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George R.R. Martin slams 'absurd' rumor about the final Game of Thrones books

Entertainment Weekly logo Entertainment Weekly 5/13/2019 James Hibberd
Conleth Hill standing on a rock: George R.R. Martin slams 'absurd' rumor about the final 'Game of Thrones' books © Provided by TIME Inc. George R.R. Martin slams 'absurd' rumor about the final 'Game of Thrones' books

Not that he should have to — because the rumor made no sense in the first place — but George R.R. Martin is firmly shooting down “absurd” media reports that he’s secretly completed the final two books in his Song of Ice and Fire saga.

Multiple media outlets reported that actor Ian McElhinney, who played Ser Barristan Selmy on Game of Thrones until season 5, told a fan convention that Martin has actually finished writing The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring — but that GoT showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss had made Martin agree to not publish his books until after the HBO series was finished airing.

Here are the alleged quotes from the actor:

“George has already written Books 6 and 7, and as far as he’s concerned there only are seven books. But he struck an agreement with David and Dan, the showrunners on the series, that he would not publish the final two books until the series has completed. So if all goes well, in another month or two we might get Books 6 and 7, and I’m intrigued to know how Barristan, for instance, ends up going through those final two books. George, I talked to him during Season 1 and he did say to me that Barristan had a very interesting journey. But unfortunately I didn’t get to play all of that, so we’ll have to wait and see.”

Now here are all the things that would need to be true for this to also be true: McElhinney — who hasn’t worked on the show in four years — would have to know a rather explosive secret that nobody else had ever revealed. Martin would have to be lying to fans and media about his book progress for years, creating fictional updates to fool everybody. And the showrunners would somehow need to have the power and the desire to stop Martin from publishing when they’ve always been publicly supportive of Martin getting the saga done.

Here’s Martin on his blog: “No, THE WINDS OF WINTER and A DREAM OF SPRING are not finished. DREAM is not even begun; I am not going to start writing volume seven until I finish volume six. It seems absurd to me that I need to state this. The world is round, the Earth revolves around the sun, water is wet… do I need to say that too? It boggles me that anyone would believe this story, even for an instant. It makes not a whit of sense. Why would I sit for years on completed novels? Why would my publishers — not just here in the US, but all around the world — ever consent to this? They make millions and millions of dollars every time a new Ice & Fire book comes out, as do I. Delaying makes no sense. Why would HBO want the books delayed? The books help create interest in the show, just as the show creates interest in the books. So… no, the books are not done. HBO did not ask me to delay them. Nor did David & Dan. There is no ‘deal’ to hold back on the books. I assure you, HBO and David & Dan would both have been thrilled and delighted if THE WINDS OF WINTER had been delivered and published four or five years ago… and NO ONE would have been more delighted than me.”

So there you have it.

McElhinney was a bit disappointed with his character’s ending, as he expressed in his interview with EW in 2015. But there’s no massive conspiracy to deny GoT fans Martin’s novels.

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