February 2 is an important date on the United States calendar. That’s the day when a beleaguered, snow-stricken nation casts its eyes to a Midwestern meteorological rodent, who then communicates to us whether spring is on the horizon or winter will last for six more weeks.
Funnily enough, this year’s Groundhog Day also indulged another increasingly frequent tradition. For, just like Punxsutawney Phil, beloved Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin emerged from his den to let us know if Winter was on the way…The Winds of Winter that is.
Martin took to his charmingly outdated Livejournal blog, fittingly titled “Not a Blog”, to give an update on The Winds of Winter, the sixth book in his A Song of Ice and Fire series. In years past, the author has taken to providing year-end updates on his writing progress. This year, Martin seemed to have taken the year off before publishing this surprise post in February.
The reasons for the delay are understandable. Despite crafting the rich and expansive Westeros, Martin still lives in the same world as we do – pandemic and all. The post’s title “Reflections on a Bad Year” pretty much says it all. Still, amid all the melancholy and sadness of Martin’s latest dispatch, there is this bit of good news.
“I wrote hundreds and hundreds of pages of THE WINDS OF WINTER in 2020,” Martin writes. “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. Sometimes I do get on a roll.”
It has been a long, interminable wait for the sixth installment in Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. A Dance With Dragons arrived in summer of 2011, just a month after the first season of HBO’s adaptation Game of Thrones premiered. Since then, Thrones has wrapped up its eight-season run, and yet The Winds of Winter remains elusive.
Martin has sounded optimistic in previous blog entries. In 2019, he told New Zealanders that they could imprison him in a small cabin overlooking a lake of sulfuric acid if the book wasn’t done by the summer of 2020. Since that deadline has passed with no Winds, the writer is now reverting back to his usual policy of “no predictions,” writing:
“I need to keep rolling, though. 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. I will make no predictions on when I will finish. Every time I do, assholes on the internet take that as a ‘promise,’ and then wait eagerly to crucify me when I miss the deadline. All I will say is that I am hopeful.”
It would appear that the punishments for not meeting deadlines have taken a real turn – from imprisonment to crucifixion. But you heard the man, assholes on the Internet. Be nice for now. The Winds of Winter may be on the way…for real this time.