The series finale to Game of Thrones airs this Sunday, concluding a nine-year saga that spanned eight seasons. Though we won't get to see George R.R. Martin's version of the ending on the TV screen, fans are expecting the conclusion to the A Song of Ice and Fire saga with books six and seven, The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring.
Entertainment Weekly reports that a rumor concerning the novels has circulated. The story cites an alleged interview with Ian McElhinney (who played Ser Barristan Selmy up to Season 5) and suggests that the two novels have long been finished, though Martin "struck a deal" with GoT showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss which prevents him from publishing the works until HBO has had its fun.
Martin, who has admitted to struggling with the books, took to his blog to dispel the rumors, vehemently denying he completed the books. "I will, however, say for the record—no, THE WINDS OF WINTER and A DREAM OF SPRING are not finished," he wrote. "DREAM is not even begun; I am not going to start writing volume seven until I finish volume six."
The novelist says withholding the final installments in the series is not advantageous for himself, his publishers, nor HBO. "Why would my publishers ... 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."
Martin's frustration with the rumor stems from the years of work and frustration in finalizing the series. The last standalone chapter in the series, which came in the form of an excerpt from The Winds of Winter, was four years ago.