George R.R. Martin: 'Game of Thrones' Finale Inspired By 'Lord of the Rings'

George R.R. Martin - H 2015
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George R.R. Martin - H 2015

George R.R. Martin is offering a few clues to how it all might end.

Fans of his A Song of Ice and Fire series and HBO's Game of Thrones have worried that Martin might pen and ending that will see the world consumed by a horrible disaster (after all, winter is coming).

Martin says he hasn't written the ending (book six of a planned seven has yet to materialize), but he promises he doesn't plan on writing a finale that is all doom and gloom.

"That’s certainly not my intent. I’ve said before that the tone of the ending that I’m going for is bittersweet," Martin said in an interview with The Observer. "I mean, it’s no secret that [J. R.R.] Tolkien has been a huge influence on me, and I love the way he ended Lord of the Rings. It ends with victory, but it’s a bittersweet victory."

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Keeping with the Lord of the Rings analogy, he went on to discuss that it was victory at a cost for those heroes.

"Frodo is never whole again, and he goes away to the Undying Lands, and the other people live their lives," Martin said. "And the scouring of the Shire—brilliant piece of work, which I didn’t understand when I was 13 years old: 'Why is this here? The story’s over?' But every time I read it I understand the brilliance of that segment more and more. All I can say is that’s the kind of tone I will be aiming for. Whether I achieve it or not, that will be up to people like you and my readers to judge."

Given the pace of Martin's publishing, fans worry that the HBO show will end before Martin has finished his work, in effect "spoiling" the end of the books. It recently wrapped season five, and showrunners David Benioff and David Weiss consult with Martin, and know the basic outline of events to come. 

On July 30, HBO programming president Michael Lombardo revealed Thrones would likely last at least eight seasons.

“Seven-seasons-and-out has never been the conversation,” Lombardo said at the Television Critics Association press tour. “The question is how much beyond seven are we going to do."

He added that the showrunners are "feeling like there’s two more years after six. I would always love for them to change their minds. That’s what we’re looking at right now.”

In March, Martin wrote a blog post in which he said ten seasons of Game of Thrones sounded good to him.

"I allowed that ten years sounded fine to me. I continue to hear similar sentiments from HBO every time I have a meeting with them, be it in LA or New York," Martin wrote.

The HBO series has used up much of the material already published in his books, with season five venturing beyond Martin's work more than any season before it.