Major GoT Death is the Reason Winds of Winter Keeps Getting Delayed
It seems to have been a character so integral to the story that Martin couldn't move forward without them.
George R.R. Martin is known not only as one of the greatest fantasy writers of our time, but also as a man whose creative process takes an incredibly long time. While the equally famous Brandon Sanderson, for example, prepares a writing plan for his books in advance and writes at least 3,000 words a day, Martin, by contrast, follows only waves of inspiration that may not be regular at all. He’s is also incredibly picky about his work, much of which involves editing and rewriting.
'George R.R. Martin is not your bitch,' Neil Gaiman once said on his blog. And yet, with all due respect to the author who gave us the incredibly captivating A Song of Ice and Fire saga, it's been a crazy 12 years since the last book in the series, A Dance with Dragons, was published.
Since then, Martin has continued to work on the forthcoming The Winds of Winter, and while he said just a year ago that most of the book was written, there's been no news of a tentative release date. What's the reason? According to his colleague and friend Diana Gabaldon, one reason may be that the author once stumped himself by killing off a major character.
Conversation between Gabaldon and Martin
Diana Gabaldon, author of the famous time-traveling novel series Outlander, whose television adaptation has been far more faithful to its source material and more enthusiastically received by book fans than Game of Thrones, is a longtime friend of Martin's. Along with novelist Gardner Dozois, Martin often edits anthologies that include many of Gabaldon's short stories and novellas.
During one of their lunch conversations (via the clip published by some redditor in 2018), Martin shared details with his friend about the writing process of The Winds of Winter.
'We're having this conversation, and I was asking him, how's it going? The newest book?' She asked Martin. 'And he said I'm having all kinds of trouble. He said, you ever killed somebody off that you later realized you knew you needed? And I said, no, George, that's never happened to me. We talked further, and he said, I just painted myself into a corner.'
Gabaldon, for her part, was far more optimistic, knowing that her colleague could handle a difficult creative impasse.
'But, I mean, you have an imagination, you know, this is your escape hat. Well, you know, you paint yourself into the corner. I said, what you do is you get a new bucket of paint, and you paint yourself back out and do the floor behind you. I mean, you can revise history — it's easy if you try.'
So what does this mean for the book?
It is not known exactly when this conversation took place, whether it was five or ten years ago. Martin may have long since overcome the problem he was facing and moved on. As we've already mentioned, Martin is very meticulous about plot and regularly rewrites story arcs from scratch, which affects the writing time of the book. And considering that the author is regularly distracted by other ventures, including writing other stories, editing, and consulting on House of the Dragon, 10 years working on a novel doesn't seem like such a long time.
As for the release of The Winds of Winter, considering Martin's words from 2022 that three quarters of the novel is already written, we can still hope that the new book will be released in early 2025 at the latest.
Only one question remains. Who was this mysterious important character Martin killed off? Hopefully it wasn't Tyrion!