Millions of Game of Thrones viewers and book readers alike are in near-constant speculation when it comes to how the story will eventually end. If recent comments by George R. R. Martin are to be believed, expect the ending to bare more than a passing resemblance to how J.R.R. Tolkien capped off his legendary fantasy work, The Lord of The Rings.
Like most modern fantasy authors, Martin has admitted to his A Song of Ice and Fire series being heavily influenced by Tolkien’s work. Of course, Martin’s story is dramatically more violent and bleak than anything Tolkien ever wrote, so many fans have worried that whatever ending Martin had in mind will be just as dark and depressing. Speaking to The Observer, Martin revealed that he doesn’t want to end things with a “horrible apocalypse” as some might expect.
“I’ve said before that the tone of the ending that I’m going for is bittersweet. 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. 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.”
Expanding on his comments, Martin made specific reference to “The Scouring of the Shire”, the second-to-last chapter of Tolkien’s third book, The Return of the King, as being a heavy source of inspiration for the ending to A Song of Ice and Fire.
“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.”
Given the even more bleak than usual ending to the recently finished fifth season of Game of Thrones and Martin’s fifth book, A Dance With Dragons, it’s fair to assume that things are bound to get much worse before they get better, but Martin’s comments should at least provide some hope to fans who have grown weary from the series’ overbearing bleakness as of late. With two more novels on the way and at least three more seasons of Game of Thrones planned, it will still be some time before we see if Martin’s claims ring true.