Strictly speaking, I empathize a great deal with “the collective” reaction concerning George R. R Martin’s infinitely delayed installment to the legendary, “A Song of Ice and Fire” that was originally set to be released this year. For fans, this inevitably means an even greater diversion between HBO’s GOT and his novels, which of course has caused zero silence within the realm! Martin’s public announcement that the book remains not yet finished has produced such an outcry within the fandom universe that Winter Coming is no longer their main concern. Their concern is now primarily focused on the possibility that Winter may never come at all.
Let’s get one thing straight:
As a fan, I am no stranger to long, deeply ingrained hours of caring perhaps “too much” about the infinite realms of fiction that have legitimized my FanGirl resume thus far—and of course, this type of loyalty often merits subsequent hours of emotional response. Some prefer to paint their faces and throw beer bottles when their respective football teams lose! I desire similarly to become enmeshed within the universe of Game of Thrones and genera alike. The universal construct of fan-life is quite unique when you begin to think about it as a sub-culture purely fueled by a cohort of positive reaction. The phrase, “it may not be real, but it is real to me…” has silently shaped the essence of culture as we know it.
At times, we fans tend to forget how fragile this reality truly is… All Martin has to do to be rid of the fanaticism and pressure is to declare, “I am not going to write this series anymore,” and then Lucas it off to HBO once and for all.
Shoulder shrug-- I did not see that coming. Que flashbacks of the Red Wedding! Trigger: PTSD. Rob Stark. Damn.
Why would a writer do this?
He probably wouldn't do this. AT ALL. (simmer down shippers) Martin is fairly perfect when it comes to loving his creation, but sitting in the backlash of these recent events--no one could blame him if it crossed his mind, even jokingly.
Understand, writers by nature are driven by “a force” (unbeknownst to most non-writers) that can appear magical at times, even to them. Whether you care to believe it, writers often encounter seasons when our hands and brain align to perform cosmic masterpieces! Conversely, this momentous occasion is then followed by days, months, years--when every damn word comes out with the momentum of tar. Deflated little pieces of nothing that flap about under the weight of each dispassionate, syllable.
All of this of course attributing the famed “writer persona.” You know: the idea that all writers are self-serving, pretentious beings who spend more time concerned with their own thoughts, opinions, in the mirror of self-loathing than any other artist combined! And to some extent, clichés aside: this has to be true to write anything worth reading—especially in terms of hyper-sensitive fan-lots, such as your (my) self. ESPECIALLY in terms of fiction.
The hours writers spend in the throes of whatever universe is propelling their pen is the glowing-quintessence we fans revel in—like dogs.
The Writer-Fan paradigm often reminds me of the Vikings theme song: “THIS WILL NEVER END ‘CAUSE I WANT MORE. MORE, GIVE ME MORE. GIVE ME MORE…” Strangely, the writer-writer paradigm is often laced with the same obsessive reel. You can see where this could end, right? Destruction. Fire. My Precious! Nooooooo… With respect to creative process, the connection a writer shares with the internal workings of their creative mind cannot be broken—and when it is, it is impossible to write… anything.
Honestly, I cannot imagine the beating Martin’s writing-space has encountered regarding the flux, expectation and constant submersion into these realms, since the release of GOT. One can suspect that burn-out, or purely the looming need to pen something “great” has largely dislodged his ability to positively approach this story, especially as its weight only continues to mound—in the absence of it.
Now, his novel sits under the projection of boisterous eye-rolling coming at him from literally all directions. This is not to say, I have not encountered a fair amount of support flitting about the fandom universe! An affable cushion, I imagine—but their “love” certainly does not represent the collective sigh, curtailing the news of his delay. Martin is literally swimming in a vat of the “stuff” that makes writing nearly impossible. Pressure is a handy wonder, yet the last result any of his fans are hoping for is this series (books or otherwise) to become toxic for him.
Just as we create the culture of fan-life, we attribute to the mental-space from which a writer creates. Rowling often accredited the challenges to being an Author under world expectation as the reason she nearly chose to off Harry Potter all together. I am for one glad she did not, but could we have slain her for it—if she had, given the literary climate of fandom at that that time? Never bite the hand that feeds you! Yet, we have in grand ways taken massive chunks of Martin’s flesh in attempts to stress our unwavering loyalty to his work. Nom. Nom. Nom. * MORE, GIVE ME MORE. GIVE ME MORE …
Yes. Yes. There are those business-minded folks that lay claim he still has a job to do, and with respect to the consumer-universe of “how the world goes ‘round,” I suppose you are correct. However, art does not work that way, and with respect to writing--even less. As fans, we need to come to terms with the human aspect of our non-human world. At some point, we must be mindful of life’s little warning labels: side effects of this series may include: the writer to be human and experience delays, etc… And assure we poise our position from a throne of respect, even when we critique the hell out of it. (Did I just go all Ned Stark for a moment?) Which we do! We are fans. Of course! Ha-ha. This entire site is nothing more than a forum comprised of massive celebration countered by heartrending strife! <-------------I penned this sentence with a smile. Am I not bleeding now? Gah. It is a bloody massacre over here!
Take credit in knowing “we” are the illusive force that drives popular culture into legend! We are doing it even now…
Nevertheless, let’s face it, in pursuit of wielding such legends: we easily become stodgy, pedantic assholes in efforts to play our part. Guilty as charged. There are no fingers pointed here! It is a safe place. We ruin worlds as much as we create them, and it is entirely possible we are ruining this one, too. Forget Winter. The Fans are coming! A far scarier notion than a White-Walker, is the scene when overzealous-fans storm the psyche of their favorite writer, demanding blood.
So, in efforts to quell some of the fan-fits, would it not be better for Martin to run off to the landscape of his choice, disappear for five-years (desensitize) and pen out a masterpiece, than to read another “novel” produced to feed the insatiable hunger of the masses that bore no actual weight, less for it being released in time for the next GOT season?
You may answer yes, but Benioff and Weiss have proved themselves time and again. Let us not discount their genius here, either--folks. They've got your backs.
I may be reaching, but I am guessing Martin feels similarly, and out of loyalty to you, his fans—would not have it any other way, than to present you with his best work, regardless of timing.
George R. R Martin, you are simply phenomenal.