Books | June 11, 2021 1:53 pm

George R.R. Martin Proves Once Again He Doesn’t Care About Finishing “Game of Thrones”

Will the last volumes of "A Song of Ice and Fire" ever see the light of day?

George R.R. Martin
Outstanding Drama Series Winner George R. R. Martin attends IMDb LIVE After the Emmys Presented by CBS All Access on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb

Let’s say you’re an acclaimed, (mostly) beloved and bestselling writer with a couple of books left to finish in your magnum opus. You’ve constantly assured fans worried about whether the final volumes will ever see the light of day that you’re working hard on them. Is it a good look, then, to take on what appears to be a number of other projects that are most definitely not Books 6 and 7 of A Song of Ice and Fire?

This is the frustration that comes with following most recent pieces of news regarding George R.R. Martin. As of late, he’s been linked to a massive HBO deal and an adaptation of the shared fictional universe Wild Cards — which he co-edits. The latest news on Martin? Elden Ring, a video game for which he wrote the story, is slated for release in 2022.

Now, plenty of writers have been able to juggle multiple projects and even used them to heighten their creativity when it’s come to a stalled project. And if editing a new Wild Cards book (or writing an episodic adaptation of the same) gives Martin a “eureka!” moment when it comes to plotting something in The Winds of Winter, so much the better.

But as of July, it’ll have been 10 years since the publication of A Dance With Dragons. Before now, the longest gap between books was just under 6 years. Admittedly, trying to stick the landing on an intricately-plotted series is no easy task (see also: the wait for book 3 of Patrick Rothfuss’s The Kingkiller Chronicle).

Martin’s fellow novelist Neil Gaiman once memorably (and, it should be said, empathically) addressed readers’ frustration at waiting for a new A Song of Ice and Fire volume. “Sometimes writers haven’t quite got the next book in a series ready in their heads, but they have something else all ready instead, so they write the thing that’s ready to go, prompting cries of outrage from people who want to know why the author could possibly write Book X while the fans were waiting for Book Y,” Gaiman said, and it’s a statement worth revisiting.

It might be worth a reminder, though, that Gaiman wrote those words in 2009.