It’s nearly 2016, which should hopefully mean that it’s nearly the year the long awaited sixth Game of Thrones book will finally reach shelves.
But of course this is notoriously slow writer George RR Martin we are talking about, and an official release date is yet to be announced.
Martin’s next novel in his A Song of Ice and Fire series, The Winds of Winter, follows 2011’s A Dance with Dragons (it seems like ages ago, we know).
The sixth season of the popular HBO TV series based on his books is scheduled to return in May and has already caught up with Martin’s storylines, making it likely that showrunners will either go off on their own tangent or spoil The Winds of Winter for readers.
None of this would be a problem had Martin kept to the time frames of say, JK Rowling, who only made Harry Potter fans wait a maximum of three years between her seven books.
Here are his excuses so far:
Tempting travel freebies
“In recent years all of the work I’ve been doing creates problems because it creates distraction. Because the books and the show are so popular I have interviews to do constantly. I have travel plans constantly. It’s like suddenly I get invited to travel to South Africa or Dubai and who’s passing up a free trip to Dubai?”
The dreaded writer’s block
“I don’t [write] that rigidly. I go over in the morning and sit down, I usually reread what I’ve done the day before to try to build up a little momentum. Sometimes if what I wrote the day before is not very good I spend the whole day rewriting what I did the day before.”
Everyone ‘bothering’ him
“I don’t write when I travel. I don’t write in hotel rooms. I don’t write on airplanes. I really have to be in my own house undisturbed to write. Though most of my life nobody did bother me but now everyone bothers me every day. I have assistants and minions whose main job is to make sure people don’t bother me so I can actually get writing done.”
Readers' favourite lines from Game of Thrones
Readers' favourite lines from Game of Thrones
1/10 Jon Snow
'We are only human, and the gods have fashioned us for love. That is our great glory, and our great tragedy.'
2/10 Tyrion Lannister
'Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.'
3/10 Tyrion Lannister
'Death is so terribly final, while life is full of possibilities.'
4/10 Ned Stark
'A ruler who hides behind paid executioners soon forgets what death is.'
5/10 Tyrion Lannister
'A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.'
6/10 Cersei Lannister
'When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.'
7/10 Barristan Selmy
'They say night’s beauties fade at dawn, and the children of wine are oft disowned in the morning light.'
8/10 Ned Stark
'If you would take a man’s life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die.'
9/10 Tyrion Lannister
'Let them see that their words can cut you, and you’ll never be free of the mockery. If they want to give you a name, take it, make it your own. Then they can’t hurt you with it anymore.'
10/10 Jorah Mormont and Daenerys Targaryen
'The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends,' Ser Jorah told her. “It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace.' He gave a shrug. 'They never are.'
Other things being simply more fun
“I found out long ago that when you look at the overall task, the cathedral you have to build, it looks so daunting that you just give up and sit down and play a video game.”
Reminding fans of supposed sacrifices made
“Having The Winds of Winter published before season six of Thrones airs next spring has been important to me all along. I wish it was out now. Maybe I’m being overly optimistic about how quickly I can finish but I cancelled two convention appearances, I’m turning down a lot more interviews, anything I can do to clear my decks and get this done.”
There have been plenty of hints that 2016 may be the year, most notably when a fan reported seeing Game of Thrones crew members holding The Winds of Winter manuscript.
Martin has refrained from dropping any spoilers but claims the books will finish with a “bittersweet ending”. He plans to write a seventh, A Dream of Spring, and last summer said *f**k you” to fans fearing he will die before the saga is completed.
Just remember how much Martin looks like Father Christmas and he suddenly becomes easier to forgive.