There was never much hope... Just a fool's hope...
Unfortunately, 2016 has arrived bearing bad news for fans of George R.R. Martin's epic series of novels, A Song of Ice and Fire. In a recent update on his 'not a blog', online live journal, George gave fans a highly anticipated update on the publication of the sixth book in the series.
In typical Martin fashion, the post started off ominously, stating "You wanted an update. Here's the update. You won't like it." and then he proceeded to crush the dreams of ASOIAF fans...
The Winds of Winter is NOT finished
George R.R. Martin is a notoriously slow writer, but also an extremely talented one. Never has one novel been so eagerly anticipated by a fandom, and with the immense success of HBO's Game of Thrones adaptation, it is clear that mounting stress is getting to the elderly writer.
In the blog post, Martin admits that he had previously set himself two deadlines. Primarily he aimed for Halloween and failing that, he set his sights on the end of 2015, but unfortunately for fans he missed them both.
Here it is, the first of January. The book is not done, not delivered. No words can change that. I tried, I promise you. I failed. I blew the Halloween deadline, and I've now blown the end of the year deadline. And that almost certainly means that no, THE WINDS OF WINTER will not be published before the sixth season of GAME OF THRONES premieres in April (mid April, we are now told, not early April, but those two weeks will not save me). Even as late as my birthday and our big Emmy win, I still thought I could do it... but the days and weeks flew by faster than the pile of pages grew, and (as I often do) I grew unhappy with some of the choices I'd made and began to revise... and suddenly it was October, and then November... and as the suspicion grew that I would not make it after all, a gloom set in, and I found myself struggling even more. The fewer the days, the greater the stress, and the slower the pace of my writing became.
Things go from bad to worse for us 'ASOIAF' fans
George R.R. Martin admits he truly has no idea when the book will finally be published. Martin looks set to go back to his old style of writing, one he is most comfortable with and undoubtedly produces his best work. His ethos is 'It will be done, when it is done.'
Chapter by chapter, page by page, word by word, Martin will labor until the book is finished. He has assured fans that it will be the best work he can possibly produce, but admits that the delay is nobody's fault but his own.
But I won't make excuses. There are no excuses. No one else is to blame. Not my editors and publishers, not HBO, not David & Dan. It's on me. I tried, and I am still trying. I worked on the book a couple of days ago, revising a Theon chapter and adding some new material, and I will writing on it again tomorrow. But no, I can't tell you when it will be done, or when it will be published. Best guess, based on our previous conversations, is that Bantam (and presumably my British publisher as well) can have the hardcover out within three months of delivery, if their schedules permit. But when delivery will be, I can't say. I am not going to set another deadline for myself to trip over. The deadlines just stress me out.
The long delays can be forgiven
With such complex narratives and vast amounts of characters, the novels of Westoros are a mammoth undertaking for the author. George R.R. Martin has created a work of fiction that is on par with the lore of Middle Earth, creating a world with literally thousands of years worth of history, folk lore, characters, myths, religions and languages.
Although we will inevitably have to wait that little bit longer for The Winds of Winter, we do have the sixth season of Game of Thrones to look forward to.
Hitting our TVs in late April, the only downside of the HBO epic is yes, there will be spoilers for the sixth book, that's a sad truth of the matter. However, the books and TV show are both entirely different animals. Thus, let's enjoy them as such. Check out the Season 6 teaser below.
Night gathers, and now my watch begins...