Hopefully George R.R. Martin won’t think this post is a bit of clickbait—please George, no! We love and respect you!—but the A Song of Ice and Fire author (y’know, the novel series that’s inspired HBO’s Game of Thrones?) has definitely sent us down a rabbit hole of clue-searching with his latest commentary on how the books and in turn, series, will likely end.
In an interview with the Observer, Martin explained that though he hasn’t written the ending yet, he knows where his inspiration for its emotional apex will come from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.
“I’ve said before that the tone of the ending that I’m going for is bittersweet,” he explained in the chat. “I mean, it’s no secret that Tolkien has been a huge influence on me, and I love the way he ended Lord of the Rings. It ends with victory, but it’s a bittersweet victory. Frodo is never whole again, and he goes away to the Undying Lands, and the other people live their lives. And the scouring of the Shire—brilliant piece of work, which I didn’t understand when I was 13 years old: ‘Why is this here? The story’s over?’ But every time I read it I understand the brilliance of that segment more and more. All I can say is that’s the kind of tone I will be aiming for. Whether I achieve it or not, that will be up to people like you and my readers to judge.”
But given the series’ love of injustice and apocalyptic levels of crappy things happening to characters we love, will it end with everyone dead? “I haven’t written the ending yet, so I don’t know, but no. That’s certainly not my intent.”
We’ll believe it when we see it, Martin. We’ll believe it when we see it.
How do you think Thrones/ASOIAF will end? Let us hear your theories in the comments! (Oh and if you’re reading, George, feel free to email us and share the secret. We promise we won’t tell a soul.)
Also welcome: clues as to whom Ian McShane is playing.
Alicia Lutes is the Associate Editor of The Nerdist. Find her on Twitter @alicialutes.