINTER, five successor shows, FIRE AND BLOOD (that's the GRRMarillion, remember?), four new Wild Cards books, some things I can't tell you about yet... it's a good thing I love my work.


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May. 15th, 2017 04:42 am (UTC)
Syrio Forel
I would love to see a series about Syrio Forel the First Sword of Braavos or something involving the faceless men. That just my opinion.

Edited at 2017-05-15 04:51 am (UTC)
Adam MacKenzie
May. 15th, 2017 02:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Syrio Forel
Maybe then we'd get to see that lemon tree, or in reality, the garden of the Sealord of Bravos and its lack of lemon trees.
(no subject) - arkady_ - May. 17th, 2017 07:57 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 15th, 2017 04:50 am (UTC)
I've talked about it many times to anyone who will listen, but I think a Nymeria and the Rhoynar migration series would make for great television - it is such an epic tale, with stops in so many fascinating places like Naath, Yeen, and the Summer Isles. Plus, it would start with some crazy magic in season 1, and I think it'd be a little funny to start out with everything turned up to 11 rather than ending on that note. I could go on, but I will restrain myself and keep it for my own pitch in a decade.

I may not get my epic Rhoynish tale (but why? It's perfect!), but I'm very happy that the pilots being developed are from the long and fascinating history you've written, and there are countless settings in Essos alone that I'd love to see explored. I mean, I'll *obviously* take the Westerosi stuff, too, but the non-Westeros mention is definitely what has me grinning with excitement.
May. 15th, 2017 04:52 am (UTC)
i would love a show about valyria, life in the freehold, the struggle for power of the dragonlords and so on. But I'm fine with whatever HBO will do, since there are so many awesome storys to be told in your world. Something about the ironborn would be awesome too.
May. 15th, 2017 05:37 am (UTC)
This sweetened my morning :)
Thanks so much for these awesome news! The past days have been so busy and stressful that I couldn't catch a break. Reading this, distracted me from all of it. I am so excited (*sings*) ;)
Aziel Daly
May. 15th, 2017 05:40 am (UTC)

Hopefully one is the Dance of Dragons. This may cost a lot production wise but still....
Craig Dickson
May. 15th, 2017 05:44 am (UTC)
Thanks for the brief update on "Winds of Winter". I'm all in favor of you taking as long as it takes to do it right.
Ryan Crippa
May. 15th, 2017 06:03 am (UTC)
The fact that you're intimately involved with the writing of the pilots and that the writers seem both capable and respectful toward your work soften the blow somewhat, but after seasons 4-6 of Game of Thrones, I don't trust HBO, Benioff OR Weiss to adapt their way out of a paper bag.

Unpopular opinion, I know, but with the show's glaring flaws in light of how excellently crafted the novels are in comparison (and the show's complete lack of thematic, narrative or character coherence at every turn), I have less than no faith in live action fantasy adaptations anymore.

Edited at 2017-05-15 06:04 am (UTC)
May. 15th, 2017 06:40 am (UTC)
The best news, ever.

I have started writing my own Medieval fantasy book series, It took me a year and a half and I am only on page 90, people have no idea, how hard it is to do what you do, and with the amount of Content and world building your series has, its a incredible achievement.

I am releasing a medieval evil Fantasy statue line called Spectral knights, actually, your videos on youtube inspired me to write it, and I read game of thrones books, literally daily.

Love what you doing, is it possible when I am finished to send you a copy of the short stories, I am writing.
anyway, love your work.

great news
May. 15th, 2017 10:35 pm (UTC)
Re: Easily
Sorry, but I don't read unpublished work. Good luck with them, though.
Amanda Bjork
May. 15th, 2017 07:08 am (UTC)
Great news all around!

Hoping for an Aegon's Conquest and/or prior show myself.

I was wondering if you'd comment on whether the rumors are true that Neil Gaiman is assisting with ASoIaF? He's in my top 10 authors (since before his show.. and you're in there too of course) and I would find that to be a pleasant "twist" in itself.
May. 15th, 2017 10:36 pm (UTC)
Re: Co-author
Neil is wonderful, a great guy and an amazing writer, but he has his own books and shows to worry about. Don't believe these stupid rumors.
May. 15th, 2017 07:30 am (UTC)
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May. 15th, 2017 07:51 am (UTC)
Considering that you said no, not a Robert's Rebellion series, that probably nips in the bud my little fan-boy series dream.
I Want to/ Wish to see a Greyjoy Rebellion Mini-Series.
Sure, we know all the main plots, but I really wanna see the Baratheon brothers in their Prime.
Jamie and Jorah and Baristan and Thoros, big Victarion and Euron . I want to see the Iron Fleet. I want to see The Royal and Redwyne fleet. It would be a glorious series .
May. 15th, 2017 07:52 am (UTC)
Exciting news, George!

"He's a really terrific addition, however, a great guy and a fine writer, and aside from me and maybe Elio and Linda, I don't know anyone who knows and loves Westeros as well as he does."

Not to take away from the four other writers, but it's good to know at least one of the pilot scripts is being developed by someone with a deep knowledge and love for the setting. I'm sure the others have done their research and will produce great scripts (I'm especially interested in what Goldman and Wray are working on, though I don't suppose we'll ever learn what they're developing unless their scripts go forward), but there's something to be said about being really immersed in the world before setting out to adapt some aspect of it to the screen.

Caner Ataseven
May. 15th, 2017 09:32 am (UTC)
Just seeing you write the words "The Winds of Winter" in a post makes me excited and happy. Wish we were getting some clues or comments on the book from you once a while.

Are you still thinking that you can finish itthis year, as you thought in January?
(no subject) - ADragonDemands - May. 15th, 2017 12:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - J Snow - May. 15th, 2017 02:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
So this means - Jimi M - May. 15th, 2017 09:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 15th, 2017 08:21 am (UTC)
As long as it's the same Universe I'm happy.
If it's about Nymeria's ten thousand ships, the Blackfyre Rebellion or Valyrian Freehold then even better
Carmen Ny
May. 15th, 2017 09:18 am (UTC)
About those spin-offs and ASOIAF
Geez, you´re not a slow writer and you ought to know it, Mr Martin! I just read Kerouac took 10 years and several drafts to write On the Road. You have constructed a world you keep gardening, plots spanning decades with more than 1000 characters. Take your time, we as fans ought to wait. Who of us would have this self-discipline and patience? Certainly not the tailgaters among us.

There´s still enough meat in the story for numerous rereads. Enjoy your life and and well-earned success, write what wants to be written by you now - and thank you for allowing HBO to give us some traets to gobble down until you then.

And thank you for your work, your depiction of trauma helped me to overcome the devastating death of my young nephew and inspired me to work with traumatised children. I have much to thank you for, you helped me healing and fighting back like the Hound.
Bernhard Vienna
May. 15th, 2017 09:52 am (UTC)
Can the shows please be about:
Carcosa (Lovecraft with lots of strange colors)?
Tyrion growing up and Tywin destroying Castamere?
Arya becoming a badass assassin (and discovering her sexuality while trying to stay human)?

And what else would be cool? The Westeros Dragon Invasion?
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George R.R. Martin
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