The five stages of grief have been largely debunked, but perhaps they could be more accurately called the five stages of waiting for the final installments of a wildly popular and infamously delayed literary series. It certainly applies to the public's relationship with George R. R. Martin. Denial: "He can still pull it off!" Anger: "Seriously? A whole book about the Dance of Dragons?" Bargaining: "We'll give you two more years. Two more years, George, and then we're going Misery." We seem to have reached some point between depression and acceptance because it's time to acknowledge that we might never get those last two books.
It's not that he's not working: He's producing a bunch of TV shows, some of which have nothing to do with him. He's written several books that aren't The Winds of Winter since the last installment was published 76 years ago, and he's even branching out into live theater. He writes weekly blogs about the NFL during football season. It would certainly be understandable if a 72-year-old man didn't want to stare at a DOS screen for 80 hours a week, but it's clearly not a work ethic issue. He's just moved on. He's an elderly New Mexican who has a wide variety of hobbies and interests outside of a silly dragon wizard land, and really, we're the weird ones for insisting that he not.
He's been writing those books for 25 goddamn years. Wrapping up hundreds of interweaving storylines is nobody's idea of a good time, and after all the vitriol the last season of Game of Thrones earned, you'd be pretty leery of trying, too.
"Alright, just gotta write something that will please every one of the millions of people who each have their own unique version of a satisfying ending in mind. No problem." Who can blame the man if he just wants to watch the game instead?
Honestly, it might be for the best. On some days, not having those books yet is the only thing that keeps some of us going. Not finishing that series is a public service for millions of depressed nerds, albeit one with an expiration date. This isn't a con that he can keep up for more than, say, 50 years, tops, but the good news is that we'll all be dead by then, and it won't matter. Even if we're not, there's always the possibility of the next generation Hitchhiker's Guiding it.
Top image: HBO