After the colossal wash-rag that was season 8, people are growing steadily less patient with George R.R. Martin and his slow output.
The newest installment of the series, The Winds of Winter, has been in the works for nearly a decade now and people are chomping at the bit for a return to normalcy. They want to go back to a time when characters’ motivations actually made sense, dialogue was well written, and events were building up to a well-deserved climax.
It’s obvious a book series as intricate as Game of Thrones would take a significant amount of time to create. After all, it’s hard enough as a readers to keep track of all the plot threads Martin has woven over the years, I can only imagine how difficult it would be to be the one weaving the tapestry.
Many have pointed this out in defenses of Martin, claiming fans are just being entitled brats, crying for their toys. Some have even gone so far as to write songs about it, notably John Anealio’s George R. R. Martin is Not Your Bitch.
I, myself, have experienced multiple creative dry-spells that have prevented me from writing. I currently have an unfinished fanfiction that has been languishing in limbo since 2018. In spite of my efforts to update, as many positive reviews have been requesting me to do, I have found it difficult to write something that will satisfy the modest readership I have accumulated over the years.
Martin experiences this same sort of pressure on an infinitely higher scale. Game of Thrones is a global phenomenon now. Not only is his creation loved by millions, he himself has become a household name. He’s become so well-known people dress as him for Halloween!
Most writers salivate over the idea of achieving such a level of notoriety, but it comes at a cost.
Can you even conceive how monumental a task it must be to complete a series that has such far-reaching acclaim?
Having said all this, you might think I’m a Martin apologist who believes he should take however long he wants to create the best book he can possibly make. Considering how disastrous the final season was, the last thing readers want is a rushed product.
But 8 years is too damn long, my guy.
I sympathize with his situation.
But come on.
It took Tolstoy 6 years to write War and Peace, a book over 1,200 pages long, and he had 10 children.
I can see a book this crucial to the series taking 3, or 4, or even 5 years to finish.
But not over 8.
Martin isn’t writing Thrones in between 12-hour shifts at the sheet metal factory. Writing is his full-time job. He has been in this profession since forever.
Look, in all seriousness, the root of the issue is he knows Game of Thrones is his magnum opus.
If he cannot deliver on the pay-off he has been building up to since 1996, he will never create anything this monolithic or culturally relevant ever again.
That is a terrifying prospect for anyone to comprehend.
But Martin knows the score. He’s been in the writing bizz longer than some of us have been alive.
The defenders are right, George R. R. Martin is not our bitch.
He is a full-grown man with complete autonomy and we shouldn’t expect him to perform for our amusement like a puppet on a string.
Nevertheless, he owes us the books he promised.
We are not greedy for holding him to his end of the bargain.
Writing is a scary profession, especially when people start noticing you. While there are more people to listen and be inspired by your work, there are also more people to please. Fandoms, while often times accepting, can also be merciless in their critiques. Trying to placate such a large crowd is daunting.
But you have to write anyway.
Some people won’t be pleased with the way Martin wraps up the series. Unfortunately, that’s art. Some will like it, others won’t.
It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to be finished.
Let’s face it, David Benioff and D.B Weiss set the bar pretty damn low.
Just about anything Martin writes has a 9/10 chance of being leaps and bounds better than that shlock of an ending the show cooked up.
2 thoughts on “My Thoughts on the Long Wait for “The Winds of Winter””
I can sympathise with Martin a lot (though I’ll admit, there are times when I don’t really understand him). I do agree with you about feeling like we’ve entered into a kind of bargain- people have invested (literally time and money) into the series with the promise of it being finished at some point… but that doesn’t seem to be happening. I also think the bar is set realllly low now- he could do pretty much anything and people would think it’s better than the show! (but that also comes back to me not really understanding him- cos to me it’d be pretty horrifying to have let someone else finish my story in the first place) I don’t know, the way I think about it is that he doesn’t owe it to his fans, but he does owe it to himself.
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I didn’t consider that, but you are right. He does owe it to himself. I heard some news recently that he’s really putting his weight behind finishing that book. I am a bit skeptical, but I hope for all our sakes it’s true.
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