By Chandler Walter, Editor-in-Chief
There’s an interesting little note at the end of A Feast for Crows.
Being the fourth in the seven book A Song of Ice and Fire series, writer George RR Martin decided to split what was originally intended to be one novel into two, leaving A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons (the fifth in the unfinished series) covering the same time-frame, but with each only following the stories of certain, geographically separated characters.
Martin pinned the need for a split on having written too much for just one book.
“I was still writing when it dawned on me that the book had become too big to publish in a single volume… and I wasn’t closed to finished yet. To tell all the story that I wanted to tell, I was going to have to cut the book in two,” he said in a two-page letter at the end of A Feast for Crows.
This all makes sense, and I don’t blame Martin for making that decision, but the split isn’t why I’m bringing up the letter.
Martin explained that he had written far too much for just one book in a letter dated June 2005—meaning that by the publication of A Feast for Crows, the infamously slow writer had a head start on what would later become A Dance with Dragons.
In the letter, he wrote: “Tyrion, Jon, Dany, Stannis and Melisandre, Davos Seaworth, and all the rest of the characters you love or love to hate will be along next year (I devoutly hope) in A Dance with Dragons.”
I was a little confused by the timing of all that—having come to the Game of Thrones bandwagon a bit late, around season four—because, as someone avidly waiting for George’s sixth book, The Winds of Winter, I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that he published the fifth in 2006.
It turned out that I, along with Martin, was wrong on that date, as A Dance with Dragons released in 2011… five years after the publication date that he had hoped for.
And that brings us to present day: 2018. It has been seven long and gruelling years of waiting for the sixth addition to the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Seven years of abandoned deadlines, fears of the show catching up to the novels, ambiguous blog posts from Martin himself, and the tease of sample chapters.
I began a re-read of this series about half a year ago, figuring that by the time I finished there would be a fresh, new George RR Martin novel awaiting me at the finish line…. And oh, how I was sorely mistaken. Each new year brings new speculation as to when the story of Westeros will continue, and each new year brings a new sense of “Are you kidding me?” with it.
At this point, the show may even finish up before the second-to-last novel in the series is released, divulging all the secrets, plot-twists, and big finales before they’re even put down on the medium from which they were born upon.
I’d love to say that I’ll hold off on watching the last season of Game of Thrones until I’ve read A Song of Ice and Fire’s final installment, but keeping myself spoiler-free for 10+ years is a little much to ask.
We’re obviously not going to get A Dream of Spring (the seventh and—apparently—final novel in the series) by the time Game of Thrones’ eighth and final season airs in 2019, but, for the love of the old gods and the new, at least give us Winds before it’s too late, George.