Over the weekend George RR Martin published a blog post stating that his anticipated upcoming 6th book in the Song of Ice and Fire series would not be published before the wildly popular HBO show Game of Thrones based off of these books airs its upcoming season.
GRRM states that he was given a deadline by his publishers of October 31st to have his manuscript handed in, and he ultimately was not able to meet that deadline. His publishers then extended the deadline all the way to the end of 2015 and were prepared to throw all the resources they had available at the book in order for it to be published before the show airs. GRRM was still unable to meet the end of year deadline, and now the show will move even further past the books.
There has been a portion of the fandom that has started to come to GRRM’s defense by saying that deadlines do not help the creative process, or that GRRM is just making sure that he does not publish a subpar book that was created just to meet a deadline.
I am here to say Stop. Stop defending GRRM, he does not deserve your benefit of the doubt. If you look at the timeline of published books, there are no excuses for GRRM missing these deadlines. It is not his writing process, if you look at the first 3 books of the series you see publishing dates of 1996 for A Game of Thrones, 1998 for a Clash of Kings, and 2000 for a Storm of Swords. Every 2 years, for 1000 page books is perfectly acceptable.
After Storm of Swords is published in 2000 however, that’s where things go completely off the rails for GRRM. His next book, A Feast for Crows then takes 5 years before it’s published in 2005, and then A Dance for Dragons doesn’t get published until 2011.
The biggest problems I have with this is that neither of those books are even completely finished. They originally were meant to be 1 complete book, but had to be split into 2 books because theoretically there was too much content for 1 book.
Here’s the issue, AFFC is not a completed book, it ignores most of the characters people are most interested in and is widely considered the weakest entry in the entire series. ADWD is also not a completed book, there is no reason to leave as many cliffhangers at the end of that book as that are left, where nearly every single POV character does not have a wrapped up plot line for the book. Even though neither of these books are complete, GRRM still excluded chapters that he wanted in those books and held them back for Winds of Winter.
So basically since 2000, 15 years! GRRM has given his fans, 1 unfinished book. He has chapters that he pulled out of that book to go into Winds of Winter but still has not finished that book despite having 4 years since a Dance with Dragons was published. GRRM owes us as a fandom better than what we have gotten, he owes his publishers more than he has given, he owes the team at HBO more than what he has given. He simply has not worked hard enough to meet his deadlines, and we should not be making excuses for him.