BY ISABEL RODRIGUEZ ’21
Since the release of George R. R. Martin’s “A Dance with Dragons” in 2011, fans have been impatiently awaiting the sixth book in Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, “The Winds of Winter.” An ongoing joke with “A Song of Ice and Fire” fans is that winter is not coming soon enough. Neil Gaiman, a well-known fan of Martin’s work, came to Martin’s defense in May of 2009 when a fan expressed their frustration with waiting for an official release date for the next book in the series. Gaiman replied in a blog post, “George R.R. Martin is not your bitch […] People are not machines. Writers and artists aren’t machines.”
Still, the wait has been long enough that the HBO television series adaptation of the books has run out of plot to follow. The show’s past season diverged entirely from Martin’s canon for the simple reason that there was no canon left.
canon left. Now, fans finally have an update about the longawaited “Winds of Winter.” This week, George R. R. Martin has opened up about the struggles he is experiencing while trying to write the sixth installment of his series. “‘The Winds of Winter’ is not so much a novel as a dozen novels, each with a different protagonist, each having a different cast of supporting players, antagonists, allies and lovers around them, and all of these weaving together against the march of time in an extremely complex fashion,” said Martin in an interview with The Guardian. “So it’s very, very challenging.”
Though his interview with The Guardian did not provide an explicit release date, it did provide readers with some explanation for his delay. Besides, George R. R. Martin has a history of false promises. He has missed self-imposed deadlines and started more projects to work on besides his “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series such as “a couple of other shows for HBO that [Martin] can’t talk about yet,” according to The Guardian. In an interview with Adria’s News in October of 2012, he estimated that “The Winds of Winter” would be completed in 2014. However, he admitted that he is “really bad [at] predictions.” Six years later, this statement seemingly rings true.
Martin probably did not predict the pressure that would follow the popularity of his best-selling book series and its HBO adaptation “Game of Thrones.” “The show has achieved such popularity around the world, the books have been so popular and so well reviewed, that every time I sit down I’m very conscious I have to do something great, and trying to do something great is a considerable weight to bear,” he told The Guardian. “On the other hand, once I really get rolling, I get into the world. The rest of the world vanishes, and I don’t care what I’m having for dinner, what movies are on, what my email says or who’s mad at me this week because ‘Winds of Winter’ isn’t out — all that is gone and I’m just living in the world I’m writing about. But it’s sometimes hard to get to that almost trance state.”
Although fans have been waiting for years for another book, not all fans undermine the pressure and hard work that comes with writing a popular series. “I’ve been reading this series for 15 years. I want another book!” Melissa Stewart FP ’19 joked. “But in all seriousness, I would rather he put out a great book with all the plots connected and all the questions answered than publish something faster but less satisfying. So I guess I’ll wait.”
While “The Winds of Winter” will not be released this year, “Fire and Blood,” which details the history of the Targaryens, is expected to hit the shelves on Nov. 20, 2018.