Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Winds of Winter, Game of Thrones, and George R.R. Martin's Writing Pace

Imagine taking a long and meandering road trip from the Northeastern tip of America to the Southernmost point on the West Coast. You start in Maine and travel through all of New England, heading south along the coast, past the Mason-Dixon line, through Virginia and Washington D.C. all the way until you hit Florida. Then you travel North and West, through Texas and into Middle America. See the great plains of Nebraska and the Rocky Mountains on your way through Colorado. You end your trip with the Southwest, passing by the Grand Canyon through the Mojave Desert to finally wind up in Sunny California. Along the way you and any companions you've taken with you have all kinds of adventures. You laugh and cry, you meet all kinds of strangers and gain new experiences, you break down on the road a few times but you always move on all the richer for the experience.

Now imagine on the very last leg of this grand journey, you pick up a hitchhiker, say around Arizona or so. And imagine that this hitchhiker spends the trip complaining about how slow the driver is and asking every five minutes "are we there yet?"

Well that is how I feel when I hear fans of HBO's Game of Thrones complaining about George R.R. Martin's writing pace.

George R.R. Martin has contributed more to the creative field in the past five years than some artists do in their entire lifetime. He's writing a story with more layers and characters than almost any other fantasy series being published at the moment, all while simultaneously editing award winning anthologies and the Wild Cards series, publishing Ice and Fire related material, running a movie theater and an art studio, and fulfilling his duty to HBO and the fans.

Creativity isn't something that can be rushed. Yes artists get deadlines, but that's an issue for Martin's publishers to take up with him, not the fans. The only thing he owes us is a certain degree of artistic integrity, and it's to that regard that I would rather have The Winds of Winter late but good than early and mediocre.

The only mistake that Martin has made is that he told the Dumb and Dumber at HBO how the series is going to end. And yes, I hate the fact that the show is going to spoil the books. Aside from being a sub par adaptation that cannot stand on its own two legs, the show is now actually going to spoil some plot points from the books. Game of Thrones is popular enough that even if we don't watch it (which I wont) some major plot points are still going to be spoiled via social media.

But what's done is done and there's no use crying over spilled Arbor Gold. And one good aspect of the situation is that the show is now so far divorced from the source material that we really cannot be sure what's a spoiler and what's the invention of the writers at HBO.

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