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George R.R. Martin Says He Doesn’t Know the Ending of A Song of Ice and Fire Yet

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Though the ending for the Game of Thrones show is likely set in stone, author George R.R. Martin says the final moments of A Song of Ice and Fire—the book series upon which the HBO phenomenon is based—are not. In a recent interview with the Observer, Martin said he intends to write a “bittersweet” ending, though he isn’t positive yet what that ending will be.

“I haven’t written the ending yet,” he said. “I’ve said before that the tone of the ending that I’m going for is bittersweet. I mean, it’s no secret that Tolkien has been a huge influence on me, and I love the way he ended Lord of the Rings. It ends with a victory, but it’s a bittersweet victory…All I can say is that’s the kind of tone I will be aiming for. Whether I achieve if or not, that will be up to people like you and my readers to judge.”

This may come as a surprise to some fans who assumed that A Song of Ice and Fire might come to a depressing Red Wedding-like finale. Perhaps there’s hope after all — at least in the books.

Martin’s comments likely don’t apply to the final moments of the show. Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have already surpassed many of the books’ plot lines, and in interviews, the duo has said they spoke to Martin about his plans for the franchise and already know how the series will wrap up. They will finish the show regardless of how long it takes Martin to publish the final two books in the series.

“We’ve had a lot of conversations with George, and he makes a lot of stuff up as he’s writing it,” Benioff told Variety. “Even while we talk to him about the ending, it doesn’t mean that that ending that he has currently conceived is going to be the ending when he eventually writes it.”

[The Observer]

Read next: Here’s Games of Thrones Author George R.R. Martin With a Doll That Looks Just Like Him

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Write to Eliana Dockterman at eliana.dockterman@time.com