Game of Thrones is coming to an end, but it didn’t have to. Last night at the Emmys, the creator of Westeros George R. R. Martin told Variety that the show could have continued for many years to come. “We could’ve gone 11, 12, 13 seasons,” the A Song of Ice and Fire author said. why are we bidding farewell to Jon Snow & Co.? Well, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss decided eight seasons were more than enough. “David and Dan have been saying for like five seasons that seven seasons is all they would go,” Martin acknowledged. “We got them to go to eight but not any more than that. There was a period like five years ago when they were saying seven seasons and I was saying 10 seasons and they won; they’re the ones actually working on it.”

GOT led the Emmys last night with 22 nominations for its seventh season. The show walked away with wins in Best Drama Series, Best Supporting Actor for Peter Dinklage, and for its special effects.

Even with Game of Thrones ending, this isn’t the last we’ll see of Martin or Westeros. While the author sticks around to work on prequels, this is the end for stars Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Dinklage, Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner, and others. “I know all of the actors, as great as they are, all the actors are anxious to get on and play other roles,” Martin said. “They don’t want to spend their entire lives playing one role and that’s fine, that’s great, we had such an amazing cast.”

One untitled prequel by Jane Goldman that has been green-lit for production is set thousands of years before the time of Daenerys or Jon Snow and follows “the world's descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour." And as HBO's description promises, "it’s not the story we think we know."