'Game of Thrones' Writer George R. R. Martin Thinks His Books Will Outpace the Series

With two books in his "Song of Ice and Fire" canon still uncompleted, the author talks with THR about his ideal chronology for the franchise, other projects at HBO and how the show could end up taking a lengthy "Sopranos" hiatus.
HBO; Getty Images
"Game of Thrones" and author George R. R. Martin

There's been growing concern among fans of HBO's Game of Thrones and its source material, George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels, that the series is catching up to books before they're written. Most recently it was suggested that showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss, privy to Martin's overall plan for the story, eventually might wrap the series before the planned seventh and final book.

Martin understands his readers and viewers' frustration with such an idea, but he also thinks it's not an option Game of Thrones will ever have to consider.

PHOTOS: 'Game of Thrones' Season 3 Preview

"My dream chronology is that the books finish first, and I do have a considerable lead over them," he tells The Hollywood Reporter. "It's true that they're moving faster than I am -- the series has its own speed -- but I don't see us catching up for another three years or so, by which time another book will be out. That should give them another two seasons of material. And while I'm writing the last book, they'd be making those."

It's been almost two years since Martin published A Dance With Dragons, the fifth book in his Ice and Fire series that began with 1996's A Game of Thrones. There was a five-year lapse between Dragons and the previous title, A Feast for Crows.

Game of Thrones returns March 31 with its third season, which tackles roughly the first half of book three, A Storm of Swords.

"There are other HBO shows that have had long gaps between series," says Martin, referring to The Sopranos' nearly two-year breaks before the end of its run. "I'm just hoping the series will finish. I know the books will finish."

PHOTOS: 'Game of Thrones' Season 3 Premiere

Martin, who recently signed an overall deal with HBO to stay on Game of Thrones for at least another two years and develop other projects for the cable network, also acknowledges that some might be concerned about how thin he's spread.

"I do wish that someone would invent a 48-hour day," the 64-year-old writer tells THR. "And I wish that I had the energy that I had at 30."

Nearly all of Martin's potential projects at HBO would be culled from his other works. In addition to Song of Fire and Ice prequel Tales of Dunk and Egg, Martin says projects would be based on his other novels, short stories and television pilots that never came to fruition.

"I have a considerable desk drawer full of material that I think would be excellent on television," he says, noting that everything takes a back seat to the books. And the suggestion of ever directing one of the projects or an episode of Game of Thrones makes him laugh. "In the ’90s, when I had a development deal, I had a couple pilot deals where I was going to direct a couple of episodes a season. It's a really different discipline, and I think I'm a writer. And the writing is hard enough."

Email: Michael.OConnell@THR.com; Twitter: @MikeyLikesTV