George R.R. Martin teases A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms instead of finishing The Winds of Winter

Headshot of Wenlei Ma
Wenlei Ma
The Nightly
4 Min Read
Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen and Kit Harington as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones.
Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen and Kit Harington as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones. Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO

Do you ever get the feeling George R.R. Martin is doing everything except finishing off the Game of Thrones books?

That suspicion isn’t helped when Martin is busy on A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight, a Game of Thrones TV spin-off that he is executive producing and writing. It is based on his Dunk & Egg novellas, published between 1998 and 2010.

Martin posted on his personal blog that the series is “moving along nicely” and that almost all the auditions are done and the filmmakers will soon be announcing more cast members in addition to the leads Peter Claffey and Dexter Sol Ansell. According to Martin, the first table read just took place.

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He also gave an update on the tone of The Hedge Knight, which is expected to be different from Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon, and also shorter, but adding, “It’s still Westeros, so no one is truly safe”.

The Hedge Knight is set 100 years before Game of Thrones and 72 years after House of the Dragon in an era when House Targaryen is still sitting atop the Iron Throne and people still remember dragons.

The story follows a young knight, Ser Duncan the Tall (Claffey), and his squire, the diminutive Egg (Ansell), who is a Targaryen.

George R. R. Martin, American novelist and short story writer, best known for his series of epic fantasy novels, A Song of Ice and Fire, which was adapted into the HBO series Game of Thrones stands at fictional Winterfell Castle in the grounds of the National Trust property, Castle Ward, where scenes from the series were filmed, before an audience with George at Castle Ward's theatre this evening. (Photo by Liam McBurney/PA Images via Getty Images)
George R. R. Martin seems to be doing everything except finishing the books. Credit: Liam McBurney /PA Images via Getty Images

Ira Parker (House of the Dragon, Better Things) co-wrote the series with Martin while Owen Harris (Black Mirror: San Junipero) will direct half of the six episodes.

Martin said the series is expected to debut next year and “if it does well, The Sworn Sword and The Mystery Knight will follow,” referencing the second and third books in the Dunk & Egg series.

“By which time, I hope to have finished some more Dunk & Egg stories (yes, after I finish The Winds of Winter),” Martin teased. We’ll believe it when we see it.

The Hedge Knight will certainly scratch an itch for Game of Thrones fans, but is it enough to distract from the promise of the long-long-long-delayed Winds of Winter, the sixth book which was supposed to have been published before the sixth season of the HBO series, which aired in 2016.

Look, we’re all prone to procrastination.

On a basic understanding, there are three levels of procrastination. The first is just avoiding the work, mooching on the couch. The second is when you busy yourself doing other productive tasks like housework. The third is when you continue to research or prep instead of starting the actual work.

Martin seems to be stuck in the middle rung of the procrastination ladder where he’s doing a lot of other things that are productive and giving value to the fans, but what he isn’t doing is delivering the 1500-page book.

And don’t forget, there’s still a seventh book in the offing, which fans disappointed with the way the TV series ended is hanging onto as a do-over.

First look at The Final Season (8) of Game of Thrones Kit Harington as Jon Snow and Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen – Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO
Many fans were unhappy with how the Game of Thrones TV series ended. Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO

The Game of Thrones TV series was one of the most successful shows of the 21st century, dominating cultural conversation, awards and ratings. The show ran from 2011 until 2019 and made stars of its cast, many of whom were little-known before GoT.

It also opened the door to TV networks and streamers commissioning more high-concept fantasy shows which had previously been considered as not mainstream enough to command big budgets.

The first GoT spin-off series, House of the Dragon, debuted in 2022 with a second season due next month. The show is set during House Targaryen’s civil war against each other as they battle for control of the Seven Kingdoms. It stars Matt Smith, Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke.

There are also several more titles in various stages of development, including one about Aegon the Conquerer, the first Targaryen to arrive in Westeros on a dragon and claim the Seven Kingdoms.

The prequel has writer Mattson Tomlin (The Batman Part II) attached, and is based on the earlier passages from Fire & Blood, a historical record of House Targaryen Martin published in 2018 (instead of publishing Winds of Winter, again).

This image released by HBO shows Emma D'Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, left, and Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen from "House of the Dragon," the prequel to "Game of Thrones." (Ollie Upton/HBO via AP)
House of the Dragon is returning with its second season in June. Credit: Ollie Upton/AP

There is also in development a spin-off based on The Sea Snake from House of Dragon, which would detail his past adventures. It’s also been referred to as Nine Voyages.

Several spin-offs had been in the works and have since been shelved, including Bloodmoon (which went so far as to shoot a pilot episode starring Naomi Watts and Miranda Richardson), Flea Bottom, Ten Thousand Ships and Snow (a sequel following Jon Snow).

When it comes to Game of Thrones TV spin-offs, apparently more is more. But when it comes to The Winds of Winter, your guess is as good as anyone else’s.


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