George R.R. Martin, author of the A Song of Ice and Fire books that became Game of Thrones, has shared his reaction to the intense demand for the latest novel, The Winds of Winter. Set in the sprawling lands of Westeros and Essos, Martin’s book series and its adaptation sees the inhabitants of the fantasy realm dealing with war and political intrigue as various factions aim to take control of the coveted Iron Throne and rule the Seven Kingdoms. First premiering in 2011, HBO’s adaptation went on to become one of the most critically acclaimed television shows of all time, setting viewership records and winning more Emmy Awards than any other drama series in history. However, later seasons drew less praise from both fans and critics, particularly Game of Thrones’ notorious final season 8, with many citing unresolved character arcs and unsatisfying plot elements as the main reasons for the show’s disappointing finale.
The first five seasons of Game of Thrones were based on roughly the first five novels in Martin’s series: A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons. However, Martin had still not finished the sixth book, The Winds of Winter, by the time the show’s story had caught up with the novels. As a result, the last three seasons of the show either featured original content by showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, or future plot points that Martin had revealed to them. And while it has been over 10 years since A Dance with Dragons was published, the author has still yet to finish the latest installment in A Song of Ice and Fire. Despite this, Martin continues to give updates on Winds of Winter through his online blog, recently revealing that it may be his longest book yet.
However, many fans have continued to pester the author for the next novel, which seems to have exacerbated since Game of Thrones‘ conclusion. But, speaking on the Coupledom podcast (via Gamespot), Martin opened up about the “viciousness” of the criticism he receives over it from some fans. In particular, he feels that Twitter and social media have contributed to the intensity of these comments:
“I get [that] Winds of Winter, the sixth book is late. I can get a hundred good comments, but there’s still gonna be a few fans out there who are gonna remind me of it on my blog or whatever. I say, ‘Happy Thanksgiving!’ And they say, ‘Never mind Thanksgiving, where’s the book?!’ I love the fans, although I do think Twitter and the internet and social media has brought out a viciousness I never saw in the old days. The love and hate are very close, particularly with comic books or any established franchises.”
The continued delay of Winds of Winter has not only been down to Martin’s commitment to what was one of the most successful television series ever, but also due to countless other projects the author has found himself working on. This has included both development of the upcoming Game of Thrones prequel series, House of the Dragon, and his world-building contributions to the epic fantasy video game Elden Ring. That said, Martin’s acknowledgement that The Winds of Winter is “late” shows that the novel is still very much at the forefront of his mind. His observation that “the love and hate are very close” suggests that the author feels the “viciousness” of some fans comes from an ardent love of his work, despite how unwelcome the comments may be.
Although this statement may not sway those who continue to demand the new book, Martin’s situation is understandable given the sheer amount of projects on his plate right now. With a number of Game of Thrones spinoffs in the works at HBO, as well as other literary and television projects, audiences are spoilt for content from the fantasy writer. Regardless, the intense pressure Martin continually receives over the next A Song of Ice and Fire book proves that many fans won’t be satisfied until he finally releases the The Winds of Winter.