Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin determined to finish his books "strong"

George R.R. Martin is taking forever to write The Winds of Winter, but as long as the books turn out great, he thinks it'll be worth it. "That's ultimately what's gonna determine the legacy."
FYC Special Screening For HBO Max's "House Of The Dragon" - Arrivals
FYC Special Screening For HBO Max's "House Of The Dragon" - Arrivals / Jon Kopaloff/GettyImages

George R.R. Martin has been working on The Winds of Winter, the sixth book in his A Song of Ice and Fire franchise, for a very long time. Ask any fan, they'll tell you. He published the last book in his series, A Dance With Dragons, in 2011. Since then, HBO adapted the entirety of his series — including the parts he hasn't written yet — as Game of Thrones. And then four more years passed, and counting. And still, there's no sign of a release date on the horizon.

The long wait has become a weary joke among fans, and believe me: Martin knows how long people have been waiting. But he thinks the wait will be worth it in the long-term. "Not only do I have to finish the books, but I have to finish the books strong, in a way that people like," Martin said on the Game of Owns podcast in 2022. "That's ultimately what's gonna determine the legacy. If I can finish the books strong, then I think they'll stand for themselves...You never know what's gonna live on. Ultimately, posterity is the thing that judges an author's legacy."

So that's one reason Martin has taken his time finishing The Winds of Winter. Also, A Song of Ice and Fire isn't the only thing he works on. Sometimes, fans notice him working on something else and interpret it as evidence that he's not taking his work on Winds seriously, but Martin doesn't see it that way. "I know some of my fans will be outraged to hear this, but I occasionally like to write other things," he said. "I love the world of Wild Cards and I love the world of 1000 Worlds. There's a lot of me in them. There's a lot of my imagination and my heart and my dreams and characters that I created that will always be part of me. And this should not be taken (as some of the fans do) that I don't love Westeros or A Song of Ice and Fire. Of course I do! But I'm allowed to love more than one thing."

Martin still has a lot of professional ambitions. "I would like to finish the books and finish the books strong, and then I would like to write more books," he said, mentioning a sequel to his book Fire & Blood and more stories in his Dunk & Egg. But he's aware that the Song of Ice and Fire books need the most attention. "I know I have to finish them."

George R.R. Martin is getting ideas for A Dream of Spring while writing The Winds of Winter

As for where he is with Winds, Martin wouldn't give specifics, and who knows what's happened since he gave this interview in 2022? "There's a lot of Tyrion in this book," he allowed. We'll take it.

 Martin also thinks ahead to A Dream of Spring, the purported final book in his series. "About a month ago, out of nowhere, the perfect ending for a particular character came to me," he said. "It'll be in Dream of Spring, not Winds of Winter, but...yeah. Yeah! Why are you giving me ideas for Dream of Spring? I'm not there yet. Shut the f**k up, muse. But it's there, and I'm gonna remember it, and when I get there, I think it's gonna be strong, and it's gonna be powerful, and it's what I need to do. It's appropriate."

It must be odd to be writing a series after a very famous TV show depicting events you have yet to get down on paper has already concluded. But Martin was at this long before Game of Thrones came along, and he's holding steady. "I don't want to be influenced by the show, really. Some of the stuff they did in the show...are things I told [showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss] that I would be building towards," he said. "But there were a lot of other things...I'm a gardener...Some of this stuff...comes to me when I'm writing it, and sometimes it doesn't come to me."

It all sounds, in short, like a complicated process. Hopefully we'll get to read the results someday.

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