In a Q&A with the editor of George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fires series, Anne Groell conceded that, though Martin is only under contract to deliver seven books, he may in fact release an eighth book because there may be eight kingdoms in the world of Westeros to explore.
“I remember when he called me, years and years back, to confess that his little trilogy was…well…no longer a trilogy. He predicted four books. I said Seven Books for Seven Kingdoms. Then he said five books. I said Seven Books for Seven Kingdoms. Then he went to six. I said… Well, you get it. Finally, we were on the same page. Seven Books for Seven Kingdoms. Good. Only, as I recently learned while editing The World of Ice and Fire (another awesome thing you must buy when it comes out!), there are really technically eight kingdoms, all having to do with who has annexed what when Aegon the Conqueror landed in Westeros. So, maybe eight books for Seven Kingdoms would be okay.
Well, no. Actually, that’s not OK. I think Arya says it best:
The UK publisher of A Song of Ice and Fire confirmed to The Guardian that the book series may run longer than seven books.
“I know there’s been some speculation that A Song of Ice and Fire may run to more than the seven books we currently have under contract, but in all honesty only George knows how many books there will be in the series and he’s not saying: indeed at this stage of the writing, with the many branching pathways of the characters’ stories still to intersect, he may not know.
So, only George knows, kind of. The publisher also admits there may be too much to tie up in only two books, but given the rate at which Martin kills off characters, he may finish in seven books yet.
Either way, unless book six comes out soon and presents a considerable number of of episode possibilities, I would not expect the HBO series to run more than seven seasons.