George RR Martin published the most recent part of the A Song Of Ice and Fire series – A Dance with Dragons – back in 2011, and fans have been waiting for The Winds of Winter ever since.
Now, as it becomes clear that it won’t be out in 2018, some of those waiting have begun discussing on Reddit why it’s taking so long – and it makes for interesting reading.
MomentsPause asked: “I’m interested in people’s opinions as to what exactly GRRM is blocked on. Is it general difficulties tying up loose ends as the story draws to a close? Writing the specifics for large events he has known were coming? Fitting in new twists that he has become attached to? [Or] Something else?”
The top-rated reply came from user Griddamus, who wrote: “I think there are two main reasons.
“1. Writing dozens of connecting plot threads is hard. You might get through twenty of them, really like a new idea and have to go back to change the ones you’d already thought finished.
“2. Having the TV show basically spoil the ending of your three decade story has got to put a dampener on wanting to finish it.
“Bonus: GRRM is a temperamental man. All the negative stuff on the internet about it I expect just makes him stick his middle finger up and just says ‘Well, f**k it then’.”
Another user, tmobsessed, responded: “I think it’s more about the big meta ending more than any individual problems.
“I think watching the show play out has made him very paranoid about the ending not living up to the setup.
“If you think about it, there are very few massive stories where the ending is truly satisfying. In fact, I can’t think of any multi-book fantasies-even my faves-where the ending wasn’t a bit of a letdown.
“To the (small) extent that the show is doing his blueprint, it’s doing it at a breakneck clip and without all the character development, meta themes and embedded mysteries and intrigues.
“Stripped of those (which to me are the best part) he’s forced to look at the broad plot under a microscope, naked with nothing to cover its weaknesses, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t like what he sees.”
They added: “If Dany is Azor Ahai and saves the world, or if Jon is and saves the world, or if Bran is, and saves the world … none of those is really sufficiently satisfying to pay off all the buildup and all the insane amount of waiting for books to come out.
“On top of that, he’s seeing his own mortality and realising that this is his legacy. And the pressure of all the success is making him compare it to greater and greater works of literature and I think he’s terrified of his magnum opus not living up to everyone’s hopes.”
The official line on why The Winds of Winter is delayed has always been the sheer amount Martin has on his plate – from TV projects to other writing commitments.
But it’s just about certain now that Game of Thrones – the TV show – will conclude before The Winds of Winter is released, after which there’s still one more book (A Dream of Spring) still to go.
In the meantime, Fire and Blood – a two-volume companion book – is due out at the end of the year.
Martin confirmed in a blog post earlier this year that The Winds of Winter is definitely still in development.