On New Year’s Day, George R.R. Martin took to his humble LiveJournal blog, Not A Blog, and made several posts detailing his 2015. The man has been busy these past twelve months: winning awards, running his specialty movie theater The Cocteau, opening an art gallery, and travelling around the world. After spending several pages detailing all this, he finally cut to the chase and updated us on his progress with The Winds of Winter, the sixth book in the Game of Thrones series.
The news wasn’t good. Not only was The Winds of Winter not ready yet, it wouldn’t be ready by the time season six of Game of Thrones debuted on HBO in April. He didn’t know when he’d be done, and refused to set any new deadline. “It will be done when it’s done,” he declared. “And it will be as good as I can possibly make it.”
The entry was light on excuses and heavy on frustration and apology. You could tell George R.R. Martin was just as disappointed as the rest of us that he didn’t have better news to tell. And when he put that entry up on the internet at 1:30 a.m. in the morning, I’m sure he went to bed with heartburn in anticipation of the sh*tstorm he’d wake up to the next day. But then something strange happened: people were kind and understanding.
“The outpouring of support in response to my post on THE WINDS OF WINTER has been astonishing,” George wrote the next evening. “I cannot tell you how much I appreciate all the kind words and good wishes.”
Sure, there was some griping. But for the most part, people were pretty cool with the possibility of waiting another nine to twelve months (hopefully?) for the next book. Our man Danger Guerrero wrote a nice guide to staying zen in the face of angry expectation, which I think stands alongside Neil Gaiman’s famous ‘George R.R. Martin Is Not Your Bitch’ screed. Online communities reasoned that we still haven’t waited as long for Winds of Winter as we did for the last two (we’re up to year five, while Feast for Crows and Dance with Dragons took six years each).
All in all, the internet took the news on the chin with impressive poise, especially considering the insane fandom that now exists because of the show. And considering this season, that show will undoubtedly move ahead of the books in many areas. There’s a quiet disappointment amongst fans, to be sure. We would have all loved a new book to carry us through the end of winter. But it’s nice to see fans cutting George R.R. Martin some slack and not turning into a frothy mob over the latest delay.
After all, the guy is responsible for some of the best fantasy books ever written. He went from being largely unknown to one of the best known authors in the world in the span of five years. That’s quite a change in lifestyle for anyone to adjust to. So, if anyone deserves a little slack, it’s him. Good on you, internet, for giving it to him.