Only the finale episode is left to show in the seventh season of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” Following that is one last break before production begins on its final season to wrap up the grim and foredoomed story of the land of Westeros. That is what the casual viewer knows. Informed fans would know that the source material for the show, the “Song of Ice and Fire” book series by George RR Martin, has yet to finish. The show-runners have had to make up the plot starting with season 6 after covering all book events in the previous five. Just how different the TV show and the books have become is made clear by a recent interview with the books’ author himself.

Plot divergence

Season 5 was the last “Game of Thrones” season to have any adaptation of plot from “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R.R. Martin. Here the narrative of book 5, “A Dance with Dragons,” was covered with several deviations that have been building since seasons past. Since show creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss cannot wait for the oft-delayed sixth “ASOIAF” book, “The Winds Of Winter,” they have since taken the story and the characters their own way.

Martin tells Metro that the divergences from his books in the show were inevitable given the lengthy time he needs to complete the penultimate book of his series. To illustrate this, the author points out about 20 characters that have been killed off in “Game of Thrones” on HBO, who remain alive and well at the start of “The Winds of Winter.” Of course, whether or not some (or any) these “Twenty Good Men” will also survive the events of the book, is an open question.

As for Martin, he has been quite busy traveling on speaking tours to keep close tabs on what is happening in the show.

What he means is…

Following George R.R. Martin’s short interview for Metro, however, the content of his statements became exaggerated somewhat on online news media. Now it comes across as inferring that Martin has not watched the “Game of Thrones” show at all for a long time.

The author wrote an email to Entertainment Weekly to set the record straight, clarifying that he meant only that due to his travel schedule he has not been watching TV in general at all. He points out that he still keeps abreast of the HBO series, as proven by posts on his “Livejournal” blog.

The season 7 finale of “Game of Thrones” will premiere next Sunday, August 27. Martin estimates that “The Winds of Winter” may be ready for publication “next year,” but fans of his work have heard that too many times before.