HBO's Game of Thrones ended, but the original Song of Ice and Fire book series still has two novels left to go. As fans' vitriol toward the final season of Game of Thrones has begun to die down, readers have learned that George R.R. Martin doesn't care what fans think — he's going to finish his book, his way.
Discussing the highly anticipated sixth ASOIAF book, The Winds of Winter, Martin told Entertainment Weekly that he tries hard to avoid exposing himself to fan theories and opinions of his work. "I want to write the book I’ve always intended to write all along," he said. "And when it comes out [fans] can like it or they can not like it."
That kind of BDE is surprising — and, in many ways, downright refreshing — from Martin, an author who has spent nearly a decade with his writing habits under intense scrutiny. July 12, 2019 marked eight years since the most recent ASOIAF book, A Dance with Dragons, landed in stores. The first season of HBO's Game of Thrones had only just finished airing when Dance came out, and fans' hopes were high that Martin would finish The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring before showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss completed their TV series.
For a while, the gap between A Dance with Dragons and The Winds of Winter made sense. In early 2016, a projection based on authors' writing times and page volumes surfaced, predicting that Winds would be out in 2017, with Dream to land in 2023. But as 2017 came and went... and 2018... and the final season of Game of Thrones in 2019... ASOIAF fans became increasingly restless.
To his credit, Martin was also sure he would have the books finished before the final season of the HBO series wrapped. Years of updates and interviews show an eagerness to finish The Winds of Winter before the end of the year, before the next season, before the series finale. Unfortunately, for all of Martin's plans, and in spite of rumors that he had completed it, the sixth ASOIAF book hasn't quite come together.
Martin seems to feel good about the current state of affairs for his flagship series, however. He told Entertainment Weekly that the "pressure" he has been under since Game of Thrones began has abated. "The most pressure I felt was a few years ago when I was desperately trying to stay ahead of the show," Martin said. "There was a point when the show was coming out in April and my editors said if I could finish the book by December they’d rush it out. And the pressure I felt that fall was the greatest pressure I’ve ever felt and then at a certain point it became apparent I’m not going to finish it by then.... Since then there’s been pressure but not like there was at that point."
Now Martin can relax and write the final two ASOIAF books without feeling rushed. "There’s no longer a race," he said. "The show is over. I’m writing the book. It will be done when it’s done."
The Winds of Winter will be out eventually, and Martin's fans will be there to meet it when it comes.