NEW YORK – All was chaos at HBO headquarters last night as the news came through that George RR Martin has abandoned work on the next Game of Thrones novel in order to begin a totally new saga, provisionally entitled The Chair Contest, or Ditties of Sand and Honey.

George RR Martin was due to complete the Songs of Fire and Ice fantasy saga with two planned novels – The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring – but friends said he was sidetracked by a new idea while watching Lawrence of Arabia and before anyone could stop him had written three hundred pages, or chapter one as he called it.

In a note posted on a Game of Thrones fan site, Martin wrote:

 I have decided to put the next two novels of the Songs of Fire and Ice series on hold while I pursue an interesting new idea that I had. Fans need not worry. The two concluding chapters of the Songs of Fire and Ice are already planned out and I will get to them as soon as I have finished the seven novels which will comprise the new series Ditties of Sand and Honey.

A representative for HBO said that the television series will continue regardless and a conclusion based on Martin’s own notes is in sight. Others however have criticised Martin’s meandering narrative – punctuated by the occasional WTF moment – and claim that the author has given up on the series because he has failed to come up with a satisfactory ending.

Martin appeared to address such criticisms in an addendum:

The ending of the books was there right from the very beginning. I knew exactly where the books were going. And if you really can’t wait for me to finish my new saga and get back to the final two books then here is the end. SPOILER FOR THE END OF GAME OF THRONES. We flash forward to the present day and everyone is in a passenger jet on their way to some unknown destination. The Lannisters, the Starks, Daenerys Targaryen all the families and their retainers and hangers on  but they’re all in modern dress. They’re just tourists and business people. Daenerys doesn’t have dragons but a couple of chihuahuas. Suddenly one of the engines of the jet fails and it starts to plummet towards the ocean where a speck like an island begins to appear. The plane crashes on the island and burning wreckage is strewn everywhere. The entire cast is killed except for Jack Shepherd and Locke and Hurley and a few others. The Game of Thrones we realize was a dream that the character collectively had in the last seconds of their lives!

The Chair Contest: Part One: We Begin to Wander will be published in 2019.