George R.R. Martin shuts down 'absurd' Game of Thrones books rumour

Author George R.R. Martin waves to photographers at the premiere of the film "Tolkien," at the Regency Village Theatre, Wednesday, May 8, 2019, in Los Angeles. The film explores the formative years of J.R.R. Tolkien, author of the classic fantasy novels "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings." (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
George R.R. Martin (Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Barristan Selmy was a total legend in Game of Thrones.

Before he was savagely cut down by the Sons of the Harpy in season five, he was considered one of the most honourable men in Westeros.

But Thrones author George R.R. Martin has found himself having to deny rumours that Ian McElhinney, the actor who played the former Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, appears to have started.

Quotes attributed to McElhinney claim that not only has Martin finished his final two books in the series, The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring, but he struck a deal with showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff that he would not publish them before the HBO show concluded.

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Fans have been waiting for the books since A Dance With Dragons, his fifth book in his Song of Ice and Fire series, was published in 2011.

The show overtook the books back in season five, with Martin briefing Weiss and Benioff with a roadmap for where the plot is headed so they could continue with the cable juggernaut series.

So these remarks, alleged to have come from McElhinney at a fan event called Epic Con last month, are pretty incendiary.

Ian McElhinney as Ser Barristan Selmy (Credit: HBO)
Ian McElhinney as Ser Barristan Selmy (Credit: HBO)

“George has already written books six and seven, and as far as he’s concerned there only are seven books,” he reportedly said.

“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 six and seven, 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 one 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.”

But Martin has said that the comments 'make not a whit of sense'.

“No, THE WINDS OF WINTER and A DREAM OF SPRING are not finished,” he said in an emphatic blog post.

“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?

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“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.”

The Winds of Winter has blown past a series of hoped publishing dates, but then its predecessor, A Dance With Dragons, took Martin six years to pen, so he's patently not a writer to be rushed into things.

Last month, he offered the most minimal of updates, saying in an interview that writing of Winds 'has been going very well lately'.

Game of Thrones will air its final ever episode on Sunday night in the US, released by Sky Atlantic in the early hours of Monday morning.

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