The conversation about Game Of Thrones' ending is destined to rumble on for a long time. If strength of reaction and memeability reflect longevity of controversy then we're in for decades of the complaining, by the look of it.
Right now, it doesn't even matter that lots of fans loved it, that the cast actually also loved it and have actively told fans to stop being disrespectful and co-opting them into their fury, or that being a dick on the Internet because your favourite thing didn't go as you please, because we're knee deep in tears and it's not going away.
Part of that comes down to the perception that Weiss and Benioff have taken what George RR Martin has written and changed it fundamentally. That this is somehow nothing like what he would sanction. You know, despite the fact that he in fact DID sanction it. That he was, in fact, a consultant on it. That he would have had to agree or at least not disagree with the direction. But who needs facts, eh?
If Martin were the kind of writer to come out and say he loved it or that it's exactly what he would write, it would probably help put an end to all of the grumbling, because nonsense fills whatever vacuum it's in. But he's not, because the TV show is separate to what he does, even when he's involved. He equally wouldn't come out and say he hated it or that he promises to write something different, not least because his ending WILL be like this, but because he's not that guy.
And as if to confirm as much, Martin has added his voice to the list of people involved in the show's creation responding to fan complaints, though he's done it in a slightly more indirect way, while saying farewell to the show. He thanked the creators - "David Benioff, Dan Weiss, Bryan Cogman (the third head of the dragon)" - and HBO for having faith in the show and vaguely promising he may share his favourite moments of the show's production when he feels like it.
His addressing of the way fans have responded to the ending and his relationship with it comes next when he promises ONCE MORE to actually complete the books he's been working on for eons:
"And I’m writing. Winter is coming, I told you, long ago… and so it is. THE WINDS OF WINTER is very late, I know, I know, but it will be done. I won’t say when, I’ve tried that before, only to burn you all and jinx myself… but I will finish it, and then will come A DREAM OF SPRING.How will it all end? I hear people asking. The same ending as the show? Different?Well… yes. And no. And yes. And no. And yes. And no. And yes."
Incidentally, the three spaces after the fullstops are the writer's own. No wonder it takes him so long to complete anything [shoutout to James Hunt for this comment]. But then he talks a little more about why the endings will be different and seems to hint that the delivery will be the thing that is different, but not necessarily the content, reading between the lines:
"I am working in a very different medium than David and Dan, never forget. They had six hours for this final season. I expect these last two books of mine will fill 3000 manuscript pages between them before I’m done… and if more pages and chapters and scenes are needed, I’ll add them. And of course the butterfly effect will be at work as well; those of you who follow this Not A Blog will know that I’ve been talking about that since season one. There are characters who never made it onto the screen at all, and others who died in the show but still live in the books… so if nothing else, the readers will learn what happened to Jeyne Poole, Lady Stoneheart, Penny and her pig, Skahaz Shavepate, Arianne Martell, Darkstar, Victarion Greyjoy, Ser Garlan the Gallant, Aegon VI, and a myriad of other characters both great and small that viewers of the show never had the chance to meet. And yes, there will be unicorns… of a sort…"
And as a final sign off, he's basically telling fans to stop talking about the idea of a "real ending," which is one of the most frustarting parts of this whole adaptation and an inevitable one because he didn't complete the books before the show...
"Book or show, which will be the “real” ending? It’s a silly question. How many children did Scarlett O’Hara have? How about this? I’ll write it. You read it. Then everyone can make up their own mind, and argue about it on the internet."