Day 38. Word count to be added.
Well, this looks like it.
Yes, it looks as though we’re overwhelmingly more likely to get an end to the Game of Thrones TV series before – long before – we get an end to the books.
This was always on the cards. I don’t know what else there is to say about it. I guess now we just wait and see whether the show peters out and is cancelled after season 5, if the books ever get done, and if the books and the show diverge completely (or even mildly).
Either way, I’m happy with what Martin has given us and I only hope he is not too disappointed in himself. He has done a great thing and given us a lot of entertainment. This story is his life’s great work, sure enough, but it doesn’t have to be his life, any more than it is ours. We need to accept that.
In honour of this “news”, and because I have nothing else to post this weekend and no time (again), I will post up a poem I wrote for the fan newsgroup of that other slow-and-steady author, Robert Jordan. Taken from us before his time.
Please enjoy this blast from the past. It is interesting to note, I think, how very prophetic this was – not for Jordan, but perhaps for Martin? Keeping in mind that this was written in a time when Jordan releasing an e-book version of the prologue was seen as a strange and cynical new kind of cash-grab and the fans were outraged and divided over it.
Once upon an evening rainy, Rob was racking his wee brainy
Penning angry letters to his so-called friends at Tor-
While he scribbled, nearly crying, suddenly there came a sighing,
As of someone gladly dying, dying at the kitchen door.
‘Tis Harriet’ he muttered, ‘dying at the kitchen door-
Only this and nothing more.’
Once again he started writing lists of authors he was citing,
People who had monthly salaries that equalled his and more.
Out of breath and seeing red and counting numbers in his head
The only one who got less cash than him was Hans who mopped the floor-
The janitor from Switzerland it was that mopped the floor-
(Nametag said: ‘I’m Hans from Tor’.)
And yet still he was distracted, on his nerves his wife had acted
And he couldn’t line a sentence up correctly anymore;
So he got up and went prying, to see why his wife was sighing:
She said, ‘This is what I want once we are not so bloody poor-
Some terracotta pavin’ just outside the kitchen door;
Just the paving, Rob, and nothin’ more.’
Since in one hand he could be carried by the woman he had married,
Jordan went straight back inside and scrapped his angry notes to Tor
And right then he started churning, fingers and the paper burning,
Churning out a tale that was far, far too bulky to ignore,
(But which all those who know of Tolkien here have surely heard before);
The tale of a farm-boy, name of Rand al’Thor.
It was indeed a tale of magic, two parts chase to one part tragic,
Scenes of fighting only slightly more exciting than an essay by Al Gore;
And through it all there was a theme, it ran as thick and rich as cream,
Of good and evil and the great apocalypse in store!
When the Final Battle came and made Ba’alzamon no more!-
Just the Creator, Rand, and nothing more.
And so Jordan wrote a novel and they moved out of the hovel
And Harriet got that special paving just outside her kitchen door
‘What a lovely bit of paving,’ she said, in her joy so nearly raving,
‘What a lovely bit of paving there, outside my kitchen door.
I knew there was a reason that I let you wed me for.’-
They retired to the bedroom then, and shut the door.
Ages came and Ages went, and the cash grant soon was spent,
All the money quickly vanished into Mrs. Jordan’s gaping maw;
Until one fine night they were sitting, and she looked up from her knitting,
And she said, ‘You recall that lovely paving out beyond the kitchen door?
Well it really is quite nice and now my dearest I want more.
Shut your mouth and write a book and buy me more.’
So Jordan went and he expanded on the goldmine he had landed,
I do hope that at this stage you’ll pardon my mixed metaphor;
He took up the lovely fable and he stretched it on the table
Until he didn’t have a simple story anymore;
He added maps and myths and songs and mysteries galore.
And a dozen brand new characters, or perhaps a score.
And so the series fledged and classic literature he dredged,
Bits of ‘Dune’ and bits of ‘Druss’ and bits of half a dozen more;
He would have capped the yarny with a character named Barney,
Alas there seemed no place to put a purple dinosaur.
But he never quite gave up and so it might still be in store-
Just try to look surprised when Rand defeats the dinosaur.
But even with the fluff it seemed there never was enough
And bills were slowly piling up outside the Jordans’ door,
And although he went a-drumming, no helping hands had been forthcoming
From the formerly smiling faces at the offices of Tor;
Harriet had a found way of licking Robert’s wallet raw.
And in the background were the readers, always wanting more.
The storyline expanded like a beast one-hundred-handed
In directions Jordan never even thought about before;
Elayne and Min and Aviendha, and Egwene and where to send her,
And soon the plot just glimmered through like diamonds in the ore,
And then the diamonds vanished altogether by book four.
And in the background were the readers, readers wanting more.
While the good guys kept improving in a way most unbehooving
Jordan wondered where he ought to head with Aginor.
Then the trollocs were forgotten in the bollocks misbegotten
And the Halfmen, half to start with, were reduced a little more,
And somewhere ’round this point it seemed to just become a chore.
And another hundred characters we’d never seen before.
Another question grated, about the world that he’d created-
Were the creatures there too difficult for Darryl Sweet to draw?
Was that a Seanchan mammal and was that a man or camel,
It seemed the guy had not a clue what book covers were for.
But the dude they got to draw the ‘Guide’ just botched it even more.
Jordan wrote another one, and yet another more.
At last his mind was drained, no speck of creativity remained,
It seemed this fruitful project now was rotten to the core.
Then Harriet came knocking, though piles of furniture were blocking
Locking Robert safe and sound beyond her demanding roar:
‘I can’t hear the keyboard making that noise that I adore,
Get back to work ‘cos next time I’m comin’ through the door.’
Jordan took his tattered novel and between its covers he did shovel
Every little bit of extra text and padding he could score,
He brought bad guys back to life, and he gave one guy a wife,
And spoke at length about the different clothing that they wore-
Integrity and aesthetics, they both went by the board,
He became the literary version of a twenty-dollar whore.
Now rock-bottom had been struck, Jordan thought he’d push his luck,
An e-book is the sort of thing he knew most fans abhor.
Could this new-aged exposure cause the greatest act of closure
Since Lews Therin and his hundred buddies went to seal the Bore?
No such luck, he even had the backing of the law,
And dirty money literally leaked from every pore.
Then the fateful day arrived and nothing of his soul survived;
Jordan got the call from Lucasfilm that he’d been waiting for-
It was wisdom, sage and true, that George Lucas puffed and blew,
‘Put N’Sync in the fight scenes and put Smashmouth in the score
Although you’ve made a bundle you can make a bundle more.
You can milk the fans until their tender butts are sore.’
As he let George Lucas shout, something in his head burned out,
What had been the Final Battle had become the Final Straw.
Jordan laughed and said to Lucas, ‘I’ll keep them sucking on my mucus,
And I’ll keep a million copies out in every fucking store!
And the book that once I started for that terracotta floor
Shall be ended –