The Winds of Winter
George R.R. Martin, nicknamed the 'American Tolkienn,' has taken seven years so far to write his next book, 'The Winds of Winter' (Image via Daily Express)
Pages /// Screens x
The Winds of Winter
George R.R. Martin, nicknamed the 'American Tolkienn,' has taken seven years so far to write his next book, 'The Winds of Winter' (Image via Daily Express)

Winter is coming, but no one knows when.

Recently, news broke that George R. R. Martin, author of the acclaimed series “A Song of Ice and Fire,” announced the release date for a new novel, but it’s not the novel that fans have been anticipating. For the past seven years, people have eagerly awaited the sixth installment of the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series.

However, last week, Martin announced that on Nov. 20, he’ll release “Fire & Blood,” which is a prequel/history novel of the series that revolves around the Targaryen dynasty. The announcement of Martin publishing the book in 2018 confirms that “The Winds of Winter” won’t be coming out any time this year.

While avid fans will grasp at anything from the “American Tolkien,” as former Times writer Lev Grossman dubbed Martin, many are disappointed that they will have to wait until at least 2019, maybe even longer, for the series to continue.

At the moment, fans are speculating that Martin hasn’t released “The Winds of Winter” because his publishers want him to split the novel, which is what he did with the last manuscript.

When asked about the reason for the continuous delay in releasing the latest novel, Martin said, “I have done some rewriting, yes. But there have been distractions as well.”

But, do rewrites really take seven years? Ultimately, he does claim that he plans on finishing the series, which includes “A Dream of Spring,” the novel that is set to come after “The Winds of Winter.”

What’s interesting, though, is that the last novel in the series, “A Dance with Dragons,” was released in July 2011, and the television series aired in April  2011.

That said, Martin clearly doesn’t follow a release schedule since the novels in the series have come out in 1996, 1999, 2000, 2005 and 2011, chronologically. But, it definitely begs the question of whether Martin is purposefully postponing the release of “The Winds of Winter.”

Throughout the show’s run, Martin has complained about the creative liberty that showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss have taken. But when people adapt books into television shows or movies, they are granted artistic license to do what they please with the source material, and Martin knows this.

Unfortunately, it seems as if George R. R. Martin is letting his emotions about the show’s artistic freedom stop him from producing novels. After all, Benioff and Weiss have strayed from the original source material several times.

For example, in the TV series, the showrunners have taken the liberty of killing off 43 characters that are still alive in the novels. Also, Martin has expressed his distaste for Benioff and Weiss cutting his favorite character from the novels, Lady Stoneheart.

Martin was clearly upset when ‘Game of Thrones’ killed off Lady Stoneheart, and fans wonder if her death is partly responsible for the prolonged release of ‘The Winds of Winter’ (Image via The Independent)

When the writers of the show made the decision to cut the resurrected figure of Catelyn Stark, known as Lady Stoneheart, Martin argued against it.

Ultimately, Benioff and Weiss took the TV program in a different direction, though Martin claims that he doesn’t hold a grudge against them for cutting her. But, during an interview, he brought up the decision about Lady Stoneheart unprompted, showing that the removal is still something that affects him.

From the beginning, Martin has been involved with the TV show production, which was a mistake for the author. According to Martin, the choice to cut Lady Stoneheart was “the first major diversion of the show from the books.”

As the show has kept producing seasons yearly since 2011, more plot differences between the novels and the show have occurred. Furthermore, the last two seasons of the show aren’t based on the novels because the show has surpassed the timeline of the books.

Since Martin was involved with the process of the show, he tipped off Weiss and Benioff about the origins of Hodor’s name, which they subsequently revealed in Season 6 of “Game of Thrones,” even though the novels haven’t mentioned it yet.

In an interview, Martin said that he’ll reveal the information in a different way in the books, but people noted that he seemed depressed that the show got to divulge the information first.

With this in mind, it’s easy to see why the advancement of the TV series is weighing down Martin. Since the book series is Martin’s “baby,” so to speak, it must be difficult for him to see other people taking it in different directions, even though it’s a separate entity.

Fans wonder if Martin decided to push back the release date of ‘The Winds of Winter’ after ‘Game of Thrones’ revealed the origin of Hodor’s name before he could (Image via Vox)

Unfortunately, with the show being as popular as it is, it leaves Martin in a position to live up to the show while also sticking to how he wants the novels to come out.

Considering the popularity of the show, Martin must feel pressure to live up to the success of it, even though the novels are different. Consequently, it’s the fans who have been waiting for “The Winds of Winter” who have to deal with the tense relationship between Martin and the show.

Although he says that he’s been rewriting “The Winds of Winter,” many speculate that he has already finished the novel because of certain hints on posts published on LiveJournal, which he has finally left in the past week.

But, fans have taken his ambiguous answers about his location, such as “that would be telling” or the “Hidden Fortress,” to be signs that he’s finished with the novel because he’s usually very forthcoming.

Fans have interpreted his secrecy to mean that he was meeting with his editors about the novel. If this is true, what’s holding back the book from being published?

Ultimately, by prolonging the release of his latest novel and making fans the ones who must suffer, it appears that George R. R. Martin might be trying to regain control of the series he lost once the TV show started.

Writer Profile

Erin Marie Winans

James Madison University
English / Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication

Leave a Reply