This 'Winds Of Winter' Update From George R. R. Martin Will Soothe Those Who Miss The Show

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Monday marks three months since HBO's Game of Thrones wrapped up its final season, and fans must now confront their own long winter, waiting for the release of the next volume in Westeros' epic story. Luckily, this The Winds of Winter update will definitely soothe fans of the show who have been itching to get their hands on the new book. This update comes from George R. R. Martin's latest interview with The Guardian, in which he reveals that the HBO show being over has been beneficial for his writing.

George R.R. Martin published the first volume in his A Song of Ice and Fire (ASOIAF) series, A Game of Thrones, more than 20 years ago, way back in 1996. Fifteen years later, just after Martin's series became must-watch TV for HBO, the author published his fifth ASOIAF book, A Dance with Dragons. At the time, fans were hopeful that Martin would finish the final two books in his planned heptalogy — The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring — well in advance of the HBO series' finale. Eight years later, however, Game of Thrones has ended its run on premium cable, and ASOIAF fans still have no release date for the conclusion to Martin's epic saga.

In an interview with The Guardian, published on Sunday, Martin offers up a few explanations as to why The Winds of Winter has yet to appear on store shelves. Here are five big takeaways from the A Song of Ice and Fire author's latest interview.

The Show Kept Him From Finishing 'The Winds Of Winter'

HBO

Although Martin admits that the HBO show put pressure on him to finish his book series, he tells The Guardian that his writing suffered from the stress.

"I don’t think it was very good for me," Martin says, "because the very thing that should have speeded me up actually slowed me down. Every day I sat down to write and even if I had a good day — and a good day for me is three or four pages — I’d feel terrible because I’d be thinking: 'My God, I have to finish the book. I’ve only written four pages when I should have written 40.' But having the show finish is freeing, because I’m at my own pace now."

He Likes Big, Sprawling Projects Like Westeros

This revelation will surprise exactly zero of Martin's loyal readers, who have come to love his intricate plots and wide networks of characters. It does help to explain why he has published books like Tales of Dunk & Egg and Fire & Blood, however.

"Westeros has become very big," Martin says, "and I know that that frustrates some of my fans, who would rather I just keep to the main storyline as they see it, which is the seven-book Song of Ice and Fire. But almost from the first I’ve seen other possibilities, other stories that are buried there."

The Guardian interview goes on to note that, even during his pre-ASOIAF days in Hollywood, Martin preferred his "big, untidy, expensive first drafts" to the "pared-down and polished up work that was acceptable to the studio executives."

He Can't Go To Fan Parties Anymore

Prior to the success of HBO's Game of Thrones, Martin was a well-known author in science fiction and fantasy circles, who maintained a tight-knit community of adoring fans. Included among these were the Brotherhood Without Banners — a squad of fans who attended conferences and had drinks with Martin on various occasions. After the show became popular, the parties became "bigger and bigger and more and more crowded."

"They still have those parties and they’re still great, and I’m still friendly with the people I met back in 2001 and 2002, but I can’t meet the new people any more because there are too many. I’m sure they’re just as delightful as the old people, but I don’t want to go to a party where an unending succession of people want to take selfies with me, because that’s not fun the way it was in the old days. That’s work."

He Can't Really Go Anywhere Anymore

Macall B. Polay/HBO

Not only can Martin not attend Brotherhood Without Banners parties like he used to, but he also can't go out to normal places, like bookstores.

"I can’t go into a bookstore any more," Martin says, "and that used to be my favourite thing to do in the world. To go in and wander from stack to stack, take down some books, read a little, leave with a big stack of things I’d never heard of when I came in. Now when I go to a bookstore, I get recognised within 10 minutes and then there’s a crowd around me."

His Favorite Moment From The Books Isn't What You'd Expect

Closing out his interview with The Guardian, Martin fields a question about his favorite scene from the ASOIAF books — and his answer isn't what you'd expect.

"I remember there’s a speech that a septon gives to Brienne about broken men and how they become broken," he says. "I was always pretty pleased about writing that."