With Game of Thrones now finished, author George R.R. Martin is free to admit to fans — and perhaps himself — that the series may have slowed his writing. Fans have been waiting for the next book in the main series for years now, and Martin has been throwing himself up against deadline after deadline to no avail. In a new interview with The Guardian, he talked about finally being free from that burden.
Martin spoke to many outlets this week as he joined the rest of the science fiction and fantasy community in Dublin, Ireland for The World Science Fiction Convention, better known as World Con. Martin talked about A Song of Ice and Fire, the novel series that Game of Thrones is based on, saying that he is relieved in some ways to have the show behind him.
“There were a couple of years where, if I could have finished the book, I could have stayed ahead of the show for another couple of years, and the stress was enormous,” Martin recalled. “I don’t think it was very good for me, because the very thing that should have speeded me up actually slowed me down. Every day I sat down to write and even if I had a good day – and a good day for me is three or four pages – I’d feel terrible because I’d be thinking: ‘My God, I have to finish the book. I’ve only written four pages when I should have written 40.’"
"But having the show finish is freeing, because I’m at my own pace now," he continued. "I have good days and I have bad days and the stress is far less, although it’s still there... I’m sure that when I finish A Dream of Spring you’ll have to tether me to the Earth.”
Martin has done his best to be good-natured about the increasingly frantic calls on him to finish the final two books in A Song of Ice and Fire. The author noted that completing big projects has always been an issue in his work, and said wistfully that he wished he had more time to let his imagination run wild.
“I need more hours in the day and more days in the week and more months in the year because the time does seem to go very fast,” he said.
However, for Martin the outcry is also a blessing, in a way, that he does not want to take for granted. He discussed how the heated responses to the TV finale affected him, and how he maintains an air of gratitude even when things seem bleak online.
“I’m glad of the emotional reactions, whether to the books or the television show, because that’s what fiction is all about – emotion," he said. "If you want to make an intellectual argument or persuade someone, then write an essay or a piece of journalism, write nonfiction. Fiction… should feel as if you’re living these things when you read or watch them. If you’re so distanced by it that a character dies and you don’t care, then to an extent the author has failed.”