What's George R.R. Martin doing? Not working on season 5 of 'Game of Thrones'

George R.R. Martin has announced he will not write an episode for the next season of HBO's 'Game of Thrones' in order to finish work on the next book in the 'Song of Ice and Fire' series.

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    George R.R. Martin, author of the "Song of Ice and Fire" fantasy series that is the basis of the television series "Game of Thrones", gestures during his masterclass at the Neuchatel International Fantastic Film Festival (NIFFF) in Neuchatel July 10, 2014.
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HBO's wildly popular and critically acclaimed "Game of Thrones" series may see less of its creator next season. The show is based George R.R. Martin's fantasy "A Song of Ice and Fire" book series.

In addition to providing the source material for show, Martin serves as one of the executive producers, and is frequently consulted on various aspects of the overall story. Fans also look forward to an episode written by the creator of "A Song of Ice and Fire" himself every season.

Next season, however, the traditional George R.R. Martin episode will not be forthcoming. The author recently announced that he will be taking a break from TV writing in order to concentrate on his next book.

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According to Entertainment Weekly, Martin appeared with various cast members of "Game of Thrones" at Comic-Con to discuss the next season, premiering sometime next year. The author was asked if he would be writing his traditional episode for the season, which Martin answered in the negative.

"I'm not actually writing an episode for season five," said Martin in the Comic-Com interview, explaining with a touch of humor that "I have this book I have to finish."

The book Martin refers to, of course, is the sixth book in "A Song of Ice and Fire" series, "The Winds of Winter." The book is set to be the penultimate book in the series that serves as source material for "Game of Thrones."

It is unsurprising that Martin wants to devote extra time to writing "Winter." The author has faced pressure from fans who have voiced concerns that the author would be unable to finish the books before the TV series uses up all the available source material.

Season five will come from "A Feast for Crows" and "A Dance with Dragons," the fourth and fifth novels in Martin's fantasy series. Season six will likely be based on "The Winds of Winter," but only if the book can be finished in time.

Ditching the episode for season five isn't the only way the author is giving himself time to work on "Winter." According to Vulture, Martin says that he's also skipping his traditional trip to the set as well.

"I might make it over there early next year, but I’ve got to finish the book.... So I’m making the trips I’m already obligated to make, but I’m not adding any new trips at this time. So I don’t think I’m going to do a set visit this year, sadly."

According to Cartermatt, Martin has stated in the past that he doesn't write when he's visiting conventions or traveling. By giving up his set visit, he's giving himself opportunities to write that he wouldn't have had otherwise.

It seems as if the author is becoming less involved with season five in other ways as well. According to Vulture, Martin hasn't been as involved with casting decisions in the upcoming season as he has with some of the others, saying that most of the recently-announced cast members were new to him.

"I've been doing a lot of other stuff. In the earlier seasons I was much more involved with casting. I would review tapes and comment, but that’s a time-consuming process. And at this point, we’re five seasons in, we have the best casting director in the business in Nina Gold. David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] have been running the show, and it’s a well-oiled machine, so it really doesn't need me down there with the oil can squeaking at the wheels."

While Martin's decreased involvement with season five does not necessarily preclude writing an episode for season six. Still, taking a break from the show will give the author an opportunity to settle in and do what he does best, without the distractions of television. After all, has he puts it in his interview with Vulture, "My stress is still the books."

Weston Williams is a Monitor contributor.

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