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In Defense of George R.R. Martin

I’ve read lots of stuff complaining and whining about George R.R. Martin’s delays with the next installment in A Song of Fire and Ice.  Some of it’s not very nice at all.  Some of it’s down right hateful and despicable. 

I’ll never forget the first time I discovered the series.  I couldn’t put A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, and A Storm of Swords down.  I drove over three hours to pick up A Feast for Crows and meet Mr. Martin, but I swore not to read it until A Dance with Dragons was released because those two books were originally intended to be a single volume.  So I waited.  And I waited.  And I waited.  Then . . .  I waited some more.  I finally started checking Amazon's and Martin’s websites regularly for updates.  I think it was after the second year of waiting that I decided I would just pick it up when it was finished.  And no, I still haven’t read A Feast for Crows.

Am I frustrated?  Sure.  Am I impatient?  Sometimes – when I think about it too long.  Am I angry?  No.  Mr. Martin has stated that he doesn’t want to turn in anything that doesn’t live up to the project.  Would you, as a reader, want something he didn’t put his heart and soul into?  I can already hear someone saying, “He’s gonna die before he finishes the @#$%&* thing!”   I certainly hope not.  I couldn’t imagine anyone being about to finish the story in the manner Mr. Martin has.  But it’s always a possibility. 

Where will you be next week?  Are you sure?  What if you’re the victim of a fatal accident or a sudden terminal illness?  How do you plan for that?  We don’t.  We plan our lives based on what we expect or hope will happen.  I’m sure Mr. Martin is no different.  A Song of Fire and Ice will probably be his master work.  Why shouldn’t he have the time necessary to make it so?  I believe it was on his website where it was pointed out that J.R.R. Tolkien worked on The Lord of the Rings for decades.  All the time and effort was worth every word. 

Consider this.  You think we’ve had a long wait.  Ever read David Gerrold’s War Against the Chtorr?  It’s an amazing series.  One of the best alien invasion stories I’ve ever read.  The people in it are very real – too real sometimes, just like in Mr. Martin’s, as they are forced to do some extremely bad things sometimes.  Seven books are planned; four have been complete.  The last one, A Season for Slaughter, was published in 1992.  Eighteen years I’ve been waiting to see what happened next.  Eighteen.  Am I frustrated?  Sure.  Am I impatient?  Sometimes.  Am I angry?  No. 

Anyway . . . the next time you get fed up or you decide to create an I Hate George R.R. Martin fan group (I saw one online – honest – I really saw one), pause and think about this: we may be just as responsible for the delay as any other reason.  How would you feel to have thousands of people breathing down you neck, demanding something fantabulously great, right now.  That’s a big demand on anybody.  Fan demand can be just as harmful to an artist as it can be beneficial. 

In the mean time, I’m enjoying the first three books again as I prepare to watch the HBO series.  I will probably go ahead and read A Feast for Crows this time.  Then I will wait ever how long it takes.  Maybe the series will spur Mr. Martin onward, since they plan to do a season per book?  Who knows?  Let the artist create the art.  It’s his work, it’s his property.  He’s just sharing it with us.

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Reader Comments (8)

Thats a good article. I'm not mad (because I'm just now reading Feast for Crows) I'm just scared.

“He’s gonna die before he finishes the @#$%&* thing!”

How many times have I said or thought that?

January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNed

Great article, all good points and most of them I agree with. Now Im interested in this alien invasion series you spoke of, sounds good.

January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJodyRay

Yes. Yes, and...yes. Anytime I hear the "He's going to die before he finishes it" crap, I think that if he was pumping out a book every six months he could still die before he finishes it. Who knows. It is not like his death certificate has an expiration date. I'll take the "slow and steady wins the race" approach any day over the "pump another one out of the money factory" approach.

January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDanny

I really like the real life facts and emotion that you put into this article. It is true that if an author really wants their work to be great then it should be something that he wants to put his heart and soul into, and we should be patient while he does that. I liked this article Mr. Sergent.

your student,

January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShi

I love it when people say that crap about Martin, I agree totally, he is an artist, A GAme of Thrones was a master piece, loved A Storm of Storms and each book brought a new and twisted twist that turned me upside down. So let him take his time..,the dragon queen and the imp are my favorite characters and if the rumors are true thats who most of the next book is about...so let him take his time.

January 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

I have a complaint about this article. GRRM's pic should have been one with that hat haha.

January 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNed

Love the books. Mr Martin should get some carp for all the other novels he has put out since Feast of Crows though, at least 7 novels. Just saying

February 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFerrell

It's worth knowing he gave enough material to the show's head writer and producer to finish the t.v. series should something happen. So no matter what we will know how it all ends and who will win the throne.

February 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBranlo

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