George R.R. Martin Promises A 'Bittersweet' Ending For 'Game Of Thrones'

He's aiming for a 'Lord of the Rings' type of ending.

When it comes to "Game of Thrones," the night is dark and full of terrors, you win or you die, and life is meaningless and full of pain. But maybe not forever, or at least not for everyone in Westeros and the lands beyond.

In a new interview with the New York Observer, author George R.R. Martin opened up about his plans for the ending of "A Song of Ice and Fire," the novels that HBO's "Thrones" takes its cues from — at least mostly, if not quite entirely these days.

Martin was asked "whether [the story] will end in some horrible apocalypse," as many fear it will, given the constant beating of the "winter is coming" drum and the ever looming threat of White Walkers invading Westeros. His answer should provide some hope for fans afraid that every single character they know and love will lose in the end:

"I haven’t written the ending yet, so I don’t know, but no. That’s certainly not my intent. I’ve said before that the tone of the ending that I’m going for is bittersweet. I mean, it’s no secret that Tolkien has been a huge influence on me, and I love the way he ended 'Lord of the Rings.' It ends with victory, but it’s a bittersweet victory. Frodo is never whole again, and he goes away to the Undying Lands, and the other people live their lives. And the scouring of the Shire—brilliant piece of work, which I didn’t understand when I was 13 years old: 'Why is this here? The story’s over?' But every time I read it I understand the brilliance of that segment more and more. All I can say is that’s the kind of tone I will be aiming for. Whether I achieve it or not, that will be up to people like you and my readers to judge."

It's not the first time Martin has brought up "Lord of the Rings" as a reference point for how he wants to end the story of Houses Stark, Lannister and Targaryen; "bittersweet" is a word he's used to describe his finale on numerous occasions. But "bittersweet" could have still applied to a complete and total razing of Westeros, given the levels of corruption found throughout the Seven Kingdoms.

Martin's assertion that a story-ending apocalypse is "certainly not [his] intent" should suggest otherwise — not to say that there won't be another Jon Snow or Red Wedding level event in the future (or even several such events, for that matter), but it sounds like at least someone will have a happy-ish ending.

As for who gets that happy-ish ending? My vote is for Samwell, of course. The slayer must become a wizard.