George RR Martin’s Next Book

My esteemed associate and friend Mr. BRKN shared this with me this morning. It seems George RR Martin is delaying his next A Song of Ice and Fire book (which totally would have otherwise been coming out this year, of course) in order to make changes to the ending.

This is amusing on a number of levels. First, obviously, is the idea that anyone believes the estimated delivery times anymore. I know, there’s a strong likelihood that one day those estimates will be correct and there will actually be a book, and anyone who scoffed at that estimation will have egg on their face. This series has dragged out a lot, but it’s had some pretty unique delaying factors. And at least Martin is still saying he’s working on it, and plans to finish, even if (as I think is entirely reasonable) he can’t say when it will be ready.

So sure, it’s delayed. Big deal. Fire and Blood was pretty cool, and at least he wrote that. I have said many times that Martin can tell us whatever story he likes, at his own pace. I consider our contract fulfilled with each book I pay money for. If the story doesn’t end, so be it. That will be sad, but not as sad for me as it will be for Martin.

This brings me to my second point, which is of course he’s re-working the ending. Did you see what people thought of the ending of the TV series? If he didn’t take at least the general reaction on board, he’d have to be clinically insane. Sure, maybe don’t read every angry little nerd essay on the Internet about what should have been done differently, but get an idea of the broad strokes.

I think he was already all over this, and always intended for the books and the series to tell divergent stories. They’d have to, given the mass of differences between the two right from the start, and particularly in the latter couple of books. But what a great opportunity the TV series has given him, to actually test out one ending and see what things he needs to tweak. And he’s been at it this long, it’s not as if another year or two (or five) is going to make any difference.

The last A Song of Ice and Fire book came out when I still had a butthole. Let’s see if I can write twenty books before the next one arrives.

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9 Responses to George RR Martin’s Next Book

  1. I wonder if your published word count has begun to approach his yet, with how prolific you have been and how duff-sitting he has….

    You know my stance on this. I’ll wrap up with that, but first…. He may have known “the ending”, although given the large cast of characters that is a broad concept, and I have my doubts. As a counterpoint, I don’t doubt RJ knew that Rand would defeat TDO and die, and take Moridin’s body…and that’s my point here. That’s just one person’s plot but it is enough to be considered “the ending” of tWoT. But what is “the ending” of aSoIaF, anyway? What happens to Dany is just one part, although a large part.

    So, I don’t know man. I think he didn’t know where to take the story next or how most of these plot threads would end. The series gave him the opportunity to sit back (relative to writing it all) and perhaps guide it, but ultimately let someone else write it. I think that’s what’s been happening and I don’t know if there’s a source I’d trust who could tell me otherwise.

    And now, the pretense that he has an “ending” planned but, what, just couldn’t write himself there? It irritates me further. The way I interpret that is, he now has an ending and needs to write to it, and it’s not going to be as much a slap in the face as crazy Dany in the show was.

    But before the show ended, he didn’t have “an ending” ready to write, per se. Yet, again, that’s ok in a sense because it’s a multi-plot that needs to be wrapped up, therefore the possibilities are vast. It doesn’t bother me so much that he didn’t know how each character would end in the series. I’m just saying I think he didn’t know, and the show has written the upcoming book(s) for him. As I know I’ve stated before.

    • stchucky says:

      I wonder if your published word count has begun to approach his yet, with how prolific you have been and how duff-sitting he has….

      Couldn’t say. My Expanded Urverse PDF, which includes all my published work aside from Arsebook and Are You My Corpulent Brood Matriarch?, is 6,200 pages long. At a conservative estimate of 250 words per page, my word count is 1,550,000 words. Which, holy crap, one and a half million words. Wish I could figure out what my one millionth published word was.

      I mean, I could figure it out but don’t have that sort of time.

      As for Martin’s volume, no idea. I’m still going to guess more than that, because he wrote a bunch of other stuff as well as the main series. And they will literally publish anything he sends them.

      You know my stance on this. I’ll wrap up with that, but first…. He may have known “the ending”, although given the large cast of characters that is a broad concept, and I have my doubts. As a counterpoint, I don’t doubt RJ knew that Rand would defeat TDO and die, and take Moridin’s body…and that’s my point here. That’s just one person’s plot but it is enough to be considered “the ending” of tWoT. But what is “the ending” of aSoIaF, anyway? What happens to Dany is just one part, although a large part.

      Excellent point. I think, as massive and complicated as The Wheel of Time got, it’s easy to see that Jordan had a “the Pattern is preserved and the Dark One defeated” mission, and knew where the main players were going to end up. And famously, the final scene (Rand’s body, three weeping women) was something he’d written at least a draft of. It’s fairly clear, as seamlessly as Sanderson stepped in, that it was a literal book-end of the original author’s.

      Way more difficult to believe Martin has any such plan. The nebulous idea that is pretty darn close to how the TV show ended, yeah I can see that. But anything more just doesn’t seem to fit his writing style, for better or worse. I think a lot of the deaths of characters in his series were deaths they character’d themselves into, it wasn’t something he’s plotted out. The wars seem to wipe out whole lists of characters and then he brings in more. Whatever he’s got ultimately planned, it will involve Daenerys, the Stark kids, Tyrion, and that’s about it. And that’s why it seems very likely that what we got in the TV show is what he had planned, more or less.

      As to whether it’s okay for him to tweak that … I say it is. But keeping in mind the published works are set in stone.

      So, I don’t know man. I think he didn’t know where to take the story next or how most of these plot threads would end. The series gave him the opportunity to sit back (relative to writing it all) and perhaps guide it, but ultimately let someone else write it. I think that’s what’s been happening and I don’t know if there’s a source I’d trust who could tell me otherwise.

      True. I can sort of picture it, Martin with his existing books and his piles of notes, and – now – the screenplays, and just overlaying them. Then making red notations in the margins, “NO”, “DON’T DO THIS”, “MAKE DANY SEEM EVEN CRAZIER FOR THE DUMBFUCKS”.

      And now, the pretense that he has an “ending” planned but, what, just couldn’t write himself there? It irritates me further. The way I interpret that is, he now has an ending and needs to write to it, and it’s not going to be as much a slap in the face as crazy Dany in the show was.

      I was just looking back at our posts and comments about the final episodes, and I thought we were in agreement that crazy Dany was only a slap in the face if you were a big stupid diaper baby.

      But yes, basically I concur. I think he was utterly bogged down. I think he had a broad plan and the TV show was it. He wouldn’t have let them diverge too far. He couldn’t bring himself, for whatever reason, to write his way to the end, like you say. The show got there first, and now he’s got to write his way to the end anyway, but he can make it a slightly different end because of all the whining.

      But before the show ended, he didn’t have “an ending” ready to write, per se. Yet, again, that’s ok in a sense because it’s a multi-plot that needs to be wrapped up, therefore the possibilities are vast. It doesn’t bother me so much that he didn’t know how each character would end in the series. I’m just saying I think he didn’t know, and the show has written the upcoming book(s) for him. As I know I’ve stated before.

      Sure. The book series right now is an uncollapsed quantum event, in the loosest possible unscientific manner of thinking. The TV show has given us a potential ending. I think it’s high probability that the book ending would have been similar. I’m mildly curious how different he’ll make it, and how cringe-inducingly clumsy and awful it will be and how viciously he and his die-hard fan base will attack any reader who laughs.

      I’m … probably going to laugh, a little bit. But you know, it’s all sour grapes.

  2. As soon as I submitted that comment I started to critique it, because I suppose at the high level, The Night King and TDO are rough equivalents, and then the main characters are settling their remaining issues. Except in “A Memory of Light” I don’t think there really WERE remaining issues getting resolved. Basically, the main characters’ lives were established and were going to head where we could all see they would. If they survived the Last Battle…for those who survived the Last Battle. Also, I think Rand’s plot wrapped up closer to the end of aMoL than, judging from the tv series, the Night King plot did (1/3 remaining, 2 episodes and a wrap up of the 4th, out of 6, right?). So that’s why the two seem different to me.

    • stchucky says:

      That’s true, I don’t think we even have a clear idea of the history between the Children of the Forest and the Others in the books, do we? I recall there was something about Craster giving away his sons.

      So that ending, with Bran and Theon and Arya in the godswood, I can see that being roughly plotted by Martin too. Sure. And then the Dany / Seven Kingdoms thing as more of a dénouement.

  3. “I mean, I could figure it out but don’t have that sort of time.

    As for Martin’s volume, no idea. I’m still going to guess more than that, because he wrote a bunch of other stuff as well as the main series. And they will literally publish anything he sends them.”

    Probably. And I hear ya. Even if you could figure out your current word count with “the techmology”, in a matter of a day’s work let’s say, how could we get GRRM’s? It’s probably not a known quantity.

    “Excellent point. I think, as massive and complicated as The Wheel of Time got, it’s easy to see that Jordan had a “the Pattern is preserved and the Dark One defeated” mission, and knew where the main players were going to end up. And famously, the final scene (Rand’s body, three weeping women) was something he’d written at least a draft of. It’s fairly clear, as seamlessly as Sanderson stepped in, that it was a literal book-end of the original author’s.

    Way more difficult to believe Martin has any such plan. The nebulous idea that is pretty darn close to how the TV show ended, yeah I can see that. But anything more just doesn’t seem to fit his writing style, for better or worse. I think a lot of the deaths of characters in his series were deaths they character’d themselves into, it wasn’t something he’s plotted out. The wars seem to wipe out whole lists of characters and then he brings in more. Whatever he’s got ultimately planned, it will involve Daenerys, the Stark kids, Tyrion, and that’s about it. And that’s why it seems very likely that what we got in the TV show is what he had planned, more or less.

    As to whether it’s okay for him to tweak that … I say it is. But keeping in mind the published works are set in stone.”

    Agreed on all points. Particularly the last. Tweak away, throw away plans at will, he’s the author.

    “True. I can sort of picture it, Martin with his existing books and his piles of notes, and – now – the screenplays, and just overlaying them. Then making red notations in the margins, “NO”, “DON’T DO THIS”, “MAKE DANY SEEM EVEN CRAZIER FOR THE DUMBFUCKS”.”

    LOL and now did they succeed on that last task or not, is the question!

    “I was just looking back at our posts and comments about the final episodes, and I thought we were in agreement that crazy Dany was only a slap in the face if you were a big stupid diaper baby.”

    Well yes, I wasn’t speaking for myself but using that empathy thingie. Sometimes I can find the “on” switch XD

    I did write “as much of a slap in the face”…because it was at least a pat that looks like a slap, even to me. It was rushed and could have been more firmly established and perhaps less insanely executed. I dunno.

    “Sure. The book series right now is an uncollapsed quantum event, in the loosest possible unscientific manner of thinking. The TV show has given us a potential ending. I think it’s high probability that the book ending would have been similar. I’m mildly curious how different he’ll make it, and how cringe-inducingly clumsy and awful it will be and how viciously he and his die-hard fan base will attack any reader who laughs.

    I’m … probably going to laugh, a little bit. But you know, it’s all sour grapes.”

    I’ll join you after you tell me the funny bits. That said, he has die-hard fans still? From the books, or the show? XD

    • stchucky says:

      Apparently westeros.org and his blog are still crowded with the worst kind of moderator fanboys. Haven’t bothered to hang around and see.

      As to the slap in the face, yes – agreed. The thing is, judging by his completed works, he usually has a happy ending and it’s all rather formulaic (I mean, he wrote for soaps for God’s sake…) – and this is borne out by, shall we say, some of his more tropey (*cough-cough-cough-Lost-Prince-of-Destiny-cough-cough-albino-direwolf-cough* plot devices.

      However, he earned himself (legitimately) a reputation for overturning expectations with the brutality of the early books of A Song of Ice and Fire, and so I can fully understand he wants to see that through. Nothing goes the way you expect, bad things happen to good people, worse things happen to bad people (because it’s still meant to be entertainment), prophecy schmophecy, and so on.

      The book readers, I think, are ready for that. We’re ready for King’s Landing to be demolished, Daenerys to go nuts, the Others to overrun the top half of the continent. But the TV watchers … they hadn’t seen anything like this before. There was Lord of the Rings, and a couple of other lame attempts at high fantasy. This is the first of its kind, and while they loved the gritty and the titty, they weren’t ready for their expectations to be subverted.

      Because they’re stupid. And when you subvert the expectations of a stupid person, they get angry.

      I’m not having a diplomatic day. Heh.

      • All good points, nothing really to add here except about my day. Very tired, going in to work late. Was up watching the first state “caucus” only to have the Democrats utterly screw up and have no results to report. Still nothing, glad I finally went to bed.

        Awaiting the fraudulent results. No matter what happens now, some group will claim fraud. Which hurts our chances against Trump. Surely Dem leadership KNOWS that. So I must conclude they don’t care. They can see it was probably going to be Bernie or Trump, so they’re just being dicks now because they selfishly think that choice is a wash.

        I mean Chris Matthews was almost crying worrying about Bernie winning the nomination. How fucking out of touch are these rich assholes? Masks off now, and it’s worse than I even imagined.

        Bottom line, the candidates already basically know the results, because they all have “precinct captains” who have seen the counts. Bernie has one in EVERY precinct…the only candidate who does, I think. And based on HIS speech last night, I think he came in either first or a close second or third (meaning the numbers were so close the position doesn’t matter). And based on all his history I trust him above all others. As the “Sexistgate”[1] debacle demonstrated, I’m not alone in that.

        [1] My term. The thing with Warren before and during the last debate.

        So the establishment better read the by-line of your blog here, adapt it to any plans for shenanigans they may have.

  4. Joonatan Itkonen says:

    As one of the twelve people that genuinely loved the ending to the show, I’m a bit bummed that after his first statement that the books will have the same ending is now walked back on. Even if it’s only a little.

    • You know, honestly I am as well. I mean, as I think I’m indicating, I’m fine with GRRM backing up the spiral into madness more but leaving it in.[1] I’m fine with the discovery of Jon’s crime and exile, though I would prefer it not be that he just admitted it from his own mouth (not shown in the tv series). And I’m fine with Bran being the King, that makes sense from the books, it just didn’t seem to connect enough with the tv audience.

      [1] Similar to Bran, I think the books already back this up and would continue to.

      So either I’m in your 12 or make that 13 XD

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