HBO executives say they have no worries that 'Game of Thrones' series will get ahead of the books

Amid fan fears that George R.R. Martin would not be able to finish the the epic fantasy series in time for the TV adaptation, HBO execs insist that they are 'not concerned.'

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    In this publicity image released by HBO, Sean Bean portrays Lord Eddard "Ned" Stark in a scene from the HBO series "Game of Thrones."
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This week, the critically acclaimed and widely popular "Game of Thrones" was nominated for 19 Emmy Awards, more than any other show this year.

However, some fans are worried that the show is headed toward disaster after the next season. "Game of Thrones" is based on the fantasy series by George R.R. Martin, who still has two books to complete before they can be adapted to the HBO flagship series, and time to finish them is running out.

However, HBO executives insist they're not worried.

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“His book’s not finished at this point, but we’re not concerned about it,” HBO Programming President Michael Lombardo said, according to Deadline.

Lombardo and HBO CEO Richard Pepler agreed at a Television Critics Association panel that while fans might be panicking, HBO executives are not anxious about the future of the series, which finished its fourth season this June.

"Game of Thrones" is planned to run for a total of seven seasons, with the next season using the fourth and fifth books in Martin's saga. According to Entertainment Weekly, the sixth and seventh seasons' source material has yet to be published, which means the TV series may have to create its own storyline if the books are not finished in time.

Finishing the show as planned is the top priority, according to the executives at the panel. "We’re committed to it and [showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss] are committed to it,” Lombardo said, according to Entertainment Weekly.

Some fans are concerned that the executive's determination to finish the show regardless of the lack of source material may leave the creative mind behind "Game of Thrones" out in the cold. George R.R. Martin is currently an executive producer and writes one episode per season, but things may become a little complicated if the TV series has to go in its own direction.

“Obviously George is an integral part of the creative team,” Lombardo said, according to Entertainment Weekly. “So next season every move is being choreographed very closely with him. Certainly after next year we’ll have to figure it out with George, but we’re not concerned about it.”

The reassurances from HBO executives come only a day after George R.R. Martin responded to fans who had voiced concerns that he might die before finishing the books. "I find that question pretty offensive," Martin told Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger. He made headlines by accompanying his words with an obscene gesture.

But the discussion of Martin's mortality should serve as a reminder to fans that HBO has already stated that it has a contingency plan in place, should there be any danger that the series would outstrip Martin's material for any reason. And, in fact, the most recent season of "Game of Thrones" did include material not in the books, although not all fans were happy to see that happen. 

Weston Williams is a Monitor contributor.

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