The Winds of Winter – Still Waiting for the Real Thing

The Winds of Winter George RR Martin

Releasing a sample chapter from the upcoming ‘The Winds of Winter’ book didn’t fool anyone who has been following the process of this book seeing the light of day.

Arianne II, which was posted on the site of George R.R. Martin this week, is something fans already knew about: He gave a reading of the chapter at a conference, and the transcript was already online. For fans of the series (the books series mainly) this was still a fun nugget to go through, but perhaps a reminder of how long it’s been since the last book (A Dance With Dragons), and how unclear it is when The Winds of Winter will be coming out.

Recap: A Song of Ice and Fire is a series of Fantasy novels which are the basis for the Game of Thrones TV series. The first book in the series, A Game of Thrones, came out in 1996. A Clash of Kings followed in 1998 and the massive A Storm of Swords came out in 2000. Three books in five years. Not bad, right? Well, it deteriorates (the pace of writing, not the quality of it, although you’ll always have arguments about that as well).

The fourth book in the series, A Feast for Crows, was published in 2005, a five year wait. The next novel, A Dance with Dragons, came out six years later, pretty much around the time the TV show, adapted by HBO, stormed our screens, the torrent charts and conquered the world. Three books in five years, and then two more books in 11. And since then? Waiting. Personally, I started reading the books only after the first season ended. This means I’ve been waiting for almost five years. That’s long, but imagine the many many fans that picked up the books when the series first came out. They’ve been waiting 20 years to the conclusion of this epic story, and The Winds of Winter isn’t even the last book. Martin, who is known for making plans and then scrapping them, wants to finish the series with a seventh book, A Dream of Spring.

Martin posts updates, among other ramblings and musings, on his LiveJournal blog. He recently posted an entry about how disappointed he was in not meeting up with deadlines. The book was supposed to be finished by the end of 2015, but his slow writing pace and his other commitments (the success of the TV show has made him a rich man, but also a very busy one) keep holding him back. Maybe there’s also truth to the rumor that he doesn’t love writing these books as much as he used to, with the pressure and some complaints from fans also taking a toll on him.

An short thread by Reddit user ControvT provides a perfect example of how long it’s been since the book series began, and how there’s no end in sight.

Alright, so in the latest episode, Bran visited the Tower of Joy. At the start of the series, Jon Snow is 17 years old in show-canon, so Robert’s Rebellion (and the fight at the Tower of Joy) happened 17 years ago. GRRM said the time that has passed from AGOT to ADWD is around 3 years. We can assume this is true for the show at the end of Season 5 as well.This means that when Bran sees the flashback of the TOJ , he sees something that has happened nearly 20 years ago. The crazy thing is, “A Game of Thrones” was published in 1996, also 20 years ago. This book had the Tower of Joy scene portrayed in “Oathbreaker”. (Even more crazy for those who actually read it 20 years ago.) So in this episode, Bran sees something that happened 20 years ago. We, as viewers, did as wellTL;DR: The audience is Bran.

The TV series has now gone past the books, telling stories that will show up in the next two books to be released, but also going on its own path with a lot of the storylines. Some characters are dead in the series but not in the books, and the opposite is also true. Some characters are never shown on Television. Others are converged into one, saving money and time, which a TV series is always limited in, even when it’s the biggest show in the world.

Some day, The Winds of Winter will come out, and some years later (2023, with the estimation of TWOW coming out in 2017) A Dream of Spring will come out as well. In the meantime? Rereads, going through Dunk & Egg stories and the big Westeros/Essos history book, The World of Ice & Fire and watching the TV show can help people in need of satisfying their hunger for A Song of Ice and fire material.

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