On the surface, AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead’ and HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ don’t seem to have much in common besides being TV phenomena, generating intense buzz on social media after each new episode airs and causing fevered reaction among fans with each twist and turn (most of which involve beloved characters dying).
But beyond that, both shows are based on serialized source material. ‘The Walking Dead’ is based on the long-running comic book series written by Robert Kirkman, while ‘Game of Thrones’ is derived from George R.R. Martin‘s best-selling ‘A Song of Ice & Fire’ fantasy novels.
Unfortunately, due to Martin’s slow writing pace, ‘Game of Thrones’ has already caught up with, and in some ways, surpassed his published novels. His last book, ‘A Dance With Dragons’ was published way back in 2011 and fans have been waiting five long years for the next installment, ‘The Winds of Winter’… with no publication date in sight. Meanwhile, ‘Game of Thrones’ has steadily cranked out new seasons each year. This necessitated Martin telling the show’s producers what he had planned for his unpublished books (a seventh book, ‘A Dream of Spring’ is also planned) so that they could remain faithful to their storylines.
‘The Walking Dead’ TV show is rapidly catching up with the comics, but in that case, they have the luxury of the book being published monthly, meaning that the show still has a lot of published material to draw from. Couple that with the fact that the show moves at a much slower pace, adds new characters and storylines, and that show has less of a chance of running into the same problem.
Kirkman was recently promoting his new TV series, ‘Outcast’ on Cinemax, but spoke about ‘The Walking Dead’ and what would happen if it ran into the same problem as ‘Game of Thrones’ and this is what he said:
Do you have an end game for Dead in mind?
For the books? I do. I know how the story wraps up. The big question is when and how far in the distance that is. But I think that most people think, oh, why would he end it? It’s so successful, he’s going to keep throwing shit at the wall to keep it going. And that’s not going to happen. You’ll eventually be able to see that it all kind of comes together.
There’s still plenty of story for the TV series to get to; you could tell the writers where you’re going, and …
I would never do that. That’s the one thing I’m disappointed in George R.R. Martin for doing. He should have just been like, Fuck you. You make it up now, I’ll get to mine when I’m ready.