HBO’s Game of Thrones initially followed the events of the fantasy books by author George R.R. Martin. But eventually the series began to pass the books. There are supposed to be seven novels in Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, but Martin has only written five of the books; the most recent, A Dance With Dragons, came out ten years ago. Martin’s been working on the sixth book, The Winds of Winter, ever since.

The TV show couldn’t just go on hiatus while Martin figured everything out; if they had, people would still be waiting for the show to return. So the series’ creators, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, eventually found their own ending (with input from Martin) and concluded the series after eight seasons and 73 episodes. Had it been up to Martin, though, the show would have lasted a lot longer.

That’s one of the scoops in the new book Tinderbox: HBO’s Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers by James Andrew Miller. In this oral history of the cable channel (via Insider), Martin’s agent Paul Haas reveals that Martin himself personally lobbied HBO to continue Game of Thrones well beyond the eight season run. Haas said:

George would fly to New York to have lunch with [former HBO CEO Richard] Plepler, to beg him to do ten seasons of ten episodes because there was enough material for it and to tell him it would be a more satisfying and more entertaining experience.

HBO obviously would have wanted more episodes too; Game of Thrones was their biggest series, and one of the biggest shows in the history of cable. But Benioff and Weiss were “tired,” according to Haas, and were ready to bring the show to an end so they could do other things. And so Game of Thrones ended with that truncated seventh and eighth seasons, which were met with very mixed reactions from fans. (According to Tinderbox, Martin was wary about some of Benioff and Weiss’ choices in the final seasons too, and would tell them “You’re not following my template,” when they would deviate from the intended plot lines of the unpublished novels.)

So Martin didn’t get his extra seasons of Game of Thrones. But even as The Winds of Winter remains unpublished, he did get another fantasy series on HBO. The first Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon, is expected to premiere on the channel in 2022.

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