Are you the kind of person who just can’t get enough George R.R. Martin? Of course you are, pretty much everyone is at this point! Then you’ll be thrilled to hear that Martin’s A Song Of Ice And Fire series may wind up being eight books long, instead of seven, the number Martin previously agreed to. This was the major revelation from an interview with Martin’s longtime editor, Anne Groell:
I begin to wonder — though 7 is what we currently have under contract. I remember when he called me, years and years back, to confess that his little trilogy was … well … no longer a trilogy. He predicted four books. I said Seven Books for Seven Kingdoms. Then he said five books. I said Seven Books for Seven Kingdoms. Then he went to six. I said … Well, you get it. Finally, we were on the same page. Seven Books for Seven Kingdoms. Good. Only, as I recently learned while editing THE WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE (another awesome thing you must buy when it comes out!), there are really technically eight kingdoms, all having to do with who has annexed what when Aegon the Conqueror landed in Westeros. So, maybe eight books for Seven Kingdoms would be okay. Also, he has promised me that, when he finally wraps this great beast us, I can publish the five page letter outlining the bare bones of the “trilogy.”
If the series does expand to eight books, it would not be shocking – the series has branched out from its originally planned length several times before. According to the interview, Martin had initially wanted to simply write a trilogy. But as he continued to gain more inspiration – and more characters – the series has kept getting bigger. According to Groell, even when Martin was insisting that he would only write three (or four books), she had anticipated it would be seven, because of the inherent logic of seven books for seven kingdoms. It makes sense, but based on this recent developments, even that might not be enough to contain all of Martin’s ideas.
One particularly amusing bit of Groell’s interview was Martin’s insistence on having his characters use the phrase “words are wind” in A Dance Of Dragons. The phrase comes up 14 times, and Groell’s attempts to convince him to trim it down to 6-7 usages was rejected on the spot. 14 does seem like a bit much, but hey, you don’t mess with genius.
In the hands of a lesser author, all of this sprawl might seem a bit excessive, but Martin seems to thrive on writing more and more books, and adding more and more characters. If a few months from now, we find out that he has enough in the tank to stretch in out to nine novels, it would hardly be a surprise. And for his biggest fans, it would hardly be a disappointment either.