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Reuters/Regis Duvignau
Thibault Bardet combined his love for winemaking and “Game of Thrones.”
KILLING TIME

Things to do after “Game of Thrones” while George R.R. Martin pens the real ending

By Ephrat Livni

As you surely know, the finale of the HBO series Game of Thrones airs tomorrow (May 19). The event promises to be dramatic and traumatic for characters and fans alike.

Viewers worldwide—a group that includes government officials—have been in a frenzy about this last season for at least eight weeks, arguably years. The show’s end will be mourned by many. But the story isn’t over. The series of books upon which it’s based, A Song of Fire and Ice, isn’t complete. Author George R.R. Martin has two more volumes to write, and his ending may differ quite a bit from HBO’s. So the obsession with his fantastically popular fantasy of incest, dragons, passion, and power will continue.

And the writer isn’t inclined to hurry up. ”The books are very complicated and complex, and I spend a lot of time trying to get that right. In my view, it’s more important to get that right than to get it out on time,” he told CJ Harley in 2011. Eight years later, on May 13, Martin took to his blog, entitled “Not a Blog” (which just shows you what a contrary fellow he can be), to quell rumors that he was withholding the final two books.

“[N]o, THE WINDS OF WINTER and A DREAM OF SPRING are not finished. DREAM is not even begun; I am not going to start writing volume seven until I finish volume six.” (Emphasis in the original.) Martin was baffled, adding, “It seems absurd to me that I need to state this. The world is round, the Earth revolves around the sun, water is wet… do I need to say that too?”

The writer has been saying he’ll get started on the series’ end for years. So it may be a while before you find out who really ends up sitting on the Iron Throne, though you can be certain that with the care he takes, no stray Starbucks coffee cup reference will make its way into his Westeros, unlike that of HBO.

Get a Game of Thrones hobby

How can you pass the time while you wait for Martin to craft the perfect ending? Fear not. There’s a lot to do. If you devote yourself to Game of Thrones pursuits during this painful interim, you’ll never have an idle moment.

Take a page from the French vintner Thibault Bardet (pictured above). Unlike US winemaker Bob Cabral, who makes the official Game of Thrones wines for HBO, Bardet created an independent beverage inspired by the character Tyrion Lannister. His “full-bodied red” is what Bardet imagines the devoted drinker of Westeros would guzzle while mulling politics. It is called “The Imp’s Delight.” And when he’s not creating libations, Bardet can be found brushing up on the first five books in Martin’s series, as well as poring over paper maps of the Seven Kingdoms to better understand the imaginary lands whose wines he’s bringing to life.

In Kentucky, welders created an Iron Throne on their own. The 200-lb (91-kg) construction is made of 300 to 400 swords. The project took about two months and 110 hours of work, and was commissioned for a wedding by GoT fans whose first bonding moment was over the show’s throne. The time it took to make this replica is not long enough for Martin to finish a book, but if you are feeling even more ambitious than the welders and have no deadline (like the writer), you might try welding each of the individual swords you’ll need from scratch. That should kill some time.

For those disinclined to use power tools, or for fantasy lovers unwilling to drink for literature (is there such a thing?), there are other options. You could choose your own ending and write Game of Thrones fan fiction. Or take up a classic, Dungeons and Dragons, and get in touch with your own inner Breaker of Chains. Or braid your hair elaborately, like so many of the Game of Thrones characters. Or train in fencing and channel your inner Arya. Or seduce a sibling a la Lannister (no, don’t do that). Perhaps build a stone fence at the northern border of your backyard to keep white-walking neighbors at bay. (Hunt for dragon glass in case the latter fails.) Train a dire wolf to be your tireless ally. Plot the undoing of your enemies meticulously. Cultivate vision in your third eye so that you, like Bran, can learn to see the future and past. Read voraciously like Samwell, just in case literacy becomes a rarity by the time Martin is done writing.

The possibilities are endless. Just remember, don’t be impatient, whatever new hobby you take up. As the Game of Thrones creator himself would tell you, there’s a natural order to everything, and it takes time to do things just right.