Fellow citizens of the internet, it’s no secret that fantasy fans everywhere swarm any news about George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series like ravenous ravens swarming over breadcrumbs. And for a long time, fans had little more than breadcrumbs to go on…dissecting released chapters, ruminating over fan theories, and decoding vague comments from the author. Since Martin’s fifth book in the series, A Dance With Dragons, dropped on July 12, 2011, we fantasy fans have been chasing our tails debating (click at your own spoiler risk!) whether Roose Bolton is a skin-stealing immortal creature, who in the world is Quaithe, and if King Tommen’s kitten Ser Pounce is actually Azor Ahai. No, we’re not desperate, why do you ask?
On January 2nd, George wrote a heartfelt entry on his Not A Blog about the delays of the book and his commitment to creating a quality story, no matter the time it may take. Fans left overwhelmingly supportive messages for George R.R. Martin, illustrating an understanding of what most fantasy readers know to be true: world-building takes time, care, and genuine commitment. Sure, we are reeling from several nail-biting cliffhangers that majorly impact our beloved characters. But as much as I need the new book in my life, I have had a few days to consider these new developments, and this fangirl can wait.
Based on the positive response from other fans, it sounds like I’m not the only one. Martin is known for taking his time to create stories organically. I for one support that so his stories can grow, adapt, and flow as they were meant to. If GRRM is just rushing to meet a deadline, some nuances will definitely get lost along the way. Just imagine if other beloved authors were pressured to speed up their process? Would J.K. Rowling have settled for character names like Hermione Puckle and Draco Spungen? Would a looming deadline have forced Tolkien to send Frodo hopping on an eagle and shortcutting it to Mount Doom?
Yes, this means that Game of Thrones’ sixth season will explore things beyond the current canon of the books. Yes, it may reveal certain plot points and storylines that book readers have been waiting to discover, but any book reader can attest to the entertaining divergence of the books and television series. As George R.R. Martin says, “The case of Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire is perhaps unique. I can’t think of any other instance where the movie or TV show came out as the source material was still being written. So when you ask me, ‘will the show spoil the books,’ all I can do is say, ‘yes and no,’ and mumble once again about the butterfly effect. Those pretty little butterflies have grown into mighty dragons. Some of the ‘spoilers’ you may encounter in season six may not be spoilers at all… because the show and the books have diverged, and will continue to do so.” To each their own, but personally, these inherently shocking OMG moments always keep me coming back for more. NO ONE IS SAFE.
In the end, George R.R, Martin is a thoughtful world-builder and meticulous author, but he isn’t our writing slave, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. George, we eagerly await a book announcement one of these days, but in the meantime, please take your time.