If you’re a fan of A Song of Ice and Fire – the book series on which the television show Game of Thrones is based – you’re probably foaming at the mouth for the next book. The gap between release dates just gets longer and longer. Book five, A Dance With Dragons, came out in July 2011 and it doesn’t seem like we’re anywhere close to getting book six. The TV series is on pace to catch up with George R.R. Martin’s words in no time and the author is feeling the pressure.
He recently appeared on a panel discussion during the season three premiere and openly discussed the possibility of the show getting to where he is, and his words make me a little nervous:
“Well, I’m writing book 6, The Winds of Winter. I’m starting to worry because everybody keeps asking me, ‘What are you going to do, if… the show catches up to you?,’ and I didn’t think it was a problem before, but they’re moving faster than I am and it’s beginning to scare me. I have not failed to notice this. I feel sometimes as if I’m laying track for a railroad and I can hear the locomotive coming up behind me. It’s building speed and I see the smoke and I hear the whistle coming, and I better keep laying that track pretty fast ‘cause I’ll get squashed, if the locomotive comes. But I still have a pretty considerable lead, or at least that’s what I’m telling myself. Season 3 is only the first half of book 3. Season 4 will be the second half of book 3. And then I have book 4 and book 5, and those are gigantic books which have to be recombined because they’re actually parallel. I’m hoping those will be at least two seasons, maybe three. That will give me some time to finish book 6. By the time they’re doing that season, I’ll be writing book 7. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
The thing is though, Martin isn’t just working on the SoIaF books. He’s also signed a contract with HBO to develop a prequel series set in Westeros:
“I have been writing for a number of years, a series of novellas set in the same world, in the world of Westeros about 100 years earlier, about two characters called Dunk and Egg… I’ve published three of those novellas – The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword, and The Mystery Knight – and I have in mind about nine or ten more novellas about the adventures of Dunk and Egg. So, we have been playing with the idea of doing those, you know, as prequels. They would be prequels in a sense they’re 100 years earlier, but in the same world. They’re somewhat lighter in tone than the main series, a little more adventurous but my fans love them and I love the two characters too, and it all ties into Westeros. So maybe, maybe that will be what we do, we’ll see.”
Finishing the current run is a priority, but I can’t imagine how tempting it must be from him to jump off onto other projects. I’ll just keep my fingers crossed that he writes like the wind.