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In perhaps the least surprising announcement in the history of television, HBO has announced that it has renewed its hit drama Game of Thrones for a fifth and sixth season.
Thrones, which kicked off its fourth season this past Sunday with record ratings, has been widely hailed as one of television’s best dramas. The series is based on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels, which currently have five of an estimated seven books written. Martin is currently working on writing the series’s sixth novel, but there has been no date given for its publication.
This past month, Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss announced that the were planning on ending the series following its seventh season, regardless of how many novels have been released, citing seven being the “right” number to take the series out on. HBO countered, announcing they hope the series will end after an eighth season. Whenever Thrones does come to an end, one huge question still hand over its head: What happens if they run out of novels?
With the fourth season, Thrones is expected to finish adapting from the third novel in the series, “A Storm of Swords.” As the next two novels are concurrent to each other, and are expected to last through seasons four and five, there remains the very likely possibility that there will not be a sixth novel to adapt for the potential season seven. While there is still time before this becomes an issue, the pressure is now well and truly on Martin to keep writing.