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Martin Talks ‘Game Of Thrones,’ ‘The Winds Of Winter’

Attempts to keep his novel releases ahead of hit series

As “Game of Thrones” enjoys the success of a record-breaking season, author George R.R. Martin is hoping to maintain his head start on the series starting with his next “A Song of Ice and Fire” novel, “The Winds of Winter.”

HBO renewed the hit fantasy series earlier this year for a third season based on his novel “A Storm of Swords.” Filming will start this summer and will include a return to Belfast, Northern Ireland; Croatia, representing parts of King’s Landing; and Iceland.

Series executive producers David Benioff (“Troy,” “The Kite Runner”) and D.B. Weiss signed contracts to return for two more seasons; although, the network has yet to announce a Season 4 pickup.

However, with additional season pickups likely considering the show’s success, Martin is attempting to buckle down and finish his novels before HBO catches up.

“I’m working on that, and a number of ‘Ice and Fire’ related things at the same time,” Martin recently said in an interview with HBO. “Not only ‘The Winds of Winter,’ which is Book 6, but we’re also coming out with a big concordance called ‘The World of Ice and Fire,’ which is about the whole history of Westeros and will be lavishly illustrated. … We’ve also been doing a map book, and I’m working on a new novella about Dunk and Egg, the prequel series I have.”

Martin admits his writing style is a slow process, especially with the size and complexity of his books.

“I am aware of the TV series moving along behind me like a giant locomotive, and I know I need to lay the track more quickly, perhaps, because the locomotive is soon going to be bearing down on me,” he said. “The last thing I want is for the TV series to catch up with me. I’ve got a considerable head start, but production is moving faster than I can write. I’m hoping that we’ll finish the story at about the same time … we’ll see.

“Sometimes I make the decisions wrongly. My process as a writer is not one of thoroughly outlining ahead of time, which can result in my muse leading me down blind alleys and dead ends. … So then I have to double back and rewrite and so forth. It’s almost a subconscious thing — when it’s right, it feels right, and when it doesn’t feel right, I keep niggling at it until it does.”

Regardless, the series continued to enchant its television audience this year. “Valar Morghulis,” the Season 2 finale, pulled in 5.1 million viewers June 3 when including the encore, and for the first time the series attracted over four million viewers, 4.2 million in all, during its initial airing.

Season 2 maintained stable ratings since its debut April 1. Initial episode airings have averaged 3.7 million viewers, with 10.4 million watching when factoring in all platforms and encores. This achievement places the series as the third most popular program in HBO’s history.

“Game of Thrones” chronicles a treacherous clash among royal families to secure ultimate power of Westeros, a vast kingdom facing peril at every corner.

The series was recently nominated nine times during the 2012 Airlock Alpha Portal Awards, including nods for Best Actor/Television (Peter Dinklage), Best Actress/Television (Lena Headey), Best Supporting Actor/Television (Aidan Gillen), Best Supporting Actress (Michelle Fairley), Best Supporting Actress (Maisie Williams), Best Young Actor (Maisie Williams), Best Young Actor (Jack Gleeson), Best Episode/Television (“Ghost of Harrenhal”) and Best Series/Television. See the nominations here.

Along with Benioff and Weiss, the series is executive produced by Carolyn Strauss and Frank Doelger. Martin, Vanessa Taylor, Alan Taylor, Guymon Casady and Vince Gerardis co-executive produce the show, with Bernadette Caulfield serving as a producer.

“Game of Thrones” stars Dinklage, Headey, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Emilia Clarke, Fairley, Williams, Sophie Turner, Kit Harington.

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