When Game of Thrones first premiered, some fans worried that the show might eventually catch up with and even surpass the books series it's based on, A Song of Ice and Fire. At the time, that didn't seem all that likely, but now we're four years into the hit TV show, and the next book, Winds of Winter, still doesn't even have a release date. Time to start worrying? Yeah, we think so.

Here are the facts as they stand:

A) The most recent news on The Winds of Winter comes from A Song of Ice and Fire editor Anne Groell, who recently said she hopes to have the book "reasonably soon." Of course, she also said that Martin has turned in... 168 pages. Yeah, that's it. Now, GRRM normally holds most of his book until he's finished, and then hands the whole thing over for editing, so he probably has way more than 168 pages ready. But clearly his editors don't have a concrete sense of when he'll be done, and even once he finishes, there's still the editing and production process to consider.

Conclusion? Winds of Winter is still at least a little ways off. Plus, after that there's a whole seventh book, A Dream of Spring, to be written, and based on how long TWOW has taken, we're not exactly expecting a super speedy follow-up.

B) The showrunners want Game of Thrones to be seven seasons. Yes, only seven, and no, they don't plan on taking any years off. That's a number they've been throwing around for a while now, and after the Season 4 finale they confirmed to Entertainment Weekly that their goal hasn't changed. If they stick to that plan, the TV show will be over in three years, and they'll be going into production for the final season in just two years. Does anyone really think A Dream of Spring will be done in two or three years? Heck, at this point we have a hard time imagining A Dream of Spring being done in four years, so even if the show stretches an extra season, that's not much comfort.

C) Based on the same Entertainment Weekly interview, it sounds like Season 5 will cover most of the rest of A Feast for Crows and A Dance With Dragons, which means we'll probably be getting into at least some Winds of Winter territory in Season 6. Again, more proof the show is moving a lot faster than the books at this point.

D) Here's a quote from the showrunners from that Entertainment Weekly interview: "We have talked to George extensively about where he’s going with the books, and will continue to do so. His books are the blueprint for the world we’re building. Ultimately the show needs to work on its own terms, and keep on moving. Our job is to square that necessity with George’s work to the best of our ability."

That's a far cry from the way the showrunners used to talk, when they were more confident, or at least hopeful, that GRRM would be able to stay ahead of them. Now it sounds like they're planning for the show to catch up and even overtake the books — as they should be.

Do you think the show will catch up with the books, or can that still be prevented? Share your theories in the comments below!

Source: Entertainment Weekly