The Literary Rants: George RR Martin’s Writing Pace
As an aspiring writer, I probably shouldn’t criticize author George R.R. Martin much. He’s more successful than I’ll probably ever be.
As a potential reader, however, I can criticize him a lot. George R.R. Martin has been writing his Game of Thrones series A Song of Ice and Fire for over 20 years, and he still has two more books left to finish. At the pace he’s going now, nobody is sure when (or if) he’s going to finish.
When Martin began the series, the first three books came out at a reasonable clip. The fourth, fifth, and sixth books, however, have taken at least five years each, and they’ve been long and convoluted, and to some fans, unsatisfying. Take a look at the list below, and you’ll see what I mean:
A Game of Thrones August, 1996
A Clash of Kings February 1999
A Storm of Swords November 2000
A Feast for Crows November 2005
A Dance with Dragons July 2011
The Winds of Winter 2017????
A Dream of Spring ?????
At some point, Martin had hoped to have Winds of Winter completed by the end of 2015, and now supposedly he’s hoping to have it done sometime in 2017. Critics say that Martin is taking too long to finish this series. Fans say he should take his time and make the final two books as awesome as possible. Critics then respond by saying that the longer the books take, the worse they are.
Since I haven’t read them, I don’t have an opinion about book quality, but five years between books seems like too long. When I was a teenager, the three years between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi was an eternity. Five years as an adult is shorter than three years as a kid, but a movie should take longer to make than a book (I don’t know if that’s true).
One problem is that Martin writes a bunch of stuff that is Game of Thrones related but isn’t Game of Thrones. If I was waiting for Winds of Winter (and I’m not), I’d be pissed. In fact, I’m pissed and I’m not even reading the books!
I’m pissed that Martin writes Dunk and Egg stories instead of finishing Game of Thrones.
I’m pissed that he writes Targaryen history instead of writing Game of Thrones.
I’m pissed that he’s involved with short story anthologies when he should be writing Game of Thrones.
I’m pissed that he does a bunch of speaking engagements when he should be writing Game of Thrones.
I’m pissed, but I’m not a danger to anybody. I’m not going to riot in the streets and break windows and pepper spray people who disagree with me. I’ll go read the Tom Bombadil chapter from The Lord of the Rings. That always calms me down (or puts me to sleep).
To me, Martin’s one job should be to finish the last two books of Game of Thrones. No more Dunk and Egg. No more Targaryen history. No more speaking engagements. Just Game of Thrones. 24 hours a day. 7 days a week.
If Martin can’t do that, he should get James Patterson and his coauthors to finish Game of Thrones. They could be done with both books by summer. I have a problem with a lot of what James Patterson does, but at least he doesn’t make fans wait long between books.
What do you think? Will you read a series even if you know the series isn’t finished yet, or am I the only person who does that? How long is a reasonable wait between books? What do you read to calm yourself when you’re angry?