Author George R.R. Martin announced the release dates for paperback copies of his latest book, Fire and Blood on Monday, and as usual fans were not pleased. Martin noted that Fire and Blood is "the inspiration behind the upcoming" prequel to Game of Thrones, titled House of the Dragon. Many responders were more interested in his long-awaited next book, The Winds of Winter.
Martin shared a link to his website on Twitter on Monday morning, where fans will soon be able to pre-order paperback copies of Fire and Blood. The fictional history book was released in November of 2018, and relayed the history of House Targaryen through the narrative voice of a Westerosi Maester.
Paperback copies of Fire and Blood will be available in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. starting on May 5, 2020 according to Martin. They will include five brand new illustrations, and signed copies will be available through Martin's store. He also reminded fans that this book is the basis for the upcoming HBO series House of the Dragon — a prequel to Game of Thrones.
Happy to announce that Fire & Blood, the inspiration behind the upcoming House of the Dragon, will release in paperback on May 5th in the US, Canada, and UK. This paperback edition will include 5 brand new illustrations. Pre-orders begin soon! https://t.co/yluQ0zFfcJ pic.twitter.com/sYq0HwTPjJ— George RR Martin (@GRRMspeaking) January 13, 2020
As usual, the loudest segment of fans responding to Martin's tweets were negative. Many questioned why he was promoting this ancillary book when they've waited so long for the next main series installment, The Winds of Winter. Some even went so far as to say Martin should not be online — or doing just about anything else — until the book is done.
This harsh tone towards Martin has been falling out of fashion, however, and was met with some resistance online on Monday. Other fans sent Martin their encouragement and took the news at face value.
In recent years, many fans have come to have more sympathy for Martin, who has been open about suffering from writer's block in his magnum opus. In particular, Martin has admitted that the HBO TV adaptation put pressure on him that he found himself overwhelmed by.
He's never going to finish the books, it's some sick game he's playing— Matt (@gyrostep34) January 13, 2020
"Writing is hard. I mean I sit there and work at it," he once told The Mary Sue. "Boy, there are days where I get up and say 'Where the hell did my talent go? Look at this crap that I'm producing here. This is terrible. Look, I wrote this yesterday. I hate this, I hate this.'"
There is reason to hope that Martin will finally release The Winds of Winter this year, after about nine years since the last installment. In a blog post last year, he wrote: "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."
Worldcon begins on the last weekend in July this year, so many fans are hoping to hear news of Winds by then. There are the paperbacks and the prequel series, which has not yet announced a cast or a production schedule. All in all, there is a lot to look out for in Westeros.