Game Of Thrones is breathing fire down our necks with the final season just around the corner — but for fans who's been into A Song Of Ice And Fire long before the adaptation hit HBO, this is tricky territory. What book is Game Of Thrones Season 8 based on? Don't rule out the possibility that some twists and turns to come are straight out of the source material.
Technically, the HBO series has moved past George R. R. Martin's book series. The most recently published book, A Dance With Dragons, ends with Jon Snow's (temporary) death, which for TV audiences happened at the end of Season 5. Arya is still doing her Faceless Man training, Daenerys is still in Meereen, and Stannis is still hoping to overthrow the Boltons at Winterfell. In theory, Game of Thrones fans who read the books are going in to the final season with no knowledge of the twists and turns ahead, just like those of us who haven't read them.
However, there's still material from Martin's A Song Of Ice And Fire and supplemental materials that can be adapted in the HBO series. There's also a high chance that Martin has told David Benioff and D.B. Weiss certain details from his upcoming books that they will choose to include in the series. Recent (ish) examples of that include Stannis sacrificing his daughter Shireen and the tragic fact that Hodor means "Hold The Door" — neither of which has happened in the published books, but are Martin's intentions.
There are also a few chapters from The Winds Of Winter that have been released online. Based on the events in those chapters, it seems like the show has moved past them as well, and whether they stand as the final word in canon or not remains to be seen, but they are out there. Other Martin texts that the show could draw from include Fire and Blood, a history of House Targaryen, and various novellas.
One new element from the books that is making its way onto the show for the first time is The Golden Company from the Free Cities in Essos. At the end of Season 7, Cersei tells Jaime that she has sent Euron Greyjoy to buy this massive army of sell-swords. Actor Marc Rissmann will play Harry Strickland, the company's leader who has only appeared in the books until now.
That said, as this Twitter user points out, we have heard about the Golden Company before on the HBO series, thanks to Jorah Mormont.
There are plenty of plotlines and characters that could still be worked into the show or referenced in the final season of Game of Thrones in some way. Just not anything that happens in Dorne, as that storyline wrapped up quick on the show, and not Lady Stoneheart. Unfortunately, it's probably too late for any of that.
When the final two books in Martin's series are released, The Winds of Winter and A Dream Of Spring, it's just going to create kind of a reverse effect for fans. Book readers new and old will have to see how the books match up to the show, for a change!