Game of Thrones fans have been waiting and waiting for The Winds of Winter, the next book in author George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. And although the HBO blockbuster show ended on May 19, there’s still no sign of the new novel.
But on Tuesday, Martin wrote about the book on his Not A Blog website, and he seems to have set himself a deadline.
Martin was responding to a video from Air New Zealand offering him a free trip to that country so he can finish the book at long last. “Point is, George, you’ve been saying, ‘Winter is coming’ for ages now,” the video teases. “We’re saying it’s already here, and it’s pretty inspiring.”
This is what he replied to Air Newzealand:
I cannot say I was not tempted. New Zealand is a beautiful place. As it happens, I have already visited there a number of times. I’ve been to Auckland and Wellington and Christchurch and Rotoroa… and Hobbiton, of course. I’ve gone whale watching (we never saw a whale, but there were hundreds of dusky dolphins), checked out the Te Papa, the Weta Workshop, the aquarium in Auckland, and a cool automobile museum somewhere near Wellington. From Rotoroa I took a helicopter out to White Island, with its boiling mud pools and lovely lake of sulfuric acid. (With Hobbiton and Mordor on the same island, you really ought to change your name to Middle Earth). I’ve been to a few hangis too, and my minions have a video of me attempting to do a haka that they periodically use to blackmail me.
In short, I love New Zealand. You don’t need to convince me.
And as it happens, I already have plans to return. In the summer of 2020, Wellington is hosting the World Science Fiction Convention, the oldest and most important con in the SF/ fantasy calendar, and they’ve asked me to serve as Toastmaster for the Hugo Awards. Writers, fans, and artists from all over the world will be headed down to check out all of your wonders. I hope lots of you Kiwis will join us.
Of course, I was especially moved by your offer to bring me to New Zealand “on us.” How wonderfully generous. As it happens, I do have enough money to make it to New Zealand on my own… but there are many American writers, fans, and artists who do not. If you’d care to fly, say, twenty or thirty or fifty of them to Wellington in place of me, I have no doubt they would instantly accept, and fall in love with Middle Earth.. er, New Zealand… just as I have. And you have such big planes, I’m sure you could squeeze them in.
As for finishing my book… I fear that New Zealand would distract me entirely too much. Best leave me here in Westeros for the nonce. But I tell you this — if I don’t have THE WINDS OF WINTER in hand when I arrive in New Zealand for worldcon, you have here my formal written permission to imprison me in a small cabin on White Island, overlooking that lake of sulfuric acid, until I’m done. Just so long as the acrid fumes do not screw up my old DOS word processor, I’ll be fine.
Martin thanked the airline, noted that he could pay his own way (we bet he can), and said he’d better keep on writing at home in the US. But then came a promise of sorts.
Noting that he is traveling to New Zealand in the summer of 2020 for the World Science Fiction Convention, Martin wrote, “If I don’t have The Winds of Winter in hand when I arrive in New Zealand for Worldcon, you have here my formal written permission to imprison me in a small cabin on White Island, overlooking that lake of sulfuric acid, until I’m done. Just so long as the acrid fumes do not screw up my old DOS word processor, I’ll be fine.”
We can hold him to that, right? Someone start the countdown. Worldcon 2020 begins July 29 of that year, so it’s only about 14 months away.
Martin said earlier this week that the two remaining books in the series will not end in exactly the same way as the TV show did, though there will be some similarities.