Fans filled with dread by the idea that Game of Thrones will end with more of the wholesale slaughter of fan favorite characters that has characterized the series so far may rest at ease. Author George R.R. Martin has confirmed that the series' ending will not be one of complete and utter apocalypse.
"No. That's certainly not my intent," Martin tells The New York Observer. "I've said before that the tone of the ending that I'm going for is bittersweet."
Specifically, Martin cites J.R.R. Tolkien's classic fantasy novels The Lord of the Rings as the model he is trying to emulate.
"I mean, it's no secret that Tolkien has been a huge influence on me, and I love the way he ended Lord of the Rings," Martin explains. "It ends with victory, but it's a bittersweet victory. Frodo is never whole again, and he goes away to the Undying Lands, and the other people live their lives. And the scouring of the Shire—brilliant piece of work, which I didn't understand when I was 13 years old: 'Why is this here? The story's over?' But every time I read it I understand the brilliance of that segment more and more. All I can say is that's the kind of tone I will be aiming for. Whether I achieve it or not, that will be up to people like you and my readers to judge."
It seems like there may be hope for the world of Westeros after all.
Martin is still working on the penultimate novel in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, The Winds of Winter. Meanwhile, Game of Thrones will air its sixth season on HBO in 2016.