George RR Martin is no longer watching ‘Game of Thrones’ because he’s ‘writing’

Game Of Thrones San Francisco Premiere

I’ve been going through cycles with this current season of Game of Thrones. I’m enjoying the fact that certain plotlines are coming together and that certain characters are finally hanging out, and the end is tantalizingly near, which means that our investment in these storylines and characters will be paying off soon enough. That being said, the actual plotlines this season are kind of terrible and annoying and I’ve yelled at the TV screen more than once. God knows, the night is dark and full of terrors, but can any of the main characters just stop for a moment and think sh-t through? Anyway, George RR Martin wants us to know that he doesn’t know her. He told Metro (a UK newspaper) that he hasn’t been watching Game of Thrones this season. Some highlights:

He isn’t watching the show anymore: Game Of Thrones is currently the most popular show on television. But while fans are eagerly anticipating the finale of its seventh season, and each episode is watched by over 30 million people, George R.R. Martin isn’t among them. That’s because, despite creating the books upon which they’re based, the author does not watch the hugely popular series. The 68-year-old insists he just doesn’t have the time because of writing and “touring”.

The books & the show are very different: “The book series and TV adaptation go their separate ways. On the screen characters are killed right and left. About twenty of them have died already, which are quite alive to me and will appear in a new book.”

The Winds of Winter will come out… eventually: “I did not start to write slower over the years. I was working on the first book for six year and four years on the second one. Fantasists who release their novels every year, do not offer books of large volume. These are not 1.5k pages like mine, but, for example, 500. In addition, I have not become younger. Age does not add enthusiasm.”

He’s not an “architect writer,” he’s a “gardener writer,” which leads him to go away from his outlines for books/characters: “This approach, of course, has its side effects. Several times the plot has led me to a dead end, from where there is no way out. I had to go back and rewrite everything again.”

Game of Thrones has no relation to the modern political climate: “Seven kingdoms are trying to unite against a common enemy –White Walkers, but this is not an allegory. If I wanted to write about the real world, I would have done it.”

He doesn’t use fans’ ideas in his writing: “I have enough (ideas. –Ed.) of my own. Sometimes fan theories of the development of events look very grotesque, sometimes stunningly thought through. But in any case, they do not lead anywhere. I will not say in response to the reader’s version: yes, I assumed to do this. But I like to meet with fans.”

[From Metro]

I mean this in all seriousness to the book readers: I wish you good fortune in the wars to come. I have my doubts that The Winds of Winter will be released this year or next year or even 2019. And whenever it does come out, it’s very clear that Martin is still going to be writing in circles and focusing too much on characters who end up not being that important. It really bothers me that Martin is nonchalant about the fact that he actually doesn’t have the architecture for the final book(s) of his opus, that he knows roughly where he wants to go but he’s taking the most roundabout way to get there. Say what you will about the show – and I can and have written thousands of words about the show – but at least the end is in sight and we’re starting to cull the unnecessary stories and characters.

George R. R. Martin attends the Edinburgh International Book Festival

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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54 Responses to “George RR Martin is no longer watching ‘Game of Thrones’ because he’s ‘writing’”

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  1. crazydaisy says:

    Maybe off in the distant future, say 5 years from now, they will make new TV episodes to retell the final season (or two) with the GRR Martin ending. What are the chances? I love the show so much, I hate for it to end! Even though, as you say, Kaiser, this season is deeply flawed. Awesome, but flawed.

    • Lightpurple says:

      He won’t have finished Book 7 five years from now. We’ll be lucky to have Book 6 by then.

      • rrabbit says:

        Also, book 7 won’t be the end. He’ll lose control over at least one of the books, if not both of them, and will have to split up books again. Remember that Song of Fire and Ice originally was intended to be a trilogy.

        I still expect that the series will never be finished. Martin is 68 already, and I don’t think he can complete three or more books. He also does not seem to have the motivation to still write on it in his 80s.

  2. Mermaid says:

    Good!!! Keep writing George!!!

  3. Lori says:

    As a book reader I am really annoyed that the GOT people were too money hungry to not just wait a few years to make this season. Fans would wait. But I seperate the show from the books, and still enjoy every episode spite everyone hating on them online.

    • Bridget says:

      There were a multitude of reasons why they couldn’t. For one thing, Bran, Arya, Sansa, Jon, and Dany are all supposed to be children, but it turns out that children still age at a normal rate even when they’re on TV. Also, actors are only under contract for a finite amount of time. The likelihood of everyone being able to re-assemble again in several years is low, especially with a cast as sprawling as GOT. Not to mention the massive sets – they don’t just keep those in storage indefinitely. Martin had plenty of chances to at least finish book #6, and has ALWAYS known that HBO would move forward. HBO and his publisher both wanted him to finish the books in time. No one made him make this deal. Even at the time people wondered how he would ever get his books out at his rate of writing.

    • LadyMTL says:

      I’m a book reader too (I do the same as you and separate the show from the novels, and I enjoy them both) but I can understand why the showrunners / creators, etc wanted to get it done, because there’s no ETA on when the novels will come out. I mean, it’s been 6 years since Dance with Dragons was released – and there’s still no set date for the release of Winds of Winter – so who knows how long it might be before it’s all done? That’s too much uncertainty, at least IMHO.

      Also, as Bridget said the actors themselves will still age, there are huge costs associated with making a show like this, and so on.

      That said, I am hoping for a 2018 release for Winds, even if it’s on December 31st, lol.

    • Valois says:

      Nah I disagree. This is still a business after all and no production would be willing to do that. Casual fans would definitely not wait a decade.

      Why not “blame” Martin for selling an incomplete product ages before he was even close to the finish line? I can say why he made that mistake, but it was still a wrong decision

      • Tan says:

        Even with book series I am hesvilr investment, a yr long wait is too much for me. By the time the new book releases, I sometimes move on emotionally and cannot connect with flow of thebook that well.

        Waiting half a decade for one book, its too much to expect.

        The onky reason, acc to me, people are even talking about his books is the show. Once the show ends, Only the most passionately o invested people will have the patience, 90% of the readers will have moved on.

      • Bridget says:

        No, this has been a thing long before the show. ASOIAF was a bestselling series. It’s hugely popular. Obviously the television series brought it to an even larger audience, but there is still a massive readership.

  4. Neo says:

    I’ll take what I can and say thanks. His work and his method have gotten us a massively popular world, great characters, countless debates among friends… He’s not obligated to change his style or method to satisfy our impatience. You do you, George.

    • punkprincessphd says:

      @Neo: 100% this. As a reader, I’m always impatient for the next book in a series – the moment I close book 1 I’m dying for book 2! But as a writer, and as someone who wants to support writers, I know that the work is the work. Writing does not happen according to our whims or the whims of TV executives. I cosign Neil Gaiman on this one: “George R R Martin is not your bitch. “

      • Lou says:

        Yeah, I really liked Gaiman’s piece too. However, it would be better for all if George stopped promising that his books will be ready “next year”. He does it every year, and I don’t see how the pressure or causes makes his writing life any easier. He should just keep it on the down-low until publishing is actually happening. If he just said “the next book will happen when it happens” I think he’d cop a lot less flak.

        TL;Dr: demandy fans aren’t fair, but George should stop raising anticipation with false release dates.

  5. Cbould says:

    Can’t wait for WoW, still keeping the faith that he will finish. I look at the show & books as two different works of art. At least with the show, we’ll get an ending. And with the books & their 1000 pages of roundabout-ness, we’ll get hours and hours of more entertainment. We’ll have the cake & then we’ll get to eat a whole new GoT cake.

  6. Em' says:

    Type George, type as fast as you can

  7. Jenns says:

    As much as I hated that last episode, I have sympathy for both GRRM and D&D.

    George gave the show runners a basic outline of the ending, but it was up to them to figure out how to put it all together. And I think the reason for that is that George isn’t sure yet how to put it all together. That’s why it’s taking him so long to finish. Because as most of us noticed, it’s kind of hard to ignore the fact that Dany has dragons who could roast the white walker’s army and pretty much end the war in about 5 minutes. George doesn’t plan out his books, so when he’s stuck, he’s stuck.

    However, this still doesn’t excuse D&D going with the “Find a wight and bring it to Cersi” plot line.

    • ORIGINAL T.C. says:

      One dragon was injured by a small group of humans and a second one killed by a Whitewalker with one throw. Dragon fire doesn’t kill Whightwalkers. You only need one shot to kill Dany thhen a second to take out Drogon.

    • Bridget says:

      They have an absolute mountain of plot to get through. People don’t realize how much needed to be resolved to get ready for the final season. Of course the pace is kind of herky jerky, they had to get not only out of the corner Martin wrote himself in, but to cover a massive amount of story.

  8. Incredulous says:

    ” Fantasists who release their novels every year, do not offer books of large volume. These are not 1.5k pages like mine, but, for example, 500.”

    Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen series, 10 books, 1999-2012, absolute slabs, much better writer and reading that series will make you a better person. (Also most of the characters are black and I’d argue the most badass is one of the (many) women.)

    Just admit you can’t be bothered, George.

    • kay says:

      Well bless you for that! Now I can dive into something worthwhile while waiting for the books. I just cannot watch this show until martin says ‘sorry no book’.
      Your description of that other series is quite compelling. Thank you.

    • LizLemonGotMarried says:

      Thank you for a recommendation-always looking for one.

    • ArchieGoodwin says:

      thanks for the suggestion.

    • Bridget says:

      Or how about how Brandon Sanderson raced through those last 3 Wheel of Time books?

      And Martin seems to have forgotten that the last 2 books were originally supposed to be just 1, which he split (does his publisher or editor just not say “no” to him?). So over the last 11 years he has completed 1 book that he already had halfway written and is working on another. That is slow, pretty much any way you look at it.

      • rrabbit says:

        Brandon Sanderson is a maniac. While he finished up Wheel of Time with three large volumes published from 2009 – 2013, he also published the following novels

        Warbreaker (2009)
        Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Crystallia (2009)
        The Way of Kings (2010)
        Alcatraz Versus the Shattered Lens (2010)
        Infinity Blade: Awakening (2011)
        Mistborn: The Alloy of Law (2011)
        Legion (2012)
        Infinity Blade: Redemption (2013)
        Steelheart (2013)
        The Rithmatist (2013)
        plus a couple of short stories.

  9. tullyg says:

    this is wrong. he released a statement that says he does watch the show, he’s just behind.

  10. Megan says:

    Is he working on Wow? I seem to recall that he is working on two books, WoW and a prequel and said on of them would come in 2018.

  11. v says:

    Idk at least when GRRM writes hundreds of pages worth of nonessential storylines the writing is always on point. Having no source material for this season of GOT has really exposed D&D as terrible writers.

    • ORIGINAL T.C. says:

      Prior to this year I didn’t care if GRRM ever finished the other books. But this season has left such a bad taste in my mouth (and will only get worse) that I will gladly wait for another 5 years to read his next book. I don’t care if there are a lot of minor characters, they are usually interesting for however long the “live”. Some of the main characters are as dry as toast (Sam, Jon,Sansa) . The fun of the books are being surprised at who is a main character vs who is not.

      I’m sure Season 8 is going to be more Jon and Dany stupid ‘The love that dare not speak it’s name’/ Is she or she she not pregnant. And maybe Sansa and Arya pulling on each other’s hair, Brienna reduced to be listed after my a big fat ugly guy when she prefers pretty and thin men. Because of course

    • ArchieGoodwin says:

      and to read him say that he goes off with no plan, hits a dead end and has to start again?! like, ok, I am NOT creative but maybe change the methos a bit?

      or maybe he gets off on everyone waiting. people are strange.

      • Lightpurple says:

        And he doesn’t write during NFL season. From September until the Super Bowl, he doesn’t write

      • Bridget says:

        Not to mention, that doesn’t exactly make for a coherent story. I’m pretty sure the style of Storytelling is what got him painted into this corner in the first place. It’s not like you have to have everything distinctly outlined out, but you have to at least know where your story is going. I’ve long thought his biggest issue was a massive case of writers block from killing off to many of his characters that he actually enjoyed writing for. That last book was just bad people doing bad things to each other, it was kind of a hard read. Not to mention this guy really needs an editor. These don’t need to be 1500 page tomes.

  12. Tim says:

    Personally, I’m done waiting for the books. I’ll just watch the show and when it’s done it’s done.

    • Rae says:

      I’ve given up waiting around too.

      I originally held off watching the show, as I was a book purist and didn’t want the show visuals to muddle up the story in my head, but I’ve come to accept this series is not getting finished. I mean, at all. No way, with the speed of his writing, is he going to finish before he dies.

      I just hope the show pulls out all the stops for season 8…it’s likely the only resolution we’re going to get.

  13. NeoCleo says:

    He seems overcommitted and over writing about A Song of Fire and Ice. I love his writing but once he meandered past the third book I became a bit alarmed. This is shades of Robert Jordan and the “Wheel of Time” book series. And we all know what happened there.

  14. ArchieGoodwin says:

    He gets lost in subplot hell and I gave up on him after the last book. The Tyrion storyline was ridiculous.
    Danys is the most annoying thing. Started out good enough, but damn.

    Also, ever since the election cycle began in Canada, I am over gratuitous sex and violence, on TV and in novels. Not that I got off on it, just I placed it in perspective. I can no longer do that- every day is more heartbreaking news. I need entertainment to be just that.

  15. Junebug says:

    I like big books and I cannot lie. He can take as long as he likes and I’ll say thank you when I get to read it.

  16. Amelie says:

    I read the complete opposite on People that he still does watch the show and this quote from not watching the show comes from interview he did in Russia. He was confused when he started seeing reports he doesn’t watch the show and thought there might have been something with the Russian language barrier. Even if he stopped watching the show I doubt it would make him write faster.

  17. impy says:

    who cares?? he writes amazingly and i adore his books. let him write as he has been and god willing we will get the full series before he leaves us. i cannot watch that show anymore, they did the sand snakes WRONG. All of Dorne wrong. ugh.

  18. wood dragon says:

    I’m a writer myself. I get the whole writer’so block thing. I’ve suffered it too, but he seems to have let his worst writing instincts overwhelm him. The consequence is apparent: delays and an over indulgence in getting nowhere fast plot wise.

  19. Bridget says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t think the series will ever be finished. Martin appears to have one epic case of writer’s block, and I’ve long thought it was because he wrote himself into a corner – I don’t think that he enjoys writing for many of the characters that are left, and so is now just adding more and more tangents into the writing. Books 4 and 5 absolutely should not have been separated.

  20. Sparkly says:

    I write like him, garden-style (I like that), so I can’t hate. The real trick is just to make it worth the wait. Don’t go Jean Auel on it…fans will wait forever for a good book, but don’t just slap something crappy out to finally get it done after years of waiting.

    I only read the first book in this series though. I think he has fabulous ideas/storylines, but I was really disappointed in the execution. I didn’t feel like it lived up to the hype. I love the show though.

  21. Crystal says:

    Eh, he has been a slow writer for ages and he isn’t the first to fall into this writing style. The Dark Tower series suffered from a similar decades long process and overall is a very satisfying epic now that it is done. I just wish he would write during NFL season.

  22. Nibbi says:

    i think he’s got one of the worst cases of writer’s block in history not from having killed off favorite characters but from the simple pressure of wrapping this gigantic thing up and the weight of expectations from millions of people. i kinda don’t think he’ll ever wrap it up entirely. i think he’s already just kinda done, emotionally, with the series.

  23. DangerMaus says:

    Most important quote form the piece ” Age does not add enthusiasm.”

    I bet that everything is a slog for him now. GRRM isn’t exactly the model of a healthy, energetic looking person to begin with so I can only imagine that his output will keep declining. I hope that I am wrong about this.