George R.R. Martin is glad 'Game of Thrones' is over -- because now he can focus on finishing the book series.
The hit HBO fantasy drama series -- which concluded with its eighth and final season earlier this year -- was based on Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" novels, but eventually, the TV show overtook the material written by Martin, and so the show's writers were forced to deviate from the author's work.
Martin is currently working on the sixth and penultimate book in the series, "The Winds of Winter," and is yet to start work on the seventh, "A Dream of Spring," but says that now the TV show is over, he feels less pressure to get the work finished, which in turn has actually made him more productive.
He said: "There were a couple of years where, if I could have finished the book, I could have stayed ahead of the show for another couple of years, and the stress was enormous. I don't think it was very good for me, because the very thing that should have speeded me up actually slowed me down.
"Every day I sat down to write and even if I had a good day - and a good day for me is three or four pages - I'd feel terrible because I'd be thinking: 'My God, I have to finish the book. I've only written four pages when I should have written 40.' But having the show finish is freeing, because I'm at my own pace now. I have good days and I have bad days and the stress is far less, although it's still there ... I'm sure that when I finish 'A Dream of Spring' you'll have to tether me to the Earth."
The 70-year-old novelist insists the ending of the HBO show -- which has received mixed reviews from fans and critics -- has no bearing on his own plan for his books, and says although the show is based on his novels, the two bodies of work are "not the same thing."
He added: "They're not the same thing, although they are very closely related to each other. It doesn't change anything at all ... As Rick Nelson says in Garden Party, one of my favourite songs, you can't please everybody, so you've got to please yourself."
And although he admits the TV show hindered his writing progress, he's pleased his work could bring out so many "emotional reactions" in people.
Speaking to The Observer newspaper, he said: "I'm glad of the emotional reactions, whether to the books or the television show, because that's what fiction is all about -- emotion. If you want to make an intellectual argument or persuade someone, then write an essay or a piece of journalism, write nonfiction. Fiction ... should feel as if you're living these things when you read or watch them. If you're so distanced by it that a character dies and you don't care, then to an extent the author has failed."