George R.R. Martin has signed a five-year deal with HBO to develop more projects for the network and for its streaming service, HBO Max, according to a report from THR. If someone still had any hope Martin would someday finish the books for A Song of Ice and Fire, which gave birth to the Game of Thrones TV series, this might be the final nail in that coffin.
The eight-figure deal was revealed soon after HBO announced it would be developing three more spin-offs for Game of Thrones. Besides House of Dragon, which will take place 300 years before the main series and focus on the House Targaryen, there are now five other spin-offs in early development: an animated series; the Dunk and Egg project based on book prequels Martin wrote; 9 Voyages, focused on House Velaryon; 10,000 Ships following Princess Nymeria and the founding of the kingdom of Dorne; and finally an unnamed project that takes place on King’s Landing slum of Flea Bottom.
If all these projects end up greenlighted, this means a major expansion to the Game of Thrones universe on TV, especially if all the series end up being interconnected. The deal with Martin makes a lot of sense for HBO because keeping the original author attached to the new productions can help keep fans interested, especially after the series finale of Game of Thrones was highly (and justly) criticized. Martin could also come up with original ideas, both to expand the GoT universe and to create some completely new programming.
Martin gained international recognition after his unfinished A Song of Ice and Fire series scored the highly acclaimed HBO adaptation. The fifth book of the series, A Dance with Dragons, was released in July 2011, only three months after the first season of Game of Thrones premiered on HBO. Prior to that, there had been a six-year gap between Martin finishing the fourth and fifth books of his magnum opus.
However, given the author’s new television deal, A Song of Ice and Fire may no longer be the main priority on Martin’s agenda, and it seems we are no closer to reading The Winds of Winter. All we can hope now is that whatever comes out of the new deal with HBO will be better than that final season of Game of Thrones. Otherwise, audiences could be trading the chance to read Martin’s version of A Song of Ice and Fire for a shared universe of disappointments.