Like many here, I am a fan of the Song and Ice and Fire series and patiently waiting for the next book in the series: Dance of Dragons. At the same time I am wondering whether Martin will ever finish the series.
DOD is the fifth book in the series and the first four were released in 96,98,2000 and 2005. Clearly the gap has increased from two to five years. However DOD and the fourth book: Feast for Crows were originally one book which were split into two. IIRC a lot of DOD was already done when FFC was published so one might have guessed that it would take less than five years to write. And for some time it appeared that DOD would be available in 2008. So I am seriously beginning to wonder whether Martin really has a grip on his series. It's a vast sprawling epic with many moving parts and perhaps he has just lost control over the plot and doesn't know how to proceed.
The HBO series adds another twist. Assuming one year per book that means it will finish around 2016. At his current pace it doesn’t look likely that Martin will finish by then. However the series could induce Martin to at least write a treatment to finish off the series. If he doesn’t want to finish the novels himself he could commission someone else to write them based on the treatment. Not ideal but better than leaving the series dangling without an end.
I gave up any real hope of him completing the series when I saw him in person and saw how old he looks. He’s not terribly up there in years, but he moves like he’ll shortly belong in the home.
If I had to put a dollar on it, I’d put it against him finishing. I’ve decided to be happy with what I have and rely on a friend’s made-up ending: The Wall falls, the Others win, and the epilogue is a completely frozen world. That is, until the moon cracks open above to release its dragons to heat the world again.* I’m prepared for a real downer on this one, so I’ve made plans to accept that downer early on.
*Based on the myth of dragons coming from the moon. Who cares if it’s accurate? As long as it fills the howling gap of an uncompleted narrative, my mind will be somewhat more at ease.
This reminds me of the seemingly interminable wait for Jack Vance to finish his Demon Princes pentalogy (? series of five books). The first three were published 1964-1967, there was then a 12 year wait until the final two volumes appeared.
Apparently Vance had tired of the series and moved on to other novels, it wasn’t until a lucrative deal was offered by a publisher that he was finally persuaded to finish the series and satisfy his fans who had been waiting for years for Gersen to complete his vengeance and track down the last two Demon Princes, Lens Larque and Howard Allan Treesong.
I think the odds are against a successful completion of the series, either through non-completion or through the whole thing unravelling into a low quality set of books. In hindsight, a Feast for Crows was a major disappointment. It was a let down on the page by page level, but more worryingly it showed that GRRM was losing his grip on the whole structure of the series.
So, the series is delicately poised at the moment. Looking at it optimistically, it could be that aFfC was required just to move the chess pieces around the board a bit - consolidate the many threads of the story in order to move ahead with the next book. Hope so.
Here’s the latest update from his blog, dated oct 6:
So he apparently hasn’t abandoned it, anyways, but I can’t imagine we’ll see it in the near future either.
Feast of Crows wasn’t bad, but having killed off most of his characters and having had most of the story lines either resolve or muddle off into irrelavence in the last few books, he’s basically just left writing a bunch of very loosely related vignettes.
Thinking about it some more, the imbalance between the song of fire, and the song of ice, seems like it will be extremely difficult to resolve. The weakness of the whole Danaerys storyline really sucks the energy out of any proposed grand showdown or resolution. I’m not confident GRRM can make the Danaerys and the dragons really matter in the way his earlier characters did. I guess we’ll see for sure in the next book.
I have no problem with the Daenerys plot. I have always find it interesting. just imo. I too fear he will pull a Jordan, but until I read Gathering Storm when it comes out in the next couple of weeks, I don’t know how bad Jordan dying was. Maybe the ghost writer can do a credible job. At least I hope so…
George R. R. Martin has consistently said that if he dies, we’re fucked–he has never written down anything about how he wants this series to go or end. My guess is that’s because he has no fucking clue how he wants this series to go or end, and he’s just winging it at this point.
Every time he posts something about the New York Giants on his LJ I want to comment “FINISH YOUR FUCKING BOOK!” but I’m just too damned nice. I’ve been reading this series since I was 18. I am now 31. At this point I just hope he finishes it before I die.
I don’t expect an author to spend his every waking moment working on a book, but it think it is fairly obvious from the various postings on Martin’s blog that he just doesn’t give a shit anymore and would rather work on other things or go to conventions.
A big problem is that Martin has said that he’s very bad about finishing series. He’s started about a dozen different series with plans on how they’ll go and by his reckoning, he finished only one (the Haviland Tuf stories). He apparently starts with some good ideas but then, during the long work of putting the words on paper, he’ll think up good ideas for another series and become more interested in the new series than completing the old one.
He posted about a year ago on his LJ about some figurines for sale, one of them including Daenerys. I commented how I found it odd that Daenerys had silvery blonde hair because that’s not how I was envisioning her. He actually responded to me, slightly incredulous, stating that OF COURSE Daenerys has silver hair. He’d only written about it in every friggin paragraph of every chapter of hers.
Hyperbole aside, I was suitably embarrassed.
But then I thought about it. And I held my tongue rather than reply back what I really wanted: gosh, I’m sorry. It’s literally been 8 years since I’ve read a single thing about Daenerys. I’m sure a detail or two has slipped my mind in that time.
Four years ago he came out with a Feast of Crows with the promise that A Dance of Dragons would be just a few months away.
Two years ago was the last time he’s updated his webpage that shows what progress he’s made on the book.
I’m of the belief that ADoD, when (if) it comes out, will be the last book in the series.
Man, this thread makes for some depressing reading. I too am beginning to think that DOD is going to be the last book. I hope that he at least resolves the cliffhangers in FOC and gives the book some closure. The other hope is that the HBO people have put him under some kind of contractual agreement to at least give them a treatment for the remaining books. Presumably they are working under the assumption that the series will be a hit in which case they will need material for the last couple of seasons in a few years.