The above question came from a crazed Zamboni fan who slipped this question inside the olive of my Martini, and so I willingly answer, because all Zamboneheads deserve an answer from me.
Who really writes a book? Is it the author who writes it, or is it in fact the story itself that only uses the writer as the human vessel through which it tells itself? After all, a story has a longer life than its author, and in many cases it even predates its teller. The farcical story of Romeo and Juliet was around before Shakespeare, and centuries after it was alive and well as West Side Story. Perhaps stories come to us because they are needed at that exact time and place. Many years ago -as of course Great Zamboni has been alive forever, and I wrote the very first song- I was hanging with my old friend Homer, the Greek tale spinner. At the time, he was composing the 38th chapter of The Odyssey, all from memory as he was blind and preferred not to commit things to paper. I said, “Yo, Homey,” as I called him quite appropriately, “Homey, don’t you think you could have one of your interns simply write these amazing verses down as you think them up, that way it could be a sort of book and-” He interrupted me.
“Zamboni your skull is as thick as the iron in the sword of great Achilles
and you understand less than a dim child. If my story cannot live in the
memory of its hearers, than it is not worth writing down. If it lasts for
a thousand years, then someone will take the trouble to scribe it down
in wine-dark ink because it will be worth the time”.
I didn’t get Homer’s words at the time -truth be told I was pretty wasted as I always forgot to dilute the damn wine, which in those days was as strong as the thighs of an Olympic javelin hurler- but now I think it becomes clear to me as I answer this question of George RR Tolkien or whatever his name is. TV moves faster than books. The modern man wants everything fast and now, everything all at the same time on three devices with screens. Since his books became TV, and the characters have lives of their own in our imagination, they will finish telling their story whether he writes it, or the TV people write it, or the fan fiction nerds write it. In other words, the show must go on, without him or with. Will it be better if it comes from his books? Either way it will be a show filled with very cruel sex between siblings, plenty ‘o people getting sliced, diced and flayed, and lots and lots and lots of fucking snow. Once a person has created a story- it’s out there and lives its own life. Game of Thrones exists for these people who are vehemently anti sunlight.
I once asked J.D. Salinger over an omelet if the popularity of catcher in the Rye, and all of the interpretations of it, bothered him, and if so, why not just do an interview for once in his life where he talked about his art? “Holden Caufield is no more mine than anyone else’s’ old sport, in fact, i’m just the old phoney that wrote the stuff down, Holden would have had some other hack do it if not me.”
So to answer the question, G.R.R.M. need not finish the books, because the show will be fine, people will watch it all, as long as it has the aforementioned sibling sex, and oodles of snow and doom laden backstabbing- people who like that stuff will watch. Personally, reminds me too much of my twenties so I prefer Oprah and Welcome Back Kotter reruns.
The show and the story, like all stories, will exist as long as we need it to. And when we need other stories, they will come.