Last month HBO released production stills from the upcoming third season of Game of Thrones. After huge ratings the first two seasons, HBO is drumming up excitement, likely expecting more of the same when the show returns March 31.
Some fans wonder if all the extra television work won't hold up the final books in the series. Martin began the series in 1991 and published the first book in 1996. The series was extended and the fifth volume, "A Dance With Dragons," was delayed. It was finally published in 2011 after five years of writing. Martin is currently writing the sixth book, "The Winds of Winter."
Martin has acknowledged his concerns about the novels not being completed by the time the HBO series finally catches up to the novels. Before he signed for the additional work, Martin estimated writing 500 manuscript pages per year for two 1500-page books.
But "Valar Morghulis," the season 2 finale, grabbed 5.1 million viewers including the encore, and for the first time the series reached over four million viewers during its first airing, leading to a tighter relationship between Martin and HBO.