With the new season fast approaching, news is leaking out all the time about Game of Thrones, with hints thrown at fans as to what direction this season might take. The last season already diverted from the books, and with characters cut out or merged, and story lines completely dropped, it’s safe to say that the TV show has, for a while, been heading somewhere different from the books. Yet despite this, with almost every new piece that comes out, someone will berate the author of the popular A Song of Ice & Fire series for still not finishing the next book.
A lot of people refer to prolific author Stephen King when arguing that it cannot be that hard to produce a novel regularly for the fans. And yes, King does come out with novels at a fast rate. As a King fan I can’t keep up, but among the books that come out are short stories and novellas, not just full length novels. And not everyone writes like King does, not everyone can produce work that fast. And, secondly, let’s not forget that it took over twenty years for him to complete his Dark Tower series. The first book came out in 1982, the last book in 2004 and a further novel in 2012. In contrast, A Song of Ice & Fire had its first book in 1996 and the fifth book in 2011. Yes, the latter is going to take longer but King only returned to Roland and his ka-tet after a pretty bad car accident.
Furthermore, although there were many people writing to King asking him to complete the series, it wasn’t on the same global mainstream scale as GRRM is now facing. Personally, I can’t imagine how much pressure he must be under to get the next book done. But that pressure, the knowledge that so many people are now waiting for it, is probably going to filter in and cause the dreaded writer’s block. And it’s not like he hasn’t done anything.
GRRM has been working on other stuff, other stories, working on the show, etc. And people complain about that, about getting short stories or spin offs or whatever and not the real thing. Problem is, and I’ve felt this myself with novels that are yet to see the light of day, sometimes you get stuck. Sometimes the characters just refuse to budge from a certain situation and the only way to get around it so you know you can come back with a clear idea is to work on something else.
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe he has been procrastinating and putting it off and to be honest, I’ll be cheering along with everyone else once the book is finally released and I can actually read it but, if I’m honest, I’d rather him take his time and deliver something decent rather than give us something not that good just to get people to shut up.
And in the meantime…there are literally thousands more books out there I want to read, and some of them include GRRM’s older works too (so far I’ve read the Wild Cards anthology, his Dreamsongs collection but just volume 1, Windhaven, and a couple of the Egg & Duck graphic novels…) so it’s not like I, or anyone else for that matter, is sitting at home twiddling their thumbs with absolutely nothing to read until the next book comes out.