'Game of Thrones' Showrunners: Series May Conclude Before Books

"I kind of wish that there were some things we didn’t have to spoil," says David Benioff

Conleth Hill and Peter Dinklage in season 5 of 'Game of Thrones.' Credit: Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO

HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones is based on A Song of Ice and Fire, a series of epic books written by George R.R. Martin. But real-life scheduling issues – namely, Martin's notoriously snail-like writing pace – may alter the logical release pattern. In a panel discussion at Oxford Union, Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss confirmed that the show will likely meet up with – and possibly conclude before – Martin's books, Mashable reports.

"Luckily, we've been talking about this with George for a long time, ever since we saw this could happen, and we know where things are heading," Benioff says in the discussion, available to view below. "And so we'll eventually, basically, meet up at pretty much the same place where George is going; there might be a few deviations along the route, but we're heading towards the same destination. I kind of wish that there were some things we didn't have to spoil, but we're kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place. The show must go on. . . and that's what we're going to do."

In January, HarperCollins announced that Martin's long-delayed sixth Ice and Fire book, The Winds of Winter, will not see publication in 2015. "These are increasingly complex books, and require immense amounts of concentration to write," Martin's publisher, Jane Johnson, told The Guardian. "Fans really ought to appreciate that the length of these monsters is equivalent to two or three novels by other writers."

But Game of Thrones will carry on, regardless of Martin's wavering deadline. Season Five is set to premiere April 12th on HBO – and until then, fans can explore two tense teaser clips, which feature an exiled, booze-swilling Tyrion Lannister and an outraged Jon Snow.