Following the success of the TV series Game of Thrones, which was based upon George R.R. Martin’s fantasy novels A Song of Ice and Fire, fans have been eagerly awaiting the next installment in the epic saga, The Winds of Winter, which has been hotly anticipated since the last book was published back in 2011. Aware of his slow writing pace, Martin has been careful about not giving fans false hope as to when the next book will be released, though he did recently publish a post on his Not A Blog page, where he stated that he was making decent progress with the novel.
Martin began by stating that he has spent most of the lockdown isolated in a cabin in the mountains, saying that while he has felt a little stir crazy he is otherwise healthy, and is being cautious to remain that way. As Martin writes, being an isolated author in a cabin sounds like something from a Stephen King novel, though we’re hoping Martin’s time in isolation doesn’t go the way of The Shining. The author went on to say that his time has been spent watching television, catching up on some reading, and of course, working on The Winds of Winter.
Speaking of Winds, Martin wrote: “If nothing else, the enforced isolation has helped me write. I am spending long hours every day on THE WINDS OF WINTER, and making steady progress. I finished a new chapter yesterday, another one three days ago, another one the previous week. But no, this does not mean that the book will be finished tomorrow or published next week. It’s going to be a huge book, and I still have a long way to go. Please do not give any credence to any of the click-bait websites that like to parse every word of my posts as if they were papal encyclicals to divine hidden meanings.”
He later returned to the topic of Winds, stating: “Of late I have been visiting with Cersei, Asha, Tyrion, Ser Barristan, and Areo Hotah. I will be dropping back into Braavos next week. I have bad days, which get me down, and good days, which lift me up, but all in all I am pleased with the way things are doing.”
Martin went on to recommend several books he has been enjoying, including Stephen King’s new novel If It Bleeds, of which he said: “I love these novella collections that King comes out with from time to time between his novels. This one features a new Holly Gibney story, and it is always great to see that character again… but there’s also a story called “Rat” about a writer trying to finish a novel in an isolated cabin which… ah… resonated with me rather strongly for some reason.”
Martin also highly recommended The Glass Jar by Emily St. John Mandel, writing: “No, this one is not science fiction or fantasy. In fact, I would be hard pressed to say what it is except a damn fine novel. It is about a hotel in a remote location, the people who work there, the people who stay there, it is about a Ponzi scheme, and art, and music, and a dysfunctional family, and… oh, well, I don’t know what it is about, but I do know that once I started reading, I could not stop. When people describe a book as a “page turner,” usually they are talking about novels that have a lot of plot, which Mandel definitely does not, yet somehow she keeps me turning pages regardless. And she writes just beautifully. Her prose is not overblown or excessively ornate, as is the case with too many writers who are known as “stylists,” but… it is just lovely, haunting and evocative and immersive… I guess you can say I am a big Emily St. John Mandel fanboy. I look forward to whatever she writes next.”
He finished the post by acknowledging that Hollywood has slowed considerably in the wake of the pandemic, but that many of the projects he’s attached to are still going ahead, including the Game of Thrones spin-off show The House of the Dragon, which is currently in the writing process. Martin finished by saying: “Mostly, it’s just me in Westeros, with occasional side trips to other places in the pages of a great book.
“Now you will have to excuse me. Arya is calling. I think she means to kill someone.”