Before Game of Thrones (perhaps controversially) took home the Emmy for Best Drama (and Peter Dinklage also won Best Supporting Actor for the series), author George R. R. Martin was on hand to talk about his thoughts about the ending of the show as well as what the plans might be for the prequels. And no, he did not mention The Winds of Winter, so you might as well just give up the ghost on that one folks — at least until Game of Thrones is over (that’s my guess, anyway).
Speaking with Variety, Martin said “We could’ve gone 11, 12, 13 seasons … David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] have been saying for like five seasons that seven seasons is all they would go. We got them to go to eight but not any more than that. There was a period like five years ago when they were saying seven seasons and I was saying 10 seasons and they won, they’re the ones actually working on it.”
Martin also spoke a little more about the prequels currently in development, saying: “Five other shows, five prequels in development that are based on other periods and the history of Westeros — some of them just 100 years before ‘Game of Thrones,’ some of them 5000 years before ‘Game of Thrones.’”
This is in line with what he said back in June per a blog post: “All of the successor shows we’ve been developing have been prequels, as I have mentioned before. This one really puts the PRE in prequel, since it is set not ninety years before GAME OF THRONES (like Dunk & Egg), or a few hundred years, but rather ten thousand years (well, assuming the oral histories of the First Men are accurate, but there are maesters at the Citadel who insist it has only been half that long) […] We do have an entire world and tens of thousands of years of history to play with, after all.”
Basically, the spinoffs are indeed all prequels, and could be anywhere from 100 to 10,000 years in the past. That’s quite a lot of time to cover, but Martin has setup a lot of it in A Song of Ice and Fire‘s lore (much of which the TV show ignores).