Game of Thrones fans are over the moon about House of the Dragon, the upcoming new spinoff series HBO announced last week. However, die-hard readers of the original books, A Song of Ice and Fire, worry that it may cause even more delays with the publisher. While author George R. R. Martin promises that will not be the case, the reaction online has been funny to watch.
Months after the series finale of Game of Thrones, HBO finally picked up one of the spinoff series in development. The network took House of the Dragon straight to series, dropping all other projects and bypassing the pilot phase.
House of the Dragon is based on Martin's most recent book, Fire and Blood, a fictional history of House Targaryen. The announcement was a little familiar to fans of his novels, who remember the conflicted feeling when Martin announced that a new 1,000 page tome was coming, and it was not the next book in the series.
For those that do not know, Martin is famously behind on his acclaimed series. The author released book five of A Song of Ice and Fire, A Dance of Dragons, in 2011, right when the TV series premiered. Since then he has continually delayed the release of the next installment, The Winds of Winter.
Fans have mixed feelings on this as well. While they want the book, they want Martin to be confident in his work as well, and many feel guilty for the author, whose creative process was upended by the sudden demand from a TV audience.
Following the finale of Game of Thrones, Martin promised that The Winds of Winter was his top priority, and it would be out soon. Still, some fans are concerned — jokingly or otherwise — following the announcement of House of the Dragon. Here is how the conversation is playing out online.
For context, let's start with the last time Martin gave fans a specific time frame in which they could expect The Winds of Winter to be published: May. At the time, he wrote a blog post about a joke promo from Air New Zealand, which offered to take him down to the country for free to finish up his book.
Martin chuckled over the video along with his fans, and pointed out that he will actually be in New Zealand next summer for World Con, the annual science fiction convention.
"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," he wrote.
"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," he added.
Fans have taken this statement to heart, hoping that they will finally get to read The Winds of Winter next year. However, some note the wording, wondering if Martin simply means he will have a finished manuscript for the book, not a published copy. Either way, that's the approximate time frame we had to work with — at least before House of the Dragon was announced.
.@HBO announces series order for HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, a @GameofThrones prequel series co-created by Ryan Condal and @GRRMspeaking, with Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik to partner as showrunners: https://t.co/ccpvVRqmux pic.twitter.com/CPolhMfWiI— HBO PR (@HBOPR) October 29, 2019
Martin's latest big A Song of Ice and Fire update came last week after House of the Dragon was announced. He noted that he was listed as a co-creator and an executive producer on the show, and even admitted that he has been working with the showrunner Ryan Condal on the idea since 2016.
"I expect to be involved in all of this to some extent... and, who knows, if things work out, I may even be able to script a few episodes, as I did for the first four seasons of GAME OF THRONES," Martin wrote. "But… let me make this perfectly clear… I am not taking on any scripts until I have finished and delivered WINDS OF WINTER."
"Winter is still coming, and WINDS remains my priority, as much as I’d love to write an episodes of HOUSE," he added.
This made many fans breathe a sigh of relief, trusting that Martin would not let the new show get in the way of his book. Of course, that did not stop the jokes and pessimism on social media.
Which will we get first, GRRM's The Winds of Winter or HBO's House of the Dragon?— Lucifer means Lightbringer (@thedragonLML) October 30, 2019
Sadly, many fans remain convinced that Martin's books will remain stalled, while his shows will move forward. Game of Thrones has become a juggernaut in the industry that HBO will not let lie, while Martin, they argue, has been paralyzed for too long.
It is worth noting that Martin has had long gaps between books before. Even within this series, he published book three, A Storm of Swords, in 2000, then went five years before releasing book 4, A Feast For Crows. It then took Martin six years to release A Dance with Dragons in 2011, having done a lot of work to restructure his plans for the series as a whole.
It has now been eight years since a main series book was released, but to be fair, Martin released side texts like The World of Ice and Fire and Fire and Blood. He has also published the novellas A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, The Princess and the Queen and The Rogue Prince all since then.
If Martin's previous breaks came at times when the series was being restructured, that should be good news to fans who were disappointed by the ending of the show, and want to see the books go in a different direction.
True, although we're going to get Winds before this show.October 30, 2019
With House of the Dragon now there as a bench mark, many fans are staking a flag in the ground and willing The Winds of Winter to come sooner rather than later. The new show has created a comparison point for fans to cling to, and they are not letting go.
Many fans noted that House of the Dragon has not begun hiring staff writers, scripting the season or casting the actors — much less filming. By comparison, Martin has already released a total of 11 preview chapters for The Winds of Winter, so that is far closer to completion than a brand new show.
Everyone should threaten not to watch House of the Dragon until TWOW comes out— Calvin Graves (@CDG_GTR) October 30, 2019
Some die-hard fans have gone so far as to say that they will not watch House of the Dragon, at least until they have The Winds of Winter in their hands. This is a controversial stance, though given the ending of Game of Thrones, a surprising number of people are feeling emotionally protective. Still, all-in-all, it looks like book purist boycotts will pose little threat to House of the Dragon.
GRRM getting back to writing Twow then finding something else that’s targ related to do pic.twitter.com/pjAPta9QyM— 𝐴𝐴𝐴𝑆𝑂𝐼𝐴𝐹 (@aaasoiaf) November 1, 2019
Whether they believe Martin's promises or not, some fans cannot help but joke about his apparent distractability within Westeros. As noted above, Martin has released an encyclopedia-style reference book, a fictional history and two new novellas all set in Westeros since the last main series book came out. Some feel that he has become interested in his own side plots more than the main story itself.
Martin has also released other works since then, such as books in his Wildcards series and a TV adaptation of another of his books, Nightflyers. However, if he is the creative genius fans laud him as, hopefully he can handle a little multi-tasking now and then.
GRRM isnt writing any episodes until he finishes TWOW!!!! All good news!!! pic.twitter.com/nSl6r54yTr— GrayArea🌻🍂🍃🎃 (@ThisGrayArea) November 2, 2019
Finally, one last concrete hint we do have is Martin's current writing itinerary. The author has shared his plans in multiple interviews, panels and other forums, explaining in which order he will be tackling the books on his to-do list.
Martin has said that his top priority now is finishing The Winds of Winter once and for all. After that, he says, he will take a break for his fourth novella in the Tales of Dunk and Egg series, which is set less than 100 years before A Game of Thrones. After that, Martin will return to A Song of Ice and Fire to write the final installment: A Dream of Spring.
Obviously, Martin may take his time on this one, especially since he has said that he expects both of the final books in the series to take up about 1,500 manuscript pages. However, he will not be done with Westeros even then.0comments
Martin has two more projects planned after the main series is over — a second volume of Fire and Blood, recounting the rest of Targaryen history up to the main series, and the completion of the Dunk and Egg novellas. He has said that he may take on either Dunk and Egg 5 or Fire and Blood 2 when he is done, but either way, Martin has said there may be as many as 12 Tales of Dunk and Egg before he is finished.
For updates on The Winds of Winter, House of the Dragon and all things Westeros, check back here on PopCulture.com.