Should Readers Be Angry at George R.R. Martin?
It’s easy for fans to be mad at George R.R. Martin. Last week the Game of Thrones author announced that he won’t be able meet the January deadline for his long-awaited 6th book in the Song of Ice and Fire series, The Winds of Winter.
Some readers are angry with George R.R. Martin, claiming that he is taking too long with these books. It’s been several years since the last novel, he’s working on other projects, his blog posts are long when he should be writing books instead, and the HBO series has caught up with his books. In other words, fans are getting restless.
I understand. I don’t read the Song of Ice and Fire series, but I empathize with frustrated fans. When I was a kid, I got depressed after I saw The Empire Strikes Back because there was a cliffhanger and I knew I’d have to wait three years for the next movie. That was a crappy feeling (Crap is NOT a bad word!), so it has to be even worse for Game of Thrones fans when The Winds of Winter deadline keeps getting pushed back.
On the other hand, the books might be a lot better if George R.R. Martin takes his time. When George Lucas met his three-year deadline with Return of the Jedi, he gave us Ewoks. Maybe if Lucas had waited an extra year, he might have come up with something better. Fans will be pissed if the White Walkers are defeated not by dragons and Valyrian steel, but by tiny furry huggable creatures. I’m not into gratuitous violence, but I’d kind of like to see what Ramsey Bolton would do to an Ewok.
If George R.R. Martin passes before he finishes A Song of Ice and Fire (and I really hope that doesn’t happen), the first thing that some readers will think is “Now I’ll never find out what happens next! What a rip-off!” They might feel guilty for thinking it, but it’ll be tough not to think it.
Maybe George R.R. Martin doesn’t want to finish Game of Thrones. Every time he falls behind, it gets him a lot of attention, and a bunch of fans remind him how they can’t wait to read his next book. That probably feels great. Once he’s done with the series, that’s it. His readers will be exhausted, and a bunch of them will be angry at how he ended the series.
No matter how he ends it, somebody will be angry. It’s impossible to finish a series like Game of Thrones without making some readers mad. Maybe he thinks he’d be better off by never finishing the whole series.
I can’t criticize George R.R. Martin without coming across as a hypocrite. I complain when James Patterson writes too many books. I can’t then gripe that Martin takes too much time. I mean, I could, but it wouldn’t look good. I believe there’s an in-between point where an author can write books without going too quickly or going too slowly, but I might not be the right guy to make that point.
I wonder, if James Patterson starts missing deadlines, would anybody care? Would readers flip out if they had to wait five years between Alex Cross books? We might never know.
What do you think? What’s worse? Taking too long to finish books or rushing too quickly? Did J.K. Rowling finish the Harry Potter series too quickly? Should Suzanne Collins have taken longer to write Mockinjay? Did Harper Lee take too long to write Go Set a Watchman? What other books do you think authors rushed?
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