Good art takes time, something original Game of Thrones author George RR Martin knows all too well. For over a decade now, fans have been waiting for the sixth book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, the source material on Westeros, and a recent update left people a bit flabbergasted. However, more progress has been made than at first glance.
Since Game of Thrones ended, we’ve been hanging on Martin’s every mention of The Winds of Winter, his forthcoming novel in A Song of Ice and Fire. As one of the best fantasy series on television and in literature, everyone’s eager to see how Martin’s version differs from HBO’s. Even though we have the House of the Dragon season 2 release date, any time there’s a chance to hear Martin’s status, we’re glad of it.
On Bangcast, Martin revealed his current page count is 1,100 before commiserating about how many more there are to go. “I have like 1,100 pages written, but I still have hundreds more pages to go,” he says. “It’s a big mother of a book for whatever reason. Maybe I should’ve started writing smaller books when I began this, but it’s tough. That’s the main thing that dominates most of my working life.”
That may sound dire, and Martin himself certainly doesn’t seem thrilled about where he’s at, but some insight into his process should excite you. See, when he discussed page counts, he only included work that’s been subbed by his copyeditor. Those 1,100 pages are basically locked for publishing.
Meanwhile, he’ll have plenty of other pieces of the remaining chapters awaiting the red pen of his editing team. In a 2011 post on his blog for A Dance of Dragons, he points out that as he drafted that book, only “complete chapters” contributed to the word count. As in chapters that have been looked over, edited, and locked in, at least in terms of their placement and narrative contribution.
Therefore, his mention of 1,100 pages is simply what’s definitely going to make the cut in Winds of Winter. There’ll be hundreds more ideas, misshapen chapters, and incomplete outlines going on, too. Martin has been extraordinarily busy over the last decade, between the production of the drama series based on his work and helping to write the FromSoftware game Elden Ring.
Making sure all the best Game of Thrones characters are done justice requires real finesse, especially since DB Weiss and David Benioff’s version was subject to quite a bit of criticism. Would you rather have a great book later or a mediocre one now? I know I’m the former, and I hope Martin gets his draft done without exhausting himself.
The Seven Kingdoms are expanding on the small screen regardless. The Jon Snow spin-off is happening; we have A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight (try saying that five times fast), and House of the Dragon essentially reignited our love of the whole universe.
So, take your time, George; it’ll be done when it’s done. In the meantime, we have guides on Arya Stark, the Game of Thrones cast, and the House of the Dragon cast to keep you up to speed on what else is going in the franchise.