George R.R. Martin, the mastermind behind Game of Thrones, isn't quite sure how to feel about the HBO adaptation ending. The 70-year-old author and producer still hasn't wrapped up his A Song of Ice and Fire series despite the final season of the show premiering next month, and regrets being unable to keep up with HBO's pace. (ASOIAF began in 1996; its most recent entry, No. 5 of seven, came nearly eight years ago.)

Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Martin explained, "It's been an incredible ride, and almost all of it has been great." He has "mixed feelings" about the show concluding, but he remained positive about his experiences. "Obviously, I wished I finished these books sooner so the show hadn’t gotten ahead of me. I never anticipated that."

The show closely followed the blueprint in Martin's novels until it specifically started its own path in Season 6, although Martin continued to give rough outlines for the showrunners and even wrote episodes. "I haven’t read the [Season 8] scripts and haven’t been able to visit the set because I’ve been working on Winds," Martin explained, referring to book six, The Winds of Winter. “I know some of the things. But there’s a lot of minor-character [arcs] they’ll be coming up with on their own. And, of course, they passed me several years ago. There may be important discrepancies.”

Martin said while it is the end "for a lot of people, it's not the end for me." With two A Song of Ice and Fire novels remaining, he said, "I better live a long time because I have a lot of work left to do."

He's also creatively involved with HBO's Thrones prequel/spinoff quest, including as a producer.