As far as the public is concerned, George R.R. Martin is in a race between finishing The Song Of Ice And Fire series and death. Maybe Martin doesn't see it that way. After all, the meaning of one's life need not necessarily boil down to "Did I finish the really good book series?" For instance, our tombstones will display a tally of how many whole pies we've eaten at Giuseppe's Pizza Palace. But with Martin being in his 70's, and COVID-19 being particularly lethal to the elderly, the fear has only increased that we might never see the proper end of our little romp through Westeros. Perhaps Martin has sensed this. Or, more likely, quarantine has finally given him the time to buckle down and get to typing because Martin finally seems to be making some headway on The Winds Of Winter.
Martin initially published A Game of Thrones in 1996, and since that time, he has published five out of the seven planned titles, his last being A Dance With Dragons in 2011. The sixth title, The Winds of Winter, was initially scheduled to be finished by 2015, and then 2016, and then 2018, and now nobody knows. But Martin is at least back at it, which is good because, even if you aren't a fan of the series, you were starting to worry for the guy. Martin has faced immense pressure to release his novel, what with the massive success of the HBO show which adapted his work, and then the fan expectation to rectify the show's disappointing ending. Then there's the massive pressure one faces when you're on a constant deathwatch. Then there's the degree of difficulty for Winds of Winter. Untangling the many threads Martin has laid out is akin to Hercules' battle against the Hydra, except Martin somehow out-incests Greek mythology. As Martin put it:
The Winds of Winter is not so much a novel as a dozen novels, each with a different protagonist, each having a different cast of supporting players and antagonists and allies and lovers around them, and all of these weaving together in an extremely complex fashion.
Writing The Winds of Winter would cause anyone to have severe writer's block. Fortunately, this Coronavirus induced quarantine might be the proverbial laxative to get him unclogged. Again, as Martin put it:
"If there is a silver lining in these clouds, this will give me more time to finish WINDS OF WINTER. I continue to write every day, up here in my mountain fastness."
We've seen how dark times have benefitted the work of artists before, and that seems to be the case for Martin. In the past, he has stated that if he were ever to die without finishing the series that fans would be "shit out of luck." Martin doesn't want someone to try piece together an ending from his notes or outlines after he's gone. He feels that it makes for lousy storytelling, and we only have to look to HBO to believe him. No, right now the only hope for fans is that coronavirus keeps Martin locked up long enough for him to finish, but isn't so deadly as to finish him.
Top Image: Game Of Thrones/ HBO