Game of Thrones won its third Emmy for Outstanding Drama on Monday night ahead of its final season which is set to debut in 2019. George R.R. Martin, the writer of the books on which the HBO fantasy series is based, recognizes how the show became a pop culture phenomenon. More than that, he is excited what it has done for the world of TV sci-fi and fantasy.

Martin, who was joined backstage at the Emmys by the cast and co-showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, points out that sci-fi and fantasy TV series haven’t always been recognized as award-worthy, and is excited that Game of Thrones has changed that.

“I don’t know if [Game of Thrones] has changed television but it has changed science fiction and fantasy television,” he said backstage. “And we’ve achieved a level of respectability thanks to the genius of these actors, producers, and writers. That has made us equal to any genre.”

Martin also mentioned that there are five GoT prequels are still in various stages of development. “We’re not done with Westeros yet — we have plenty of story to tell.”

But before we say goodbye to Jon Snow and the gang, we still have season 8 and fans all around the world are sitting at the edge of their Iron Throne to eat it up. Weiss talked about how the show has resonated and its global impact saying, “Westeros doesn’t belong to anybody,” he said. “No one is personally connected to it, that means that anyone can be connected to it.”

As for why it is taking so long for season 8 to debut, Benioff said: “The final season is taking a long time because it’s the biggest thing we’ve done.”

They spent nearly a full year in Belfast and Benioff said when everyone sees it, they will understand why it took so long.

“It’s the biggest thing we ever done,” he said. “It’s quite extraordinary what the crew and the actors created. The last season is far beyond what we attempted before.

“It is taking a f*cking long time — and I hope it will be worth it,” he adds.