If the words “disappointing” and “George R.R. Martin” appear in a headline, you can likely guess what that means. The Game of Thrones author posted a note in the early morning hours Saturday to inform the world that the next book in the A Song Of Ice And Fire series is not finished. Not only that, but it won’t be finished before the new season of Game Of Thrones begins on HBO:
Believe me, it gave me no pleasure to type those words. You’re disappointed, and you’re not alone. My editors and publishers are disappointed, HBO is disappointed, my agents and foreign publishers and translators are disappointed… but no one could possibly be more disappointed than me. For months now I have wanted nothing so much as to be able to say, “I have completed and delivered THE WINDS OF WINTER” on or before the last day of 2015.
But the book’s not done.
Nor is it likely to be finished tomorrow, or next week. Yes, there’s a lot written. Hundreds of pages. Dozens of chapters. (Those ‘no pages done’ reports were insane, the usual garbage internet journalism that I have learned to despise). But there’s also a lot still left to write. I am months away still… and that’s if the writing goes well. (Sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn’t.) Chapters still to write, of course… but also rewriting. I always do a lot of rewriting, sometimes just polishing, sometimes pretty major restructures.
In the detailed post on his personal blog, Martin goes into detail about the initial plans he had with his publisher to close out 2015, including a loose deadline for the book to be released before the beginning of season six later this year. That is not going to happen, prompting Martin to point at every excuse that ever been written about him up to this point — some unfairly — to explain why this happened:
You can blame my travels or my blog posts or the distractions of other projects and the Cocteau and whatever, but maybe all that had an impact… you can blame my age, and maybe that had an impact too…but if truth be told, sometimes the writing goes well and sometimes it doesn’t, and that was true for me even when I was in my 20s. And as spring turned to summer, I was having more bad days than good ones. Around about August, I had to face facts: I was not going to be done by Halloween. I cannot tell you how deeply that realization depressed me.
It’s disappointing that the book will not be here for fans, possibly this year or possibly the next, but it’s also hard to grasp the pressure that must be on Martin these days. Thrones is one of the most watched shows on television and fans are desperate to know what happens next. It has a following that could rival Star Wars and has reached the cultural point where other shows are using Game Of Thrones to describe themselves — like Syfy’s The Expanse being “Game Of Thrones in space.”
The biggest note that Martin left, closing out his post, deals with the diverging paths the show is taking from the books. We won’t post it here, but major spoilers are involved regarding the status of characters on the show and their counterparts in the books. It is definitely not a thing to look at if you haven’t caught up on the series in either format, which Martin warns before the close of the post.
At least he promises it will be as good as he can make it once the book is finished. It’s a fine line to walk between doing too much and not doing enough for a story, but it is comforting to know that an author is still taking his time when he likely doesn’t have to. The public would buy the book in its current form if he put it out.