"When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground."
-- Cersei Lannister, Game of Thrones: "You Win or You Die"
As fans of the HBO series Game of Thrones may have already realized, the show is catching up to George R.R. Martin's incomplete book series A Song of Ice and Fire. The TV series is just about to begin its fourth season, covering the last third of the third novel, A Storm of Swords, and the beginning of the fourth novel, A Feast for Crows.
But thanks to Martin's notoriously slow progress on the novels, such as the six-year wait between books four and five, there's a strong possibility that the television series could end before Martin's seventh and final novel in the saga, A Dream of Spring, is released. Martin is aware of this, commenting on the subject, "They are, yes. It’s alarming."
Game of Thrones co-creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss revealed in Vanity Fair's April issue that the game plan is to wrap the series up in seven or eight seasons. "It doesn’t just keep on going because it can," said Weiss. "I think the desire to milk more out of it is what would eventually kill it, if we gave in to that."
Remarked Benioff, "Last year we went out to Santa Fe for a week to sit down with him [Martin] and just talk through where things are going, because we don’t know if we are going to catch up and where exactly that would be. If you know the ending, then you can lay the groundwork for it. And so we want to know how everything ends. We want to be able to set things up. So we just sat down with him and literally went through every character."
"I can give them the broad strokes of what I intend to write," added Martin, "but the details aren’t there yet. I’m hopeful that I cannot let them catch up with me."
Martin also realizes the problem of the show's child actors aging, which adds to the time pressure. "This is a serious concern," said Martin. "Maisie (Williams, who plays Arya Stark) was the same age as Arya when it started, but now Maisie is a young woman and Arya is still eleven. Time is passing very slowly in the books and very fast in real life."
In addition, Vanity Fair speaks with Peter Dinklage, who plays Tyrion Lannister. "It just seemed like something I had never come across before," remarked Dinklgae, "especially in the fantasy genre, which I still refuse to call this, even though we have dragons. It's just something that I was so eager to embrace, because it turned the dwarf stereotype in the fantasy genre on its head. And he’s a hero at the same time. Even in The Lord of the Rings, which I really loved — I loved those books as a child and I adore Peter Jackson’s movies — but there’s just that thing with the dwarf stuff. That’s complete fantasy. I had done The Chronicles of Narnia, with the long beard and all of that, because I definitely wanted to explore that and have an opinion of it from the inside, but I just feel like this character, Tyrion, was a complete human being. Shock!"
And lastly, Benioff and Weiss commented on rumors that President Obama receives advance screeners of the show before everyone else. "One perk of being the most powerful man in the world -- Yes, you get to see episodes early."