If you recall, a couple of weeks ago I came here and talked about my reading dilemma. I wanted to read both A Feast for Crows and A Dance With Dragons at the same time because I’ve been currently obsessed with all things Game of Thrones and I hoped that it would improve book four a bit. While little has changed in that department, I have yet to start either one of the books. I’ve ultimately decided that I’m going to attempt to just read A Feast for Crows on its own in the hopes that I don’t hate it as much as I did the first time I read it. That maybe the show has helped improve my least favorite book of the series.
As I’m currently coming to the end of reading The Leftovers, a book I’m thoroughly enjoying, I started to plan ahead to my next book. I’m in heavy debate mode between Bryan Cranston’s autobiography and A Feast for Crows, and for some reason, I can’t pull the trigger on Crows. There’s the fear that I’m not going to enjoy the novel despite all of my Game of Thrones excitement, but I think it runs a little deeper than that. I have no real pressure to start reading it.
A few years I started re-reading the Song of Ice and Fire books because I figured that the Winds of Winter would be here sooner rather than later. I was cautiously optimistic that at this point in my life I would be holding a hard copy of Winds and life would be grand. Yet, it’s been three years, maybe four, since I started the re-read and I’ve got nothing. Sure, there are a couple of sample chapters and that’s all well and good, but that’s not enough to hold me over. I’ve been yearning for this story every since Dragons wrapped up. I want answers. I want resolution. I want to meet the Night King in the books (something that I can’t believe hasn’t happened yet). I want to know who Robb named his heir. I want Tyrion to meet Daenerys (hasn’t happened in the book yet folks). I want this story to progress in novel form, that’s how I first fell in love with this story, and I’m starting to believe that it’s not going to happen. Or if it does, will it be too late?
When I Am Geek first started (395 columns ago) I wrote a piece about the Winds of Winter called “The Winds of Disappointment” where I kind of ripped George RR Martin for his lack of production. I still stand by those thoughts. There’s a responsibility to your audience and Martin has let us down for quite some time now. I get that he’s a slow writer but I’ve read the interviews and I feel that he’s not servicing the story anymore. He’s become focused on making twists and trying to shock readers opposed to writing an organic story that fits the mold of a Song of Ice and Fire. Once you start writing in order to service the story then you’ve lost it. The story should write itself, sure you can make changes, but once you stop treating it like this living, breathing, entity and something that you can manipulate… then the jig is up. It’s no surprise that he’s getting nowhere in his writing.
The other things is, when and if this book ever comes out, there’s still a seventh book to be written. A possible conclusion to this narrative if you ignore the rumors about a book eight. Do any of you think that it might be too late by then? Will the love for the Game of Thrones story still be there? By that time there’s no doubt that the show will have wrapped giving viewers and readers alike some form of closure. Granted this most likely won’t happen until 2019 (eeeep) but it’ll still be here before book seven. Hell, I’m willing to bet that it’ll be here before book six. Martin has done himself such a disservice that his audience might not even care when his final book comes out, and that just makes me sad.
There was a brief amount of time where I toyed with the idea of not watching Game of Thrones after season five. I wanted the conclusion of this story to happen within the confines of the pages where I first discovered my love. Where I cried at Ned’s confession. Where I was first invited to the Red Wedding. Where the Long Night doesn’t seem so close. I knew logically there was no way that could happen as I have a fear of missing out on things. Especially on things as epic as Game of Thrones. Plus if I stopped watching then I would never have had the opportunity to write reviews for Fan Fest which has been one of the coolest writing gigs ever. It also dawned upon me that if Martin really wanted these books done before the show wrapped then I would be holding book six in my hands right now. If the creator of this series can’t buckle down and focus on finishing his epic story then how does he perceive his audience? At least with HBO I’ll get an ending. Whether or not it’s the ending that the novels intends is yet to be seen, but I still want an ending before I die. Martin seems to be in no rush to provide one so why should I rob myself of the show? I’ll read the last two books if they ever come out, but now they have the tough task of living up to the show instead of the other way around, and Martin has no one to blame for that but himself.