HBO’s TV series Game of Thrones may have come to an end, but the fantasy series it’s based on, George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, is still to be finished. Fans are now looking to George for news on a possible release date for the long awaited sequel The Winds of Winter, and it seems George has provided us with some hope, sort of. In an amusing post on his Not a Blog, Martin responded to a video made by Air New Zealand which invited George to come to New Zealand on their dime and get some much needed peace, quiet, and inspiration, to help him finish the upcoming book.
Martin wrote that he was very nearly convinced to take Air New Zealand up on the offer, saying: “I cannot say I was not tempted. New Zealand is a beautiful place. As it happens, I have already visited there a number of times. I’ve been to Auckland and Wellington and Christchurch and Rotoroa… and Hobbiton, of course. I’ve gone whale watching (we never saw a whale, but there were hundreds of dusky dolphins), checked out the Te Papa, the Weta Workshop, the aquarium in Auckland, and a cool automobile museum somewhere near Wellington. From Rotoroa I took a helicopter out to White Island, with its boiling mud pools and lovely lake of sulfuric acid. (With Hobbiton and Mordor on the same island, you really ought to change your name to Middle Earth). I’ve been to a few hangis too, and my minions have a video of me attempting to do a haka that they periodically use to blackmail me.”
He then went on to reveal that he is actually due to visit the real life Middle-Earth in 2020, when he will serve as Toastmaster for the Hugo Awards that Summer. He thanked Air New Zealand for their generous offer, and proposed that perhaps, instead of them flying him to the beautiful country, they could instead fly over some American fantasy fans who would otherwise be unable to embark on such a trip. “I have no doubt they would instantly accept, and fall in love with Middle Earth.. er, New Zealand… just as I have. And you have such big planes, I’m sure you could squeeze them in,” he wrote.
George finished the entry by giving fans a little hope regarding the release date of The Winds of Winter. He wrote: “As for finishing my book… I fear that New Zealand would distract me entirely too much. Best leave me here in Westeros for the nonce. But I tell you this — if I don’t have THE WINDS OF WINTER in hand when I arrive in New Zealand for worldcon, you have here my formal written permission to imprison me in a small cabin on White Island, overlooking that lake of sulfuric acid, until I’m done. Just so long as the acrid fumes do not screw up my old DOS word processor, I’ll be fine.”
So there you have it. It looks like George is hoping to get The Winds of Winter finished by at least 2020, though this wouldn’t be the first time he’s overestimated how soon his next book will be ready, so take all this with a pinch of salt. However, we do have his written permission to lock him up in a cabin if it’s not done by then so that’s something!