The beginning of the end of Game of Thrones and the hanging thread of A Song of Ice and Fire


Even if marginally, A Storm of Swords is the highest rated of George R. R. Martin’s books on Amazon. In the judgment of many people, which includes me, it is the best of his books. It was also the highpoint of interest in the series. For various reasons, it was published several months earlier in the UK than in the USA. So I special ordered the UK edition and received it in June of 2000, about 1.5 years after I began reading the series in the last weekend of January 1999.

Since I began writing this blog, in 2002, I have written now and then about my interest in the series, and frustration and patience with the delay in the books being published. The first three books were published in 1996, 1999, and 2000. The fourth book came out in 2005. The fifth, 2011. We’re now eight years along, and Martin is still working on book six.

For the longest time, I had no interest in watching the television show, since the books were far ahead of them, and I planned on watching the HBO series after George R. R. Martin wrapped up A Song of Ice and Fire. I had long assumed that the penultimate book would be published ~2016 so that the gap between the end of the HBO series and the novels would not too drawn out. Obviously, that did play out.

With the show Game of Thrones to conclude this year, there is a bittersweet aspect to those of us who have been reading the books for nearly a generation. There has been something of a “fork” so that many details of the show now differ from the books, and the HBO series, in fact, outrun Martin’s writing so much last year that much of the storyline was somewhat improvised. But the conclusion is said to be broadly the same between the television series and the book. Which means if and when we read the books we’ll know where it ends.

4 thoughts on “The beginning of the end of Game of Thrones and the hanging thread of A Song of Ice and Fire

  1. Consider Nausicaa started as a manga by the great Miyazaki, adapted by himself into a film in 1984. Miyazaki, unsatisfied with his own movie, continued the manga for a decade until the mid nineties at his own pace. At some point he decided that he could end the story, which had long forked from the movie. I had thought something like this coud play out.

    Books and series might have forked in Martin’s mind long ago. However writing books as intense as Storm requires stamina, that Martin now aged seventy may lack.

  2. he has admitted that the two have forked now. they really had to stop following the book in the last season except in broad strokes because martin hadn’t written that stuff yet. that being said, as of a few years ago he said the ending will probably be broadly the same. he knows the ending and told the creators of GoT.

    what i would LOVE is for martin to change his mind and alter the ending substantively.

  3. “We’re now eight years along, and Martin is still working on book six.”

    This seems very naive. It’s very unlikely he’s working on book six in any meaningful sense given all the time elapsed, broken promises, and other projects that he’s completed. He’s an old, rich, broken man who isn’t going to finish his most famous work. Even if he won’t admit it to himself, we shouldn’t similarly delude ourselves.

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  4. Perhaps Martin simply lost the joy in reading ASOIAF, although it seems he really love the scenario. Duncan&Egg’s stories are fun and Fire and Blood presented some new chapters showing the best Martin (but the older ones, already presented as ‘The Pincess and the Queen’ and ‘The Rogue Prince’ are not so good).

    I think most of the next two books of ASOIAF are mostly written already, with some parts having multiple versions and all what must to be done is detailed enrichment of the story and some hard decisions that he seems not so prone to take. Probably he will die with and lest us with one or more versions of a pre-print unfinished end to his greatest work.

    It is worthful to note Martin was mainly a bizarre sci-fi writer with a very narrow audience and today he is mostly known for ASOIAF, that diverges substantialy from his earlier works. Every now and then he is constantly trying to turn the fame he gained from GoT to promote older works that almost anyone want to read. Perhaps he is consciously delaying Winds of Winter trying to promote older works.

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