Last weekend I had quite an interesting discussion with my friend. We talked about authors and Game of Thrones and ended up on the topic of George R.R. Martin. For those of you who keep track, George has been working on the next instalment of the Song of Ice and Fire series for the past seven years. That is a long time to write a novel, especially considering another one has to follow after that.
“I think he is wasting his chance,” my friend said.
A discussion followed. I thought it was a rather interesting discussion so I decided to write a blog post about it.
The hype will end
The Game of Thrones series is about to go into its seventh season. But that was not the start of it all. Martin started writing the first book in 1991 and it wasn’t published until 1996. Martin initially planned a trilogy, but he kept on writing. The most recent book is 2011’s A Dance with Dragons. That’s a timespan of 15 years between the first book and the most recent book. Not too bad considering the volume of those novels.
The novels were relatively popular, but did not take off until the HBO series graced our screens. Game of Thrones became a huge success. Every week, the hearts of a million people collectively broke as their favourite characters died. The sales of the novels went up and people were eager to know what happened next in Westeros. But the series is ending. With only three short seasons to go, time is running out to cash in on the show’s popularity. Game of Thrones will always have a loyal fanbase, but the majority of the casual fans who were interested in the previous novels, will move on after the show dies. The story will have come to its conclusion, so there is no reason to stick around.
People will get upset with George R.R. Martin
An author has to take all the time he or she needs to deliver their work. I think most people understand that you do not write such a massive novel within a year. I think the thing that upsets many people, and perhaps eventually turns them off, is the fact that Martin has promised so much over the past few years but never delivered. Martin kept setting publication dates that were way too optimistic. This resulted into many fans disappointed fans. He initially thought he would finish Winds of Winter within three years. It’s seven years later now.
In January 2016, he said he still had a lot to write and that the publication of the book was still months away, if the writing would go well. In January 2017, he commented on his blog that he believes the book will come out in 2017. However, he did mention that he has said it before. I think most fans are angry that he said “it will be done when it’s done.” These people have been following you for years. They deserve to know what is going on.
So what now?
I’m not even going to mention the argument many people used, that Martin perhaps might not be able to finish his series. After all, he might die as he’s not getting younger! I don’t think this is a fair argument, because all of us could die at any moment. I think Martin’s writing pace and involvement with other projects is the reason the series might not see the finish line. That would be a total shame.
Personally, I’ve read the first book and stopped after that. I think Martin is too much of a descriptive writer, and I am not really interested in the history of a character’s sister’s brother’s uncle’s nephew’s dog. Just cut to the chase already! So I still have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to the novels anyway. That doesn’t take away the fact that I think it’s a shame that loyal readers are still waiting for the release.
The only thing you can do is wait and hope winter is still coming. I don’t think we can trust any release dates until Martin actually confirms that the novel is finished. It’s very frustrating and quite a shame, but at least we still have the tv show.
Are you waiting for Winds of Winter to be released? What do you think of the long delay? Let us know in the comments.