'Game of Thrones' Showrunners Suggest Serious Book Departures in Season 6

Everyone knows that winter is coming, but what's the forecast on spoilers? According to the creators of Game of Thrones, the outlook is clearer than some fans fear.

For many viewers who primarily consider themselves fans of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series on which the show is based, the upcoming season of HBO's fantasy series has been a source of stress. It's the first season to air ahead of Martin's pace with the books, and as such, feels destined to reveal plot twists before they unfold on the page.

But that's not necessarily the case, according to showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, who insist that season six — and the remainder of the series, in fact — will be significantly different from Martin's books, by design.

“People are talking about whether the books are going to be spoiled — and it’s really not true," said Benioff in a new interview with EW. "So much of what we’re doing diverges from the books at this point. And while there are certain key elements that will be the same, we’re not going to talk so much about that — and I don’t think George is either. People are going to be very surprised when they read the books after the show. They’re quite divergent in so many respects for the remainder of the show.”

"At a certain point, we realized we were going to outpace the books," added Weiss, "and we kind of chose to see it as a great thing on both sides — there’s this amazing world George has created and now there are two different versions, and there’s no reason we can see why you can’t be thrilled and surprised and dismayed by both of these different versions of this world."

It's worth noting that even Benioff implies a certain, inevitable amount of intersection between the two stories; for example, if the long-standing theory that Jon Snow is secretly a Targaryen pans out in the books, it's likely to pan out on the show as well. But even in previous seasons, Thrones has zigged where Ice and Fire has zagged: Sansa Stark traveling to Winterfell, Jojen Reed dying before Bran meets the Three-Eyed Raven, Jaime Lannister's misguided misadventure in Dorne — the list goes on. Based on their latest comments, Benioff and Weiss' vision of Westeros will only continue to diverge from Martin's narrative branch — a notion that even Martin has supported in the past

It's why readers shouldn't fret too much over a recent behind-the-scenes video featuring White Walkers infiltrating what appears to be the Three-Eyed Raven's lair (as first pointed out by Vanity Fair). It's certainly possible that the Night's King and his army will attack Bran Stark's new home — a notion that's further supported by Bran sharing screen time with the frozen menace in the full-length season six trailer — but it's not a guaranteed event for the books.

Just how much will Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire part ways in the season ahead? That question will begin to yield answers when the show returns on April 24. 

Keep up with all the Game of Thrones coverage at THR.com/GameOfThrones.