"Game of Thrones" creator George R.R. Martin opens up about his struggles

The author of the "Song of Ice and Fire" books reveals the ups & downs of how he's been handling the pandemic year

By Dan Selcke
Published April 19, 2021 12:00AM (UTC)
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"Game of Thrones" author George R.R. Martin at Castle Ward, which stands in for the fictional Winterfell Castle (Liam McBurney/PA Images via Getty Image)

This story originally appeared on Winter is Coming.

"A Song of Ice and Fire" author and "Game of Thrones" creator George R.R. Martin has written an emotional new entry on his Not a Blog. To start, he admits that the Not a Blog has indeed become a blog, whatever ideas about it he had at first. And it sounds like he's going through an intense time. "My life has become one of extremes these past few months," he writes. "Some days I do not know whether to laugh or cry, to shoot off fireworks and dance in the streets or crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head.   The good stuff that has been happening to me has been very very very good, the kind of thing that will make a year, or a career.  But the bad stuff that is happening has been very very very bad, and it is hard to cherish the good and feel the joy when the shadows are all around."

The good stuff involves Martin signing a (reportedly) very lucrative deal with HBO. He confirms that he will be creating "new 'GOT' successor shows (and some non-related series, like 'ROADMARKS') for both HBO and HBO Max." When we heard about the deal, we guessed that Martin would be working on some of the many "Game of Thrones" spin-off series in development, but it's good to have confirmation. Martin expects to blog about it, "but not today."

So far as the "very very very bad" stuff goes, Martin has been losing a lot of friends lately, some to COVID and some to other ailments that come with old age. "Alas, I am old, and so are many of my friends," writes the 72-year-old author. "Valar morghulis, I guess." You can see why he'd have some mixed feelings about his life, even after signing what he calls "the deal of a lifetime."

Is George R.R. Martin about to finish "The Winds of Winter"?

I'm sure a lot of fans are wondering what, if anything, this means for "The Winds of Winter," the long-in-coming sixth book in Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" series. Well, Martin doesn't mention the book by name, but he does say one thing I find intriguing: "I am going to be leaving my cabin in a couple of months."

Of late, Martin has been pretty optimistic about his prospects for finishing his novel. "I wrote hundreds and hundreds of pages of 'The Winds of Winter' in 2020," he wrote in February. "The best year I've had on 'WOW' since I began it. Why? I don't know. Maybe the isolation. Or maybe I just got on a roll . . . I still have hundreds of more pages to write to bring the novel to a satisfactory conclusion. That's what 2021 is for, I hope."

So far as "the isolation" goes, Martin is likely referring to a cabin in an undisclosed location he's been retreating to so he can work on his book. He described his life there in yet another blog post:

Every morning I wake up and go straight to the computer. Then I start to write. Sometimes I stay at it until dark. Other days I break off in late afternoon to answer emails or return urgent phone calls. My assistant brings me food and drink from time to time. When I finally break off for the day, usually around sunset, there's dinner. Then we watch television or screen a movie…Some nights I read instead.

It sounds lonely, but Martin admits that it's been "good for the writing." If he's leaving this cabin in "a couple of months," I wonder if it's because he's close to turning in a manuscript for The Winds of Winter.

And how will Martin balance his new TV responsibilities with writing the next (and presumably final) book in the "Song of Ice and Fire" series, "A Dream of Spring"? As Tyrion once told Varys, "one game at a time, my friend."


Dan Selcke

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