George R.R. Martin will go down as one of the great fantasy writers of a generation, having penned an iconic group of books that was turned into one of the true blockbuster television shows ever. You’d think he’d be on top of the world right? Having seen his work play out on screen for millions of eyes. Well, think again, because the writer continues to be in the crosshairs of his legions of fans and recently he clapped back at them. After getting trolled a bit over the timing of his next book, the author took to calling his fans “assholes” for giving him a hard time about the release date (which is TBD).
The “problems” for George R.R. Martin in the eyes of his fans involved the upcoming (though we don’t know when) book Winds of Winter. The book, which is slated to be number six in his Song of Ice and Fire series has been long-awaited by fans. It’s been nearly nine years since book five, A Dance With Dragons released and ended up posing more questions within the story than answers. Where some of the friction comes is that Martin, at one point, had very clearly claimed he would be done with Winds of Winter by the summer of 2020. But that timeline has long-since passed and there’s no next book in the series.
In fact, here was George R.R. Martin’s direct quote, via his personal blog, about when he’d be done with the Winds of Winter:
“…But I tell you this — if I don’t have THE WINDS OF WINTER in hand when I arrive in New Zealand for worldcon, you have here my formal written permission to imprison me in a small cabin on White Island…”
While this may be a tongue-in-cheek timeline and a joke about the requisite punishment, fans very much took it as something to look forward to when it came to the next in the series. They were quite disappointed when it didn’t come. Martin recently had this to say in response to the backlash of not being finished yet:
“I will make no predictions on when I will finish. Every time I do, assholes on the internet take that as a “promise,” and then wait eagerly to crucify me when I miss the deadline. All I will say is that I am hopeful.”
It’s easy to understand the frustration on both sides here. From the fans’ point of view, George R.R. Martin saying he made no promises about finishing is at least a little little bit untrue considering it’s right there in print about his expected timeline. Maybe the punishment was meant as a joke of course, but he’s clearly setting specific expectations about when the book would be finished and communicating it to fans.
On George R.R. Martin’s side, if the words won’t come then they won’t come and sometimes even certain deadlines can’t be hit around creative work like this. The author did go on to say how busy he was with other projects and that was inhibiting him from being able to finish as well. And he offered a ray of hope as well saying this year he’d written hundreds of pages for the manuscript, but reminded folks again that it was far from being done.
In the end, George R.R. Martin will finish Winds of Winter when he finishes. That’s not to sound glib about it, but at this point, it’s been more than a decade since the last book. So expectations should be low about it getting done at all, regardless of claims around how much he’s said he’s worked on it this year. That’s not a dig, it’s just reality.
In the meantime, there’s plenty of Game of Thrones to get excited about in the future. Following HBO’s record-breaking series which wrapped two years ago, a new series House of the Dragon is in the works now. It will detail the time hundreds of years in the past in Westeros and focus on the House of Targaryen’s complicated history. George R.R. Martin is actively involved with the series, which is just another thing that will probably delay Winds of Winter. At this point, fans can only hope.