Everyone in search of a pandemic-based silver lining can head to author and producer George R.R. Martin’s blog, where the creator of the Song of Ice & Fire book series offers new hope for its next installment. Progress continues on The Winds of Winter, Martin insisted on Tuesday, and he’s dared to offer a hopeful estimate (though, obviously, not a release date).
“The enforced isolation has helped me write,” Martin wrote on his amusingly named “Not A Blog.” He confirms a flurry of progress in the past week, adding up to five chapters for Winds of Winter, and he points to “long hours every day” and “steady progress” in putting the book together.
Martin then mentions the cancellation of a New Zealand fan convention this year, which he admitted was, in some ways, a perfect development.
“The last thing I need right now is a long interruption that might cost me all the momentum I have built up,” he wrote. “I can always visit Wellington next year, when I hope that both Covid-19 and The Winds of Winter will be done.
“Dropping back into Braavos”
This estimate, of course, comes from an author who has left SoI&F enthusiasts waiting since 2011 for a follow-up to A Dance With Dragons. Martin had previously told fans that he would get the unfinished book done before HBO moved ahead with a sixth season of Game of Thrones. In 2015, he told Entertainment Weekly what steps he’d take to make that assertion a reality:
Maybe I’m being overly optimistic about how quickly I can finish. But I canceled two convention appearances, I’m turning down a lot more interviews—anything I can do to clear my decks and get this done.
That means Martin’s assurances about skipping a convention for the sake of “momentum” may ring hollow for the remaining devoted fans of the book series. Those assurances may also ring hollow for anyone left unmoved by the finale of the HBO series based on A Song of Ice and Fire. And the announcement comes with a reminder that Martin still has a ways to go: “This does not mean that the book will be finished tomorrow or published next week.”
Martin’s Tuesday post reminds fans of the other plates he’s currently spinning. He mentions progress by the team responsible for HBO’s upcoming prequel series The House of the Dragon, then rattles off various productions he is trying to get onto screens big and small: a TV series based on a Nnedi Okorafor novel (which HBO optioned in 2017), feature films based on his own short stories, and a “relaunch” of the Wild Cards TV project (which was previously linked to Hulu before going quiet).
Interestingly, Martin’s very large list of years-old projects does not include a mention of a Captain Cosmos TV series, which HBO optioned all the way back in 2015. He concludes his list of projects by adding, “there are the secret shorts we’re doing that… well, no, if I spilled that, it wouldn’t be secret.”
And if you think all of that sounds busy enough, you can click backwards in Martin’s blog for updates about his New Mexico bookstore, his annual endowment given to a promising sci-fi writer, and his early-June call for justice (which came in the form of a Frederick Douglass quote).
As far as Tuesday’s post, fans would be forgiven for focusing on Tuesday’s Winds of Winter-specific commentary, which includes this anecdote about where his focus has been: “Of late I have been visiting with Cersei, Asha, Tyrion, Ser Barristan, and Areo Hotah. I will be dropping back into Braavos next week.”