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Is Author George R.R. Martin Disrespectful To His Readers?

January 3, 2019

George R.R. Martin, author of A Game of Thrones, has never cursed out his readers or told them that they suck.  At least if he has, I’ve never heard about it.  Telling readers they suck is disrespectful.

But George R.R. Martin has taken more than seven years to finish The Winds of Winter, the sixth book in his Song of Ice and Fire series.  It wouldn’t be as bad if he were working exclusively on making that novel great.  Too many authors rush sequels so quickly that they’re disappointing.  Martin, however, has published several books that are NOT The Winds of Winter.

The most recent, Fire and Blood: 300 Years Before A Game of Thrones (A Targaryen History)(A Song of Ice and Fire), makes me feel like A Song of Ice and Fire will never be completed.  The fifth book came out in 2011.  George R.R. Martin doesn’t look healthy.  The HBO series is almost completed and has declined since it’s passed the books.

Maybe the television series has destroyed Martin’s motivation to finish the books (I’m just making that up).  Maybe he’s written himself into a trap and doesn’t know how to get out (I just made that up too).  Maybe he knows that no matter how he ends it, a bunch of fans will be disappointed.  Maybe he’s lost interest in his own story or gotten lazy.

Fire and Blood isn’t even a novel; it’s a history of Westeros.  It’s not even real history.  I don’t want to read a fake history.  I loved The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, but I had no interest in The Silmarillion.  If I want to read history, I’ll read real history.  I know that real history can be fake too, but at least I’m pretty sure some of it is real.  Instead of reading about The Targaryens, I could read about the Tudors and the Lancasters.

Fire and Blood seems almost disrespectful to readers who are engaged with the story of A Song of Ice and Fire.  These readers are emotionally committed.  I personally don’t care that much because I haven’t started reading the books, but I feel for these fans.  I think Martin has a responsibility to finish A Song of Ice and Fire before working on other stuff.  I don’t mean he’s legally responsible.  I just mean that he’s not respecting his audience.

I’m not going to read A Game of Thrones before George R.R. Martin finishes it, which means that I might not ever read it.  I’ve heard that the first three books are great, but then the next two get sidetracked.  Or they get boring.  I’d like to judge them for myself, but I don’t want to get caught up in them and then have to wait years for the final books.

I had to wait three years after The Empire Strikes Back for Return of the Jedi to finish the original Star Wars trilogy.  That was a long three years.  It’s a crappy feeling, walking out of the movie theater knowing you have to wait three years for the next segment.  I don’t want to go through that again with A Song of Ice and Fire.

Defenders of Martin say that he can write whatever he wants and critics should back off, get over it, get a life, or shut up.  I don’t think anybody has said Martin HAS to finish A Song of Fire and Ice.  We’re saying he should.

Book readers hate the way the HBO series has treated so many characters.  Book readers want to see what REALLY happens.  It’s unfair that Martin wait so long.  Or maybe it’s by design.  Maybe he wants the HBO series to suck so bad that anything he writes is better in comparison.  I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the case.  He’s already proven how valuable his plotting is.  Seasons 5-7 have shown what happens when the HBO writers can’t rely as much on the books.  If this is true, it’s even more disrespectful to his fans because he’s putting his ego before his fans.

Telling fans they suck is disrespectful, but taking a decade to write an eagerly awaited book is bad too.  I’d rather be told that I suck than wait so long for a book like The Winds of Winter.  I’d tell George R.R. Martin that he sucks for making fans wait, but I can’t do that, even if being told you suck is a motivator (and it usually isn’t).  I just don’t like being disrespectful to others.

From → Pop culture

4 Comments
  1. As a lover of the HBO series, I can tell you that waiting a year+ in between Thrones TV seasons sucks, too.

  2. I actually do believe he’s waiting for the series to end because he knows his book will go in a completely different direction and it might cause confusion. And to be fair, even when TV adaptations have an entire book/graphic novel series to work with, e.g. The Walking Dead, True Blood, they can still ruin it!

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