Following the hit adaptation Game of Thrones by HBO, George R.R. Martin’s fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire has become a household name in the fiction genre. The books have been lauded for their original, gritty take on fantasy tropes while featuring realistic struggles for power against a fantasy backdrop of dragons and magic. While there’s no doubting Martin’s books are worth the attention of all fantasy fans, even Martin himself admits he’s a very slow writer, it’s been almost a decade since the last entry in the series was published, and fans have been eagerly awaiting the next installment, The Winds of Winter. Last year, Martin stated that, if he doesn’t have the book in hand by July 29th, 2020, we have his permission to lock him away until it’s done. Well, today’s July 30th…
On 21st May last year, Martin published a post on his Not a Blog, expressing his excitement to be visiting New Zealand in the Summer of 2020 for the World Science Fiction Convention, where he would serve as Toastmaster for the Hugo Awards. At the end of the post, Martin also stated that, if he didn’t have a copy of The Winds of Winter in hand by the time the event arrived on 29th July, we have his permission to lock him in a small cabin on White Island until it’s done.
“As for finishing my book… I fear that New Zealand would distract me entirely too much,” wrote Martin. “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.”
Well, the World Science Fiction Convention kicked off yesterday, though it’s being hosted online, and so far we’ve had no news about The Winds of Winter, much less a release date. Fans across the world have been pointing out that Martin should now be locked away in a cabin until the last chapter of the highly anticipated book is complete. It’s all in good humour, but there are plenty of fans who are no doubt disappointed that the wait continues on.
In Martin’s defence, no one could’ve have predicted that the world would be battling a pandemic during the Summer of 2020, so we’re willing to forgive him for not having the book in hand, though it sure would’ve been nice to have had a copy on hand to kill some time during lockdown. Here’s hoping that this time next year, the pandemic will be a bad memory, and we’ll have a copy of Martin’s book on our shelves.