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George R. R. Martin wants you to know that the end of his Song of Ice and Fire books, the basis for the wildly popular HBO show “Game of Thrones,” won’t be a “horrible apocalypse” scenario; that’s not the tone he’s hoping to end on. But for an author who has no qualms killing off one reader’s darling after another, what Martin may consider “bittersweet” may be an entirely different thing to others.

Martin has yet to finish his Song of Ice and Fire series, but it sounds like he’s rounding the corner. And after many years of watching beloved characters perish via smoke monster or violent battle, fans are nervous.

When asked by the New York Observer if the final book will end in some sort of horrible apocalypse, Martin said: “I haven’t written the ending yet, so I don’t know, but no. That’s certainly not my intent.”

“I’ve said before that the tone of the ending that I’m going for is bittersweet,” Martin said. “I mean, it’s no secret that (author J.R.R.) 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. 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.”

The Tolkien nods are particularly enlightening and mutually worrisome, specifically calling reference to the scouring of the Shire. After Song of Ice and Fire is over, will there be yet one more battle to face, will another beautiful thing be besmirched, much like the green hills of the Shire were by Saruman?

And the Frodo mention ... Does that mean certain death or exile for a beloved main character? Perhaps. Even though Martin says the series ending will be bittersweet, tears through a smile to this creator may mean howling sobs to fans. One thing is certain: We’re sure Twitter users will have lots to say when the final book is released.

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Editor

Chris Etling is a copy editor and paginator at the Arizona Daily Sun. He's worked for the Daily Sun since November 2009.

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