It has been two years since I wrote about The Winds of Winter and its slow progression towards release. I heard some time ago that 2020 was a productive year for Martin, inspiring words considering how long this novel has been in the works. The last installment, A Dance with Dragons, was published in 2011 and, since the catastrophic ending of the once beloved show, fans have been hungry for a return to a brighter time where the stories they were consuming were actually—you know—good.
The heart of the pandemic was a troubling time for everyone, but at least it meant—if nothing else—our slow-poke of a writer had no choice but to sequester himself in his tower and churn out the rest of his much-anticipated magnum opus.
George R.R Martin:
We’ve been had, ya’ll.
According to the update we received from Martin a few days ago, he has been hard at work!
….Writing other shit.
He’s been working on TV shows that…most people probably won’t give a fuck about because the GOT hype-train died a long time ago for anyone that isn’t a hardcore fan of the books.
He’s been writing books!….that are just supplementary material and don’t directly impact the main story at large.
He wrote a coffee table book, you guys! This is big! A book for your coffee table!
Imagine what conversations that will inspire at dinner parties!
Guest: Hey, what is that?
You: It’s my Game of Thrones coffee table book!!
Rest assured, however, he is working on Winds of Winter.…
Yes, I imagine it would be quite wearisome to have to explain yourself so often and to so many people.
You know what else is wearisome?
WAITING TEN FUCKING YEARS FOR A BOOK, GEORGE!!!
I know most fans gave up a long time ago, but I wasn’t one of them. Perhaps it is because I entered into the novel fandom late, waiting until the TV series was nearly over before I even took a stab at the first installment. But I thought surely, surely it would be close to being released within the next year or so. Surely he wouldn’t go ten years without producing the next book in the main series.
I mean, if he has time to publish a history book on the Targaryens that must mean he’s close to contributing to the progression of the actual story everyone is wanting to be continued. Right?
In my previous post, I gave Martin some grace. The pressure to perform must be enormous. I can’t fathom how stressful it would be helming such a phenomenal IP. Game of Thrones is potentially one of the most intricate stories I’ve ever read, with plot threads going all over the place, all tying into each other through some miracle of fictional weaving.
But my patience has run thin.
He has money. He has resources. There is absolutely no reason why this book couldn’t be done by now.
If he wanted, he could travel to his own private island in the Bahamas and write while buxom twenty-somethings massage his feet, hand-feed him cotton-candy flavored grapes, and fan him with palm leaves.
Instead he’s donated a better chunk of his time consulting for shows that most people probably aren’t going to give the time of day.
Most people hated the Game of Thrones finale, and its terrible ending soured its legacy in the mainstream’s eyes. Do you seriously think Dave down the street has a vested interest in Summerhall or Aegon’s Conquest? Do you think he’s dying to know about the fall of Valyria or how the Iron Throne was forged? My guess is probably not.
I’m not a gambler but if I was, I would be willing to bet the only people who will care to watch prequels and lore-based shows are people who read the books.
You know, the people who want the damn Winds of Winter.
Food for thought: Maybe, just maybe, people would be more excited for your supplementary material if you finished the real material. It’s hard to be emotionally invested in something if you know nothing will ever come of it.
I used to think commenting on Martin’s age and health was tacky, but facts are facts. Martin is not a green boy anymore. He is in his 70s and if he hopes of finishing this series he needs to put the petal to the metal. Seriously. He is sharp for his age, but if he wants to stand even a prayer of finishing this, the time is now.
I feel gross for saying it, but there it is.
He is on the cusp of achieving immortality, but if he dies before the completion of this series, I am confident he will lose his mantle. No one is going to want to read a story with no ending. No one is going to want to invest their time and effort—read thousands upon thousands of pages—for nothing.
It may take a while, but eventually Thrones will fall into obscurity.
What a sad day that would be.
I’m hoping for it to be finished. I am. But with each month, it seems less and less likely.
I’m still a fan. I’m still waiting. But it’s very likely I’m only breaking my own heart by not moving on.