After taking more than twenty years to write five of the seven novels in his A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series, widely celebrated author and screenwriter George R.R. Martin is feeling the pressure of his own success. As Game of Thrones, the HBO program based on his novels, continues moving forward year after year, Martin knows that he’s going to have to pick up the pace with the final pair of books to satisfy the network- and his fans.
Speaking to Mashable in a recent interview, Martin acknowledged the need to pick up the pace with The Winds of Winter – the upcoming sixth entry in the Song of Ice and Fire saga – while also discussing the dangers of establishing and dodging deadlines. With the third season of HBO’s show premiering this coming Sunday, Martin realizes that it’s only a matter of time before the two entities are caught up to one another. On that subject, he had the following to say in the below direct quote:
“So I need to write faster. The last two books took a really long time, so I’m hoping this one [the Winds of Winter] will go a little faster. But I make no promises. I found out long ago that when you look at the overall task, the cathedral you have to build, it looks so daunting that you just give up and sit down and play a video game.”
Martin published the most recent installment of A Song of Ice and Fire, titled A Dance With Dragons, almost two years ago on July 12, 2011- the same year HBO kicked off their televised adaptation of Martin’s towering epic – and an eyebrow-raising five years after releasing the fourth book, A Feast For Crows. Since then, Martin has only made piecemeal progress with The Winds of Winter while TV showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have three seasons under their belts. The writing is on the wall, so to speak: they’re gaining ground, and Martin isn’t.
Admittedly, Benioff and Weiss are only translating half of A Storm of Swords (book three) to the screen for Game of Thrones season 3; the second half will likely constitute the whole of S4. On top of that, the events of A Feast For Crows and A Dance With Dragons play out concurrently, which makes adapting their combined tally of 1,824 pages somewhat complicated. In other words, the showrunners have their work cut out for them as HBO’s Game of Thrones soldiers on – especially since there’s no telling how long The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring, the last chapter in the series, will end up being.
But they clearly have the less daunting task, and their working relationship with HBO guarantees that they’ll output a season a year, whereas with Martin, fans will get The Winds of Winter when they get it. It’s also very much worth noting that Benioff and Weiss have both expressed a desire to see Game of Thrones go as long as nine seasons, which isn’t outside the realm of possibility depending on the size of the unfinished books and how A Feast For Crows and A Dance With Dragons are adapted. If Martin doesn’t speed things up, he’s going to find himself with an incomplete manuscript and a TV series with nowhere to go.
Ultimately, Martin’s just affirming something that’s been a real concern for quite some time, but it’s encouraging to see him confront the problem head-on. Now we’ll just have to wait and see if he manages to cross the finish line before Benioff and Weiss overtake him.
Game of Thrones premieres Sunday, March 31st on HBO.