George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series got an enormous boost in popularity after HBO adapted it into the hit TV show Game of Thrones. While the show has outpaced the books, and is set to air its final season next year, fans of the books are still waiting for Martin to finish the sixth book, The Winds of Winter.
The last book in the series was A Dance with Dragons, which was published in 2011. Seven years later and we’re still eagerly awaiting the sixth instalment to find out what happens to our heroes. Martin is known for being a slow writer but, in a recent interview with The Guardian, he revealed that he’s been struggling with the latest book.
“I’ve been struggling with it for a few years,” he said. “The Winds of Winter is not so much a novel as a dozen novels, each with a different protagonist, each having a different cast of supporting players, antagonists, allies and lovers around them, and all of these weaving together against the march of time in an extremely complex fashion. So it’s very, very challenging. Fire and Blood by contrast was very simple. Not that it’s easy – it still took me years to put together – but it is easier.”
While Martin has worked on other projects since the release of A Dance with Dragons, he did confirm that Winds is now his main priority, after that he’ll see what comes next. No doubt many fans will want him to go straight on to the seventh and final book in the series, A Dream of Spring, but it remains to be seen what George will turn to after Winds‘ publication. “The Winds of Winter is next,” he confirmed. “Then I’ll decide what comes after that – whether it’s to go on to A Dream of Spring, the last one, or whether I switch back into Fire and Blood II, do another Dunk and Egg story or two. But I’ll worry about that one thing at a time – that’s too far ahead.”
The enormous success of HBO’s Game of Thrones saw Martin’s readership increase hugely and the author quickly became a celebrity. Martin stated that the intense spotlight and fame that’s now upon him has added a certain amount of pressure that has made writing harder.
“The show has achieved such popularity around the world, the books have been so popular and so well reviewed, that every time I sit down I’m very conscious I have to do something great, and trying to do something great is a considerable weight to bear,” Martin said. “On the other hand, once I really get rolling, I get into the world. The rest of the world vanishes, and I don’t care what I’m having for dinner, what movies are on, what my email says or who’s mad at me this week because The Winds of Winter isn’t out – all that is gone and I’m just living in the world I’m writing about. But it’s sometimes hard to get to that almost trance state.”
It remains to be seen as to when The Winds of Winter will be released, but it’s not lost on Martin that millions of fans are eagerly anticipating its release. If you can’t get enough of the gritty fantasy world of Westeros then you’ll be pleased to know that Martin is releasing Fire and Blood later this month. The book serves as an in-depth guide to the various rulers who reigned during the Targaryen dynasty.