It’s not particularly optimistic, but this Wertzone post posits several scenarios regarding the ever-more problematic intertwining of cross-media timelines for George Martin’s juggernaut series A Song of Ice and Fire, otherwise known as Game of Thrones. The Wertzone concludes that it is tricky, but definitely possible, that Martin will in fact finish his books, and even before the show ends!
This is the part, however, where we can all allow a little simmer of frustration into our hearts. Martin is constantly whining about how many too many projects he has accepted, fortunately he bowed out of football early this year, and making cryptic hints about how much (or depressingly little) progress he’s making in actual writing. It is easy to become convinced that he never does any writing at all. While we should all understand that Neil Gaiman is right, and George Martin is not your bitch – he isn’t, and all the points Gaiman makes about imaginary contracts and artists being people are completely accurate – it’s okay to be worried about the future of the story you want to read. Especially when the author has such stubborn, narrow views about what should happen to it if something happens to him. In this Entertainment Weekly interview he admits he has nothing written down in terms of long-range plans or overarching plot resolution, just that he “know[s] it in broad strokes” and that the TV show producers “know some of that, too.” Combined with his vociferous and occasionally very badly-worded objection to fan-fiction, this leads around to what is apparently common knowledge (I can’t find any citations for it, but there are plenty of anecdotal attestations), which is that if George Martin dies, he wants his sandbox closed up after him so no one else can play in it. If he doesn’t finish it, no one does, and literally everyone goes home unhappy.
Martin says in the blog post I linked to that this is an author’s individual choice (about fanfiction, in particular), but goes on to cite the difference in financial situation between Burroughs (the first author to incorporate himself) and Lovecraft, who created one of the most enduring shared world mythoi in all of genre. I think this argument is complete nonsense, but I mostly think that purposefully cutting off your thronging loyal fandom off from closure simply because you might not have final say (in a situation where you aren’t likely to care at all what happens) is extremely selfish and not at all in the service of the story, the characters, the fans, or even the estate who would be managing the continued property. It worked for Burroughs, after all! There’s another post I can’t find right now in his Not a Blog about his views on copyright, and basically that he thinks Disney has the right idea continously extending copyright well beyond creator lifetime because nothing should ever become public domain ever for any reason because creators are too important and their work is too close to them or whatever – anyway, I obviously disagree quite a lot, but there it is.
In sum, after I appear to have gone on several of my GRRM rants, these are all the reasons we should fervently hope that Martin writes faster and also improves his health so that he lives long enough to finish the series, because otherwise nobody gets to know what happened except for him, and he’ll be dead. Maybe someone can introduce him to jogging?