7 Ways HBO Could Handle Running Out of A Song of Ice and Fire Books

Game of Thrones

Another season of Game of Thrones has come and gone, and yet the Winds of Winter are still just coming. Barring an unexpected and miraculous hastening of George R.R. Martin’s creative pace, the beloved HBO adaptation of his work could soon face some interesting dilemmas. How will the producers handle running out of source material? How will they keep the young members of the cast from aging too rapidly? How will they know who to kill next?

We’ve got some ideas for coping with coming to the end of the books. Here are but a few ways to keep the televised empire rolling:

Musical Episode(s)
It’s a tried-and-true tradition, and if Sunnydale got a song-and-dance outing, Westeros is certainly due one…or nine, depending on the severity of the book-material drought. Plus, it will take a while before the novelty of Varys’s jazz fingers or Arya’s aria wears off, leaving time for Martin to polish off the Winds of Winter. Cue the sensual samba number with Stannis and Melisandre.

It Was all a Dream
Another on the treasured list of TV tropes: the long, vivid dream. This has long been a personal theory of mine, so I think the following could work nicely to slow the torrid pace: all of the events after Episode 1 of Season 1 have been a fever dream of the crippled and unconscious Bran Stark. It is the only logic for all the lunacy that has taken place since, including but not limited to: the actions of Ned Stark, King’s Landing’s worst consulting detective; the testosterone-fueled foolishness of the dueling Baratheon brothers; and the idea that Daenerys is content to continue playing her own personal game of Risk in the Slaver Cities. Sure, it might be deviating from the series, but can we be sure we’re not going to get to Book 7 and discover this is the case anyway?

Clip Episode
A highlight reel of all the side-splitting levity so far, under the premise of newly literate Davos telling a bedtime story to Shireen.

Catching Up with Benjen Stark
Surely he’s had some lively (or deadly) adventures by now. Should be easy for the show runners to Wight, er, write an engaging mini-arc here. Not to mention, it would provide some peace of mind for those of us concerned about the diminishing number of Stark men still about. Because Game of Thrones is known for providing peace of mind to its viewers.

Flashback Season to Robert’s Rebellion
Hey, the story is there for the taking. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, and who could resist the tagline: “All the bloodshed and treachery, but this time without Joffrey.”

Downton Abbey-esque Spinoff with the Tyrell Household
Starring Dowager Countess Olenna and her sassy zingers on her quest to marry off Margaery to someone who won’t drop dead within a fortnight.

Director’s Cuts of Previous Episodes
If it’s good enough for Peter Jackson, it’s good enough for HBO. Behold a chance to appease all those cocksure, persnickety book fans who’ve been affronted by the plot elements condensed or left on the cutting room floor (cough Lady Stoneheart cough). Plenty of material left to film, y’all.

How do you think HBO should handle running out of published books in the Song of Ice and Fire series?