One of the reasons fans of the original books have been so cool with the major deviations 'Game of Thrones' made from the novels has been the direct involvement of author George R.R. Martin. As a producer and writer on the series, he's been present to give his blessing to the showrunners and wag his fingers at aggressive fans, but not this year. Martin will be sitting out 'Game of Thrones' season 5 altogether to finish writing the sixth book in the series, 'The Winds of Winter.'

Vulture caught up with the geek icon at Comic-Con, where they grilled him about the upcoming season. Although they ultimately get into some pretty cool (and spoilery!) discussion about the finer points of the show, the biggest revelation is definitely that Martin is going to devote all of his free time to the next book. When asked if he'd be visiting the set this year, he responded:

I might make it over there early next year, but I’ve got to finish the book 'The Winds of Winter.' 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.

For many fans, this will be a huge relief. Martin's books are long and dense, filled with details and subplots so subtle that many people don't catch them until they re-read the series. These aren't the kind of books you can write quickly, and every second Martin spent on the show meant less time devoted to ensuring the timely arrival of the penultimate book in the series.

Still, his absence may be felt on the show. He wrote the scripts for great episodes like 'The Pointy End,' 'Blackwater' and 'The Lion and the Rose,' and he states that he won't be writing any episodes for 'Game of Thrones' season 5. Sure, the show employs plenty of excellent writers, but Martin's contributions were always exceptional.

But if it gets 'The Winds of Winter' finished, we'll deal with it.

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