George R.R. Martin Answers 'GRRM Will Never Finish ASOIAF' Complaints

He's Unafraid to Leave 'A Dream of Spring' Incomplete

GeorgeRRMartin Winds of Winter
The proposed cover for George R.R. Martin's "The Winds of Winter." Bantam Books

George R.R. Martin is amply aware of how Game of Thrones fans bemoan his slow writing pace. He's even contemplated the very scenario so many of them worry about: what happens if GRRM dies before finishing The Winds of Winter, or its follow-up, A Dream of Spring? Responding to commenters who somehow feel comfortable openly speculating about his death, Martin laid out the peace he's made with the possibility of an unfinished Song of Ice and Fire series.

In a discussion about The Silmarillion , J.R.R. Tolkien's posthumous pre-history of Middle-Earth, Martin defended his upcoming history of the Targaryens, Fire & Blood, pushing back against the idea that A Song of Ice and Fire will only continue to be loved if completed.

"You call LOTR 'the main story,' but if you had asked Tolkien, he would have said the SILMARILLION was his main story, his life's work. Yet he was never able to complete it during his lifetime. Not because he didn't care, however," Martin wrote.

"Just for the sake of argument, let me point out that many many people invest their time into works without endings. F. Scott Fitzgerald never finished THE LAST TYCOON, Charles Dickens never finished EDWIN DROOD, Mervyn Peake never finished TITUS ALONE, yet those works are still read."

If Martin, age 69, never finishes A Song of Ice and Fire, it won't erase HBO's Game of Thrones, or the pleasure to be found in the six novels already released. But Martin emphasized that he has no desire to leave behind an incomplete work. "I do intend to finish A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, of course," he wrote, "but doubtless Peake, Dickens, Fitzgerald, and Tolkien would have said the same."

It was far from the only comment Martin responded to under his blog post announcing the release date for Fire & Ice (Nov. 20). Seemingly up for much of the night, Martin also discussed HBO's Game of Thrones spinoffs, ASOIAF series cap A Dream of Spring and even the 1985 Mazda RX-7 he drives.

"We did not need anything else than Winds of Winter and the last book," one commenter wrote. "All fucking spinoffs and histories and other moneymaking stuff could have waited!!!!!" (Who are these entitled goons!?)

Martin kept his head responding. "I am not sure HBO would agree that the spinoffs (I prefer the term "successor shows" myself) could have waited. With GOT set to end in 2019, they put five of them in the works, so as to have a new show… or more than one… to take up the mantle in 2020," Martin wrote. "The successor shows were going to happen regardless. I prefer that they happen with my participation and guidance, rather than without it."

"Do I ever get frustrated at all the criticisms? Certainly. Though I'd be more inclined to say 'annoyed' and 'pissed off' rather than frustrated," Martin said. "The frustrations I feel are aimed mostly at myself and that stubborn, contrary, balky 'moose' (muse) of mine."

Replying late into the night on April 30 and early on the morning of May 1, Martin riffed on everything from his last Dunk & Egg novella ("Eight years ago? Really? Damn.") to the possibility of bringing in Stephen King to tag-team The Winds of Winter ("I envy his productivity, and I love his books… but we are very different people, and I could never work the way he does").

Martin also answered specific questions about A Song of Ice and Fire, or sometimes refused to answer. Responding to a commenter asking the name of the city just east of Volantis, Martin responded, cryptically, "All cities have names."

Asked about the reason behind The Winds of Winter delays, Martin said, "I have done some rewriting, yes. But there have been distractions as well."

And no, it doesn't sound as if some of his Winds of Winter material will be held back for A Dream of Spring. "I have not started working on A DREAM OF SPRING," Martin wrote.

But, most importantly, Martin professed to be good at ignoring the baying hordes at his door. "When my work is going well—and no, it does not always go well, there are times of trouble—nothing exists for me but the scene I am writing. Publishers, editors, deadlines, readers, fans, none of that matters in the least, all of that is gone. Only the characters exist," Martin said. "Sometimes this is difficult to explain to readers."