Fans of George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series have had a lot of wonderful things over the years. We got the “Game of Thrones” HBO series. We have several spin-offs on the way. Despite complaints about the final season (which was awful and I will fight you on that), the series as a whole was groundbreaking and enthralling. The thing is, because so many of us hated the ending — which was rushed, too dark, and did things with the characters that made little narrative sense — lots of us are waiting for the next book in the series, “The Winds of Winter.” It won’t be the last because “A Dream of Spring” is supposed to come after it, but I have serious doubts about that.
The last book in the series came out in 2011. I’ve written books, and I know they take a long time. Martin’s books are very, very long, and that takes longer, but 11 years? Martin claims he’s still working on it, as he said in a blog post on March 9, 2022. He said:
“Yes, of course I am still working on THE WINDS OF WINTER. I have stated that a hundred times in a hundred venues, having to restate it endlessly is just wearisome. I made a lot of progress on WINDS in 2020, and less in 2021… but “less” is not “none.”
Is it wearisome, George? You seem upset about having stated that “a hundred times in a hundred venues,” but it’s been over a decade since the last book came out. It’s been almost three years since the end of the series. It’s not that I’m trying to be a jerk because this is a complex story with lots of twists and turns, but perhaps you can understand why fans would like to know what happened after the cliffhangers you wrote 11 years ago?
I don’t believe you, George
If Martin is going to do this, and get another book out, it’s probably time to work on it more. He’s 73 years old, and while I hope he lives to be 100, time isn’t endless. I think what bothers fans (at least the ones I’ve spoken to over the last 11 years) is that he’s working on other stories. He said in the same post:
“The world of Westeros, the world of A SONG OF ICE & FIRE, is my number one priority, and will remain so until the story is told. But Westeros has become bigger than THE WINDS OF WINTER, or even A SONG OF ICE & FIRE. In addition to WINDS, I also need to deliver the second volume of Archmaester Gyldayn’s history, FIRE & BLOOD. (Thinking of calling that one BLOOD & FIRE, rather than just F&B, Vol 2). Got a couple hundred pages of that one written, but there’s still a long way to go. I need to write more of the Dunk & Egg novellas, tell the rest of their stories, especially since there’s a television series about them in development. There’s a lavish coffee table book coming later this year, an illustrated, condensed version of FIRE & BLOOD done with Elio Garcia and Linda Antonsson (my partners on THE WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE), and my Fevre River art director, Raya Golden. And another book after that, a Who’s Who in Westeros. And that’s just the books.
He also said he’s very involved in the new shows. I mean, that’s great and all, and the show did suffer when it ran out of source material. I just want to know the end of this story before we go deeper into others. Even if it’s the same universe, it’s frustrating to have cliffhangers take this long to be resolved.
The Whines of Readers
I’m whining, I know. It isn’t easy to write epics or we’d have more of them. I just think that, when your work becomes part of the public consciousness, you have a responsibility to your readers. Particularly the ones who have remained loyal to you and bought your work since the first book came out back in 1996. That’s 26 years ago. George, I would like to live to read the end of your series. I would like you to live to finish the series. I want to know your ending to the story and what you would have done with the characters instead of the crap we saw at the end of the show. I don’t need a coffee table book as much as I need to know what happened to characters I care about.
Your story is part of our culture, and we’d like to see it finished by you. You have to understand that we as fans have dedicated our time to you and your storytelling. We’ve invested our hearts in your work. You’ve promised this book “a hundred times in a hundred venues.” So please, stop working in the rest of it and finish telling this story. We love you, George, and we love your tale. Please finish it for us before WWIII, okay?