George RR Martin passed up a cameo appearance in the highly anticipated final season of Game of Thrones, he told Entertainment Weekly in an interview. The bestselling author was to have appeared in a scene in one of the episodes being shot in Northern Ireland, but he decided to focus instead on completing his upcoming novel The Winds of Winter, he told EW.

“David and Dan invited me to a cameo in one of the final episodes, which I was tempted to do,” Martin told EW. “But I didn’t think just for the sake of a cameo I could take the time to return to Belfast.”

Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels inspired the HBO global blockbuster series created by David Benioff and DB Weiss and premiered in 2011. The series has spawned eight seasons, the last of which will be premiered on April 14 on Star World and Hotstar in India. The previous seasons are being streamed on Hotstar.

The Game of Thrones series broadly follows the power struggle between various families for control of the Westeros kingdom. In the final season, the main players, including characters played by Kit Harington, Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner and Emilia Clarke, join forces to face the threat of a zombie army called the White Walkers.

Game of Thrones season eight teaser.

Martin had filmed a cameo in the pilot episode for Game of Thrones, as a guest at the wedding of the character Daenerys Targaryen. The cameo was scrapped after the actress originally signed on to play Daenerys, Tamzin Merchant, was replaced by Emila Clarke, Martin told EW.

The Winds of Winter is the planned sixth novel in Martin’s series, which has been in the making for eight years. The HBO show has overtaken the fictional universe created by Martin, and fans of the novelist and the show have been eagerly waiting to see how his vision diverges from the series.

Meanwhile, Martin has collaborated with HBO on four prequel series that will ensure that Game of Thrones is not consigned to memory. This series “puts the PRE in prequel”, Martin wrote on his blog.

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