As fans gear up for the penultimate season of HBO's Game of Thrones, the author behind the A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels that serve as the show's source material has yet to complete the penultimate book in the series. While fans have accepted that the show will finish the Game of Thrones story long before the books, with the last novel, A Dance With Dragons, being published way back in 2011, many fans are clamoring for an update on The Winds of Winter and some glimmer of hope that they'll be able to read the conclusion to the series in its native format sometime in the next decade or two. It's in this volatile climate that Martin found himself clashing with his own fans on the internet last week.
It all started when Martin took to LiveJournal, a Russian blogging platform where he has written more than a Game of Thrones novel worth of words since he last published a Game of Thrones novel, to promote an update on his Wild Cards project in a post titled "Aces, Jokers, Artists:"
The Wild Cards reread continues over at Tor.com, with an insightful new post by Katie Rask about the many various styles of art in JOKERS WILD, and the meanings behind all of it.
Join the discussion at:
It wasn't long before one frustrated fan commented to complain about the frequency of updates on projects that are not Game of Thrones:
While I am sure there are wild card fans, I'm willing to bet 99% of your fans are for asoiaf. Using the popularity of that to promote wild cards to readers who dont care about it is annoying when you havent provided even a nugget of info about WoW in over a year. Fans are annoyed or angry because they love your work, I'm sure it's a burden but that's why you get the big bucks.
Maybe a 10:1 wild cards to asoiaf posts would be fair. Give us something George, we are starving. Just finished king killer chronicles and they were good, but the amazingness of asoiaf has made every other book just not as interesting.
Also, I am a die hard jets fan and will need something to keep me occupied this fall, we were pitiful on paper before we let 52 and 87 go, now we are 0-16 potential. WoW would make the fall a little more bearable.
While it is certainly true that SONG OF ICE AND FIRE has many more followers than WILD CARDS, I think your 99% to 1% is rather an exaggeration. Wild Cards is pretty popular as well, elsewise it would not have lasted for thirty years and twenty-three volumes (with four more in the pipeline).
If I post more about Wild Cards than Ice & Fire, it's because there is more to report — books coming out, being delivered, a new website, and so on. I do post about Ice & Fire and GAME OF THRONES whenever there is actual news to report. Do you really want or need weekly WoW posts all saying, "Still working on it, not done yet?" I know some writers make posts like, "Wrote three pages today," but that's never been my way. And when I tried doing posts like that, back when I was working on DANCE WITH DRAGONS, that just seemed to make people angry as well.
You say, "Give us something," but it seems to me I have… a number of sample chapters have been posted on my website, and I've read more of them at cons. It's never enough. Okay, fair 'nuff, the only thing I can give that will satisfy is the finished book, and that's what I'm trying to deliver.
I do agree with you about the Jets.
Another fan, William Gicking, offered Martin his support:
Hey George I know it's probably annoying for you sometimes, annoying is probably even an understatement, but it really is just a compliment that fans are that obsessed with your work that's it's constantly on their minds. Not that we should have the right to try to dictate what you post about on here obviously or that were entitled to a certain amount of updates or anything like that I'm just saying all these ASOIAF fiends(myself included) are a result of you writing some damn good books which is to say…it's kinda your fault that we exist in the first place.
Martin responded, going on the offensive again:
"… obsessed with my work," okay, sure, but…
1) obsession is never good, we all need a sense of proportion, and
2) it's all my work. Well, WILD CARDS is the work of forty plus people, but I am and always have been a huge part of it, as writer and editor and chief cook and bottle washer. Haviland Tuf is my work, Thousand Worlds is my work… my work includes Ice & Fire, but also a lot more.
A moderator from a forum dedicated to Martin's work, werthead, also responded in support of the author:
"Do you really want or need weekly WoW posts all saying, "Still working on it, not done yet?"
Tragically, after 12 years of moderating on the Westeros forum, it appears that the answer to this for many people is yes. In fact, there are literally people out there who assume if you go a week and don't mention ASoIaF but do mention football, they conclude that you haven't worked at all on ASoIaF for that week and spent it all watching football instead (I mean, is that even possible. How many games are there a week?).
I mean, it's a nice problem to have to have this interest in your work, but it's also plain weird to me. I do think most readers take it as read that you're continuing to work on TWoW even if you go more than a week without mentioning it, and it will be done when it is done.
Prompting yet another fan, t_and_a_85, to present another point of view, lamenting the despair that comes with losing hope that Martin will ever finish A Song of Ice and Fire:
That is a very simplistic conclusion. The fandom was allways supporting Mr. Martin, even after they knew that Winds won't come out before season six of GoT. But that has been 17 months from now. Since then, nothing has happened. Mr. Martin said that he is months from finishing it, but fans thought that he was speaking about months, not years. Sure, 20 months are still months, but obviously no one interpreted that that way. I think the main problem right now, is that most of the fans have lost their hope. Some morons unfortunatly articulate that hatefully on the internet. Others use their humor and sarcasm to deal with this. Many have just let it go by now. But nevertheless, it is not a secret by now, that the vast mojority of the fandom has lost every hope to ever see a finished work of Ice and Fire. I do not belong to them. But it is a fact now. And not all of them are jerks. Most of them still have big love for Mr. Martin. And they do not demand from Mr. Martin to write "every week", that he is "still working". But they want to know why the book is not out yet, when Mr. Martin originaly thought that the book may be finished within a few months back in 2015 (from his new year update in January 2016). It is nearly two years now. Not weeks. I think, your arguement is therefor way one-sided.
And earning a swift rebuke from Martin, who suggested it may be better to delete comments about The Winds of Winter on unrelated LiveJournal posts from now on:
The real pity here is that there is an argument at all.
Let me draw your attention to the fact that my original post, above, was about the Wild Card reread, and Katie Rast's real cool analysis of the artwork referenced in JOKERS WILD. That's what we should be talking about in these comments.
But no, someone brought up Ice & Fire, and instead of ignoring or deleting it, I answered. That's what happens whenever I address WINDS in any manner. Despite the fact that I have repeatedly asked my readers to STAY ON TOPIC in these comments sections, WINDS will inevitably take over any discussion in which I allow it to be referenced in any way. And then the arguments will begin.
I am better off deleting and ignoring. As this has proved once again.
Anyone have anything to say about the art in JOKERS WILD??
It was an interesting argument that offered insight into various perspectives on the ongoing debate debate and showed how Martin really is stuck in an unwinnable situation regarding progress on the Game of Thrones novels, with nothing short of a completed book good enough for complainers, yet a constant demand for updates. It provokes some sympathy for Martin's position, and perhaps will help some fans come to terms with the fact that The Winds of Winter will be completed, if it's completed, when it's completed.
The argument also probably took up a lot of valuable time that Martin could have otherwise spent finishing The Winds of Winter.
Fanboy Rampage was a blog by Graeme "Graham" McMillan dedicated to the funniest, most ludicrous and most inappropriate comic book back-and-forths online. McMillan has moved on now, becoming a proper journalist for the likes of The Hollywood Reporter and Wired but he gave permission to Bleeding Cool to revive his great creation.