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Don't Panic

George R.R. Martin is “Starting to Worry” That He’s Not Writing Fast Enough. You Don’t Say?

George R.R. Martin is not a fast writer. We know it. He knows it. HBO knows it. People who’ve never read any of the Game of Thrones books or seen the show know it. He still has two books to write, and the show’s chugging merrily along, with one of the two seasons based on book three premiering in a few weeks. At a panel discussion hosted by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Martin had a few things to say on the possibility of Game of Thrones-the-show catching up with Game of Thrones-the-books.

It’s… not exactly reassuring.

Said Martin:

“Well, I’m writing book 6, The Winds of Winter. I’m starting to worry because everybody keeps asking me, ‘What are you going to do, if… the show catches up to you?,’ and I didn’t think it was a problem before, but they’re moving faster than I am and it’s beginning to scare me. I have not failed to notice this. I feel sometimes as if I’m laying track for a railroad and I can hear the locomotive coming up behind me. It’s building speed and I see the smoke and I hear the whistle coming, and I better keep laying that track pretty fast ‘cause I’ll get squashed, if the locomotive comes. But I still have a pretty considerable lead, or at least that’s what I’m telling myself. Season 3 is only the first half of book 3. Season 4 will be the second half of book 3. And then I have book 4 and book 5, and those are gigantic books which have to be recombined because they’re actually parallel. I’m hoping those will be at least two seasons, maybe three. That will give me some time to finish book 6. By the time they’re doing that season, I’ll be writing book 7. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

But… but George. That’s giving yourself four or five years to finish book six, and then just one year (when the show’s filming the last A Feast for Crows/A Dance with Dragons season) to do book seven. That won’t work. You need to rethink this. The train, George! The train!

On top of his work with Game of Thrones, Martin has also signed a contract with HBO to develop a second show for them, though he admitted on the Game of Thrones red carpet that the “3,000 pages” he has left to write for books six and seven are still his “first priority.”

But still. Humor us, George. What ideas are bouncing around in your head for that second show? He said he has “some ideas for some pretty cool new series,” among them a sci-fi show and some historical dramas. And if he decides to keep in in Westeros, well, we might get a Game of Thrones prequel:

“I have been writing for a number of years, a series of novellas set in the same world, in the world of Westeros about 100 years earlier, about two characters called Dunk and Egg… I’ve published three of those novellas – The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword, and The Mystery Knight – and I have in mind about nine or ten more novellas about the adventures of Dunk and Egg. So, we have been playing with the idea of doing those, you know, as prequels. They would be prequels in a sense they’re 100 years earlier, but in the same world. They’re somewhat lighter in tone than the main series, a little more adventurous but my fans love them and I love the two characters too, and it all ties into Westeros. So maybe, maybe that will be what we do, we’ll see.”

Granted, I’ve yet to read the Dunk and Egg novellas, but this seems like it could be cool. Still. One show at a time.

(via: Screen Rant, io9)

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  • Aeryl

    I was just thinking this morning that Dunk and Egg would make good comics(not that I’ve read them yet, that’s just been the thing anymore these days, make prequels into comics).

  • Lisa Morningstar

    I bet with the popularity of the show being what it is, they could afford to stop taking so much of the actual story out of the TV version and make the seasons longer. It would give him a little more time to finish the 6th book.

  • Samantha Widham

    Good, I’ve been worried about this for 10 DAMN YEARS!!! Whatever, the writers of the show have already anticipated this. And maybe this will finally make Martin focus on finishing this series before doing 4,000 other things.

  • Anonymous

    He did have to give them an outline/summary of what happens and where the story ends as part of the contract. So the show-runners *do* know where it’s going if they catch up/pass him… there’s at least that much.

  • Anonymous

    If the TV series surpasses the books I may have to stop watching :( I started with the series and then read the books, but now I love the books so much I don’t think I could bear to know what happens unless I was reading it.

  • Lisa Stout

    It has been done – they are just hard to find. Maybe they will be republished.

  • Anonymous

    Also, I feel someone has to include a link to Paul and Storm’s “Write Like the Wind” here, so:

  • Jill Pantozzi
  • Anonymous

    Of course you had, because you guys are awesome that way.

    But no one had yet posted the link in *this* article. ;)

  • Anonymous

    It’s going to be awkward when Arya, Bran, and Rickon are all in their 20′s and we’re supposed to pretend their still rocking single digit birthdays.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    Same here. There’s so much more going on in the books that if I got the abbreviated version with the show first, when I DID read the book I’d spend the whole time distracted by wondering “When is XYZ going to happen?”

  • Riviera

    I’d probably keep watching, but that’s because I’m watching the show first and only reading the books later. The show’s what I saw first, and I still love it best.

  • David Keith

    Well, duh. We’ve know this since the show was first announced.

  • Anonymous

    While I’ve never been one to criticize Martin’s pace (in fact, I think taking his time has benefited the quality of the work), I do hope the possibility of squeezing a season or two of a prequel Dunk & Egg series between the seasons that correspond to books 6 and 7 will get people off of his back as it gives him time to get book 7 out before the final season(s) of the show.

  • Adam Skinner
  • Anonymous

    “Yeah, don’t mind me George, I’ve only been hanging on this wall for a couple years.”

    “Sod off, Greyjoy.”

  • Anonymous

    I love both, very rarely has there been such a ambitious adaptation of a book. I really enjoy both equally, I can’t say that about anything else really. I have no complaints about the television series.

  • Mark Brown

    If anime has taught me anything, it’s that we’ll either have filler arcs following side-characters, or 13 episodes of Daenarys screaming while she powers up. . .

  • Anonymous

    It sounds as though GRRM has only tipped to this facet of reality: “I’m starting to worry” … a circumstance simultaneously amusing and alarming, not least of all for its tardiness. My take, at least.

  • Rusty Patti

    Dunk and Egg? All would be forgiven.

  • Mina

    Thank goodness for the show, or he may have never finished at all. He seems to lack focus, a sense of pacing, or both. I just hope he doesn’t do a Robert Jordan and die before they’re done.

  • strand0410

    Wild Cards by HBO

  • strand0410

    But then the Stark kids would be in their 30s by the time A Dream of Spring rolls around.

  • Zombie Marykate

    Tolkien was a slow writer, too.

  • Jordan

    This might be the best comment ever… of all time.
    Edit – or standing with her arms up and drawing power from dragons from other worlds… into one gigantic fireball

  • Neal Johnson

    Robert Jordan could have wrapped that shit up way earlier, and he had even planned on it, but when your career depends on stringing your fans along while pumping out new overinflated books, you don’t end it.

  • Anonymous


  • Mina

    Agreed a hundred fold. The drawing out of that series was incredibly frustrating. I’m glad GRRM has a predetermined number of books he’s sticking to.

  • Anonymous

    He’s already explained that the kids in the book would be significantly older by the end of the story (there was originally to be a 5 year gap between Storm and Feast). I don’t think the actors aging an extra year or two will make any sort of difference to the show at all.

  • Anonymous

    I think it takes tremendous focus to stick with a gigantic story for almost 5000 pages, while providing several prequel short stories, scripts for a television show, and background info for video games, table top games, and compendiums. A lack of focus is the last thing Martin has. And I’m not even sure I want to address your distasteful concern over Martin dying before you get to read the final books of the series. Way to diminish a person’s life to being all about your fleeting entertainment.

  • 00000

    He as the advantage of being dead.

  • Mina

    Wow. That…was a little harsh.

    Look I’m sorry if it came off like I don’t care about the man’s life. That’s not what I meant at all. Obviously he has value beyond turning out a couple books since, you know, he’s a human being. It would be quite sad if he died unexpectedly, and not just because I want to read his books.

    But the last book came out two years ago, and he’s just now thinking that maybe he should really consider finishing the next one in three or four more years? I don’t feel unjustified in thinking that he has either split his attention across too many projects (hence lacks focus) or else is missing some sense of needing to finish within a certain time frame (hence lacks pacing, or would without the show to motivate him).

    Now of course, it would be well within his rights to take however long he wants. They’re his books.

  • strand0410

    I think it would make a difference once Bran can’t be lifted by the actor who plays Hodor. Or Rickon who’s supposed to be a toddler and already aged, is entering his teen years when HBO catches up.

  • Naomi Williams

    How old is he? If I were him, I’d worry more about my life expectancy than the train coming down the tracks.
    Easy solution: Let him sit down in a private conference with Stephen King and tell him the plot outline. Stephen will have that baby cranked out within a month.

  • Maricruz Villalobos Zamora

    Oh yeah, the Dunk and Egg novellas are pretty good

  • Veronica Cristina

    Super sayan

  • Daniel Wall

    A Scarcity of Thrones? The Horror!

  • Nat

    They can’t make the season longer because the budget is already astronomical. The 10 episodes are what they could do to maintain high quality.

  • Jon White

    You can’t compare him to Tolkien, sorry! Tolkien went the distance–and beyond!