Game of Thrones Author Admits Pressure to Finish Books Affect Him

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Game of Thrones Author Admits Pressure to Finish Books Affect Him

George R.R. Martin says he's "given up" on answering when the A Song of Ice and Fire novels will be finished, and confirms the pressure from both HBO and fans gets under his skin.

Just last month, George R.R. Martin said that he won't change how he writes his A Song of Ice and Fire novels for impatient fans. Now, in a video interview, Martin admits that the pressure of both fans and HBO for him to finish the Game of Thrones books, do get under his skin and sometimes make it harder for him to buckle down and write.

Yes, to some extent it does, but when the writing is going well it doesn't matter. When I'm there and working, I just kind of fall through my computer screen and I forget the world, I forget deadlines, I forget the TV show, and the emails, and all of that stuff. It's just me and the characters and the world that I'm describing, and I'm writing a page at a time, and a scene at a time, and a word at a time.

Martin also talks about his obligation in finishing the books, and that he's given up on answering the question "when it (the books) will be done?" since whenever he gave a time frame before and it didn't pan out, some people assume he's doing it deliberately. Not only that, but there's even a crazy conspiracy theory among book fans that Martin has the books already finished and is just releasing it in a timely manner to maximize profit, which the author calls as "crazy."

Obligation is an odd word, I don't know if I would go with that word. I certainly feel a desire to finish the book. And it must be said that while I do get a lot of emails and mail of the type you're describing, there are also many, many that are supportive, and probably far more of people saying "take your time, I love your books, whenever you're ready I'll be here." Of course which is an attitude that I find far more pleasant than the "when will it be done?" I've actually given up answering the question "when will it be done?" In the early days, especially after the third book, because the fourth book took a really long time, and I kept being wrong. People said when will it be done, and I'd give an answer and it would not be done by then, I would run into some problem, or decide to rewrite, or I would change course. And once you give a date and then you miss that date, there's an element of the audience that thinks you're doing it deliberately. There are even some strange conspiracy theorists out there who are convinced that I finished the whole thing years ago but I'm just hiding the books in my cellar and releasing them in order to maximize something or other. There's a lot of craziness that goes on, but it's pressure, and the obligation is to the work itself. I'm telling a story, however many books you divide it into, three books, four books, seven books, which is what I'm presently going for, it's one story, as much as as Tolkein's Lord of the Rings is one story. It has a beginning, it has a lot of middle, and eventually it will have an end.

Martin isn't the only one bothered by book fans. Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark in Game of Thrones, confesses that she's "so sick" of snobby book readers. Let's hope Martin finishes The Winds of Winter soon. Otherwise, Season 5 of Game of Thrones might find itself deviating from the books a little too much. Have you heard other conspiracy theories as to why Martin hasn't finish all the books yet? What's the craziest one you've heard so far?

Source: New Mexico in Focus via Winter is Coming

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I think Neil Gaiman once told someone on his blog that "George R.R. Martin is not your bitch" and it's true. Regardless of if he finishes the series or not, there are plenty of other great books to read in the mean time. Go discover some great stuff!

Fek 'em. You owes them nothing. Vampiritic fans and greedy tv executives can do nothing but pout. Close the door on them and enjoy your day George.

I have always wondered why companies decide to make series/films based on works that are yet to be completed. Seems it would have a few disadvantages.

luvd1:
Fek 'em. You owes them nothing. Vampiritic fans and greedy tv executives can do nothing but pout. Close the door on them and enjoy your day George.

Call me crazy, but poor old George is pretty much choking on money right now thanks to those "vampiric fans and greedy tv executives", it kind of comes with the territory, so less white knighting would be in order me thinks.

As someone who's undertaken a few creative endeavors (not nearly to the scale of Martin's, mind you), I have to wonder... what is this propensity people have to assume that their favorite story, movie, whatever belongs to them and not the creator? Why do they think that they not only have the right, but the duty to badger the creator to "go faster", to alter the story to suit their whims?

News flash, people: IT DOESN'T HELP ANYTHING. You are not going to get what you want faster by pestering the creator. At best, they'll ignore you; at worst, you'll either get what you want (which will only harm the quality, because that's what rushing things does) or aggravate the creator enough to drive them off from what they were doing completely, and then you'll never get that thing you want.

But people are idiots, so this will only continue.

I'm not surprised, if I feel like I'm being badgered to do ANYTHING I feel less like doing it, can't imagine what it's like for him, and the sheer amount of pestering this guy must have to put up with, I wouldn't blame him if he decided not to finish at all and just told them all to go fuck themselves (obviously as a fan of the books I hope it doesn't come to that, but I would understand)

Welcome to being a normal person with deadlines and obligations.

Razhem:

luvd1:
Fek 'em. You owes them nothing. Vampiritic fans and greedy tv executives can do nothing but pout. Close the door on them and enjoy your day George.

Call me crazy, but poor old George is pretty much choking on money right now thanks to those "vampiric fans and greedy tv executives", it kind of comes with the territory, so less white knighting would be in order me thinks.

And what's he going to do with all that money? He became a best selling author later in life, and I don't think that exactly rakes in multi-millions and people were doing this complaining before the HBO show. The show itself probably brings him far more money, but when's he going to enjoy it? He's in the latter years of his life and has a huge obligation to finish his work. And for the show it can and possibly will go on without Martin, with people who just watch that being none the wiser.

Also for me this is less about 'white knighting', and more stop bloody harassing the man already you're only going to make the situation worse! Every angry email he receives or hurtful comment he comes across is another potential penny on the scale of him just saying 'fuck em all I'm giving up and enjoying retirement'.

Oh wah wah, I'm a millionaire author who has innumerable fans around the globe who adore my work so much that they vocalize it to me constantly, and the biggest show on TV is based on my book, giving my work more promotion than I ever could have asked for. I have achieved what every artists dreams of when creating their craft and I do is bitch and moan about how all my fans and the people literally giving me money to write actually expect me to get off my fat hairy ass and write every once in a while.

At his age he can drop dead at any moment so he needs to hurry up.

CorrectAndDone:
At his age he can drop dead at any moment so he needs to hurry up.

65 is old, but with modern medicine and technology, it's still young to die at 65. Not to mention it's things like that which can actually cause more stress and health problems. Just be calm and be patient, and it will eventually come out. Saying how he could "drop dead at any moment" just makes you sound like someone with no patience.

I say this: don't want the bitching, don't be a writer. It's just how the real world works; you're gonna get people with this kind of attitude due to how invested they've become in the world that you WANT them to be invested in. Whining about people is not going to fix anything and it's going to help get your book out faster.

luvd1:
Fek 'em. You owes them nothing. Vampiritic fans and greedy tv executives can do nothing but pout. Close the door on them and enjoy your day George.

It kinda contradicts his philosophy since he was always a very open person when it comes to communicating with fans.

Whatever suits him I guess, if he manages to finish those books I'm definitely going to buy them if not it doesn't matter there are tons of titles to read. I understand it must be difficult for him since he made a rather quick transition from a well-known writer representing a niche literary genre to a creator of one of the most popular stories in western pop culture.

endtherapture:
Welcome to being a normal person with deadlines and obligations.

That exactly. I should tell my boss to quit badgering me about my deadline, doesn't he know that badgering makes me less apt to want to do my work? It'll get done when it gets done!

Srsly, when did this ever work in the rest of the real world? Yo, professor, don't rush genius, your students will get their papers done when they get them done, man! Obligation is the right word, and yes, he has one.

Does Martin owe his fans? Hell yeah! The backlash might not be as big if there wasn't an apology at the end of book 4 stating that he went too long and the rest of the characters would be covered in book 5, which should be out in a year. It was seven years before it finally came out (with an insanely long hardback only time as well).

If he does wind up pulling a Robert Jordan, we can only hope that the series will be finished off by Brandon Sanderson. There is one author who never gives an excuse like, 'Vacationing in Spain'. His excuse is, 'This is my fourth book published this year, I'm getting back to that series this month and I should have the next book in bookstores by August of next year.'

Polarity27:

endtherapture:
Welcome to being a normal person with deadlines and obligations.

That exactly. I should tell my boss to quit badgering me about my deadline, doesn't he know that badgering makes me less apt to want to do my work? It'll get done when it gets done!

Srsly, when did this ever work in the rest of the real world? Yo, professor, don't rush genius, your students will get their papers done when they get them done, man! Obligation is the right word, and yes, he has one.

I dislike it when people say that George owes us nothing at all and he can not finish the books if he wants to. Of course, he has a right to do that, but everyone would have the right to be bat-shit angry at him if he gave up on it.

We have invested money and time in his series and if he couldn't be bothered to finish the series that has got him so rich and famous then I'd be pretty pissed off.

Call this entitled or what but yeah.

Polarity27:

endtherapture:
Welcome to being a normal person with deadlines and obligations.

That exactly. I should tell my boss to quit badgering me about my deadline, doesn't he know that badgering makes me less apt to want to do my work? It'll get done when it gets done!

Srsly, when did this ever work in the rest of the real world? Yo, professor, don't rush genius, your students will get their papers done when they get them done, man! Obligation is the right word, and yes, he has one.

Bollocks does he. You bought the books so far, that's as far as his obligation to you goes.

Polarity27:

endtherapture:
Welcome to being a normal person with deadlines and obligations.

That exactly. I should tell my boss to quit badgering me about my deadline, doesn't he know that badgering makes me less apt to want to do my work? It'll get done when it gets done!

Srsly, when did this ever work in the rest of the real world? Yo, professor, don't rush genius, your students will get their papers done when they get them done, man! Obligation is the right word, and yes, he has one.

Except, Martin is not employed by a boss who pays him to do his work.
He makes a product, new books, and sells them.

He alone decides when the product is done, when he wants to sell it, and IF he even wants to finish it.
He's not getting paid to write, he's getting paid for his books. No books, no paid. But no one, can force him to finish it.

Ranorak:

Polarity27:

endtherapture:
Welcome to being a normal person with deadlines and obligations.

That exactly. I should tell my boss to quit badgering me about my deadline, doesn't he know that badgering makes me less apt to want to do my work? It'll get done when it gets done!

Srsly, when did this ever work in the rest of the real world? Yo, professor, don't rush genius, your students will get their papers done when they get them done, man! Obligation is the right word, and yes, he has one.

Except, Martin is not employed by a boss who pays him to do his work.
He makes a product, new books, and sells them.

He alone decides when the product is done, when he wants to sell it, and IF he even wants to finish it.
He's not getting paid to write, he's getting paid for his books. No books, no paid. But no one, can force him to finish it.

Actually, no. He has a publisher and has signed contracts. If he doesn't produce by the deadline(s) outlined in the contract, the publisher probably won't do anything as they want him to stay with them, but lawsuits can and do happen. It's a job just like any other. However, he does have "star" power so he can pretty much finish when he wants to and the publisher is basically his bitch.

HBO is breathing down his neck too? Yeah, I guess I'd be getting pretty annoyed too.

Honestly, it should not take this long. I have read many quality novels from many quality authors who get a book out once a year or once every 2 years.

Everybody who works a normal job has deadlines they need to meet. It's a requirement of working. I would call GRRM lazy if days or weeks went by without him writing a single word in his book. His occupation is author, his task includes writing. If he isn't writing 3-5 days a week then he isn't doing his job.

I keep saying that fans is some of the worst kinds of people you can talk to online because a lot of them can be very harsh and inconsiderate.

Sniper Team 4:
HBO is breathing down his neck too? Yeah, I guess I'd be getting pretty annoyed too.

That's HBO's own damn fault for making the show before the books were done. There were five years between ASOS and AFFC, and six years between AFFC and ADWD. They knew what they were getting into and did it anyway. It's on their heads.

The conspiracy theory that I think has any traction, is that Martin doesn't know how to finish the story. He has given HBO the outline of how the series will finish, but he himself doesn't know how it will be done. Remember a while ago he stepped out of production on the Series 5? He is waiting to see what they do, so he can incorporate elements of the show in to the books.

gim73:
Does Martin owe his fans? Hell yeah! The backlash might not be as big if there wasn't an apology at the end of book 4 stating that he went too long and the rest of the characters would be covered in book 5, which should be out in a year. It was seven years before it finally came out (with an insanely long hardback only time as well).

If he does wind up pulling a Robert Jordan, we can only hope that the series will be finished off by Brandon Sanderson. There is one author who never gives an excuse like, 'Vacationing in Spain'. His excuse is, 'This is my fourth book published this year, I'm getting back to that series this month and I should have the next book in bookstores by August of next year.'

Well, mr Sanderson is a high quality writter, Mistborn blows out of the water game of thrones as far as I'm concerned.

Ranorak:

Polarity27:

endtherapture:
Welcome to being a normal person with deadlines and obligations.

That exactly. I should tell my boss to quit badgering me about my deadline, doesn't he know that badgering makes me less apt to want to do my work? It'll get done when it gets done!

Srsly, when did this ever work in the rest of the real world? Yo, professor, don't rush genius, your students will get their papers done when they get them done, man! Obligation is the right word, and yes, he has one.

Except, Martin is not employed by a boss who pays him to do his work.
He makes a product, new books, and sells them.

He alone decides when the product is done, when he wants to sell it, and IF he even wants to finish it.
He's not getting paid to write, he's getting paid for his books. No books, no paid. But no one, can force him to finish it.

That would be correct if he wasn't choking on royalties right now because everybody and his mother wants to use the license, he literally gets filthy rich by sitting on a chair, so lets not make it sound like the poor bloke is currently a hardliving writer with a dream.

The way that I see this is that if I started telling people a story, and then stopped part way through and made them wait years for the next installment I'd expect my audience to kind of pissed off, assuming that they were enjoying my story.

There are many people that seem to have become emotionally invested in the story that Martin is telling. This is a good thing, as it is exactly what I would have thought that a good story is supposed to do. There is a side effect to this, however. Rightly or wrongly, many of them are going to feel let down by the lengthy delays we are seeing here, regardless of how good the reasons for these delays are.

I can accept the argument that Martin doesn't actually have any obligation to his fans at all, but he still needs to live with the consequences of his actions. I'm not suggesting that he's deliberately dragging his feet, or that he isn't working on completing the story, but given the way people seem to have connected to it the reaction he is getting is the one that I would have expected.

Is this fair? No, but neither is it fair to expect your audience to ignore their emotional responses when that is exactly what you are trying to produce. 'Emotional responses' is probably not the right phrase, but I can't think of a better way of putting it.

I've always been less worried about the impatience of fans on GRRM than I have that exerted by publishers and, perhaps most of all, HBO. Fans, ranging from those with wild conspiracy theories to legitimate excitement to follow the story to its conclusion, are much more mundane than publishing empires and media behemoths that have some degree of control thanks to a legal partnership in one manner or another.

While I enjoy the HBO series, I feel the books are more enjoyable and far more expansive; I enjoy all the minutia and world building as much as I do the main plot points. I want the remaining story in the ASOIAF saga to come onto the page purely, exactly, what and how GRRM wants to tell it, uncompromising. If this means there will be more than 2 books to come, so be it! If this means it will take a few more years each, fine. If it turns out it takes 4 more novels of 2500 pages each to complete the saga, I'll be buying them! I don't want the story abridged or truncated in any way, especially at the behest of external influences.

I worry that publishers for instance will exert pressure as they did before with Volume 4 and 5, which should have been a single book if it wasn't for claims it would have been too long and wouldn't make the bean-counters happy on the shelf. Likewise, if they pressure for him to finish up in a total of exactly 7 books, combined with a page-number restriction, this will mean a shorter story. I should hope that by now GRRM's publishers should know that he's going to produce profitable gold no matter what and when he arrives with it, but I've read about the industry's foibles and hope they aren't going to pressure GRRM and end up with a lesser vision of the saga's end because of it.

HBO however is by far my biggest worry. This mammoth media empire swings money around and exerts control over the property in many ways. For instance, merchandising. For instance, before the TV show, GRRM's website sold a limited amount of official Westeros gear, including tshirts printed with coats-of-arms of Westeros' most prominent nobility. These are rare today (and fetch a considerable ebay price), because after the partnership with HBO, all these shirts become completely unavailable! Now, there is certainly some argument about the art quality between the book-era and HBO-era Westeros merch, but the HBO items are hobbled with marketing-drivel text, such as "HBO's Game of Thrones" being printed visibly on the shirts, and the house name being printed prominently nearby (ie Grayjoy, Stark etc..) which isn't done on the old versions. Now personally, I hate "geek culture merchandise" that combines an "in-universe" element with some external 'advertising talk", as clearly done with the HBO GoT gear. With this much control over merchandise for instance, I can figure they could put some pressure on GRRM regarding the books in a variety of ways. From "Hurry up and finish, we have a couple more seasons on TV and that's it. We want your final books to be on shelves around or before we end our show's run to maximize buzz", to "We don't want you coming up with a significantly different ending for the books or anything", there are many reasons HBO's desires could clash with GRRM writing exactly the story he wants.

Resisting the cries of fans who breach rudeness is one thing, and I'm glad GRRM will be doing so, but I hope he also has balls of Valyrian steel to resist the attempts of publishers or HBO to limit his vision, the time frame of his work, or anything else that would compromise the quality of the story's remainder. I and many other fans will continue to hope that when ASOIAF finally comes to a close, it will be without any limit and perfectly what the author intended.

Were it me, and I can be a cynical asshole when pushed by people who think I owe them anything, I would toss out some absolutely nerd-rage inducing crap whose writing style is a piss-poor emulation of the Twilight series, effectively killing off the entire book series followed by a hasty retirement and hermit life. In essence, the final "character" being killed would be the series itself... Actually that may happen anyway if people keep pestering GRRM.

I think Martin came up with Song of Ice and Fire (It isn't Game of Thrones) for himself as much as fans. I also almost wish that the books hadn't become famous before he finished them because fans have gone through those books with a fine tooth comb many times over and every little bit of foreshadowing that Martin has set up to pay off later (Particularly one really big one involving the north) has been discovered by snoops. Than there is the aspect of impossible expectations that fans. Plus there is the fact that martin has never been very consistant in publishing unlike say Rowling or Stephen King who are writing fiends and as famous as him in the public eye. I can understand why both people are frustrated but I don't accept the argument that Martin has no obligation to fans to get his books out. Beyond HBO itself I think Martin would be unjustifiable if he said tomorrow that he was done with the series. Once fandom reaches a certain critical mass where there are many other careers being made or destroyed by if Martin continues to gets his books out as well as the amount of hours people have poured into the books themselves it becomes a moral obligation to end the series fulfill his unspoken promise that every author makes when they start a book series. I mean movies don't just end in the 2nd act because the director couldn't work it out how to continue it and since no single book of GoT is a complete story that's the equivalent.

Ranorak:

Polarity27:

endtherapture:
Welcome to being a normal person with deadlines and obligations.

That exactly. I should tell my boss to quit badgering me about my deadline, doesn't he know that badgering makes me less apt to want to do my work? It'll get done when it gets done!

Srsly, when did this ever work in the rest of the real world? Yo, professor, don't rush genius, your students will get their papers done when they get them done, man! Obligation is the right word, and yes, he has one.

Except, Martin is not employed by a boss who pays him to do his work.
He makes a product, new books, and sells them.

He alone decides when the product is done, when he wants to sell it, and IF he even wants to finish it.
He's not getting paid to write, he's getting paid for his books. No books, no paid. But no one, can force him to finish it.

What Indomitable Sam said. If you have a publishing contract, it has deadlines. Lesser authors can and have been sued over missed deadlines, particularly where they've been paid an advance. Do you think he's the only one who matters here? The publishing house has to jiggle its budget based on what it expects to bring to market-- marketing/advertising aren't free and they can only recoup those costs if there's a book coming out of the printers at the proper time. HBO has a series that costs more to produce than the GDP of a small country on the line-- if they decide to cut bait and go forward with their own plot resolution and then GRRM starts churning out books, that's a problem. If they wait based on his overestimations of his own deliverables and he doesn't start producing, that's an even bigger problem. This trickles down, too. HBO takes a chance on very original, high-concept shows that networks won't touch because they've got big-hit moneymakers that allow them to finance it. Bestselling novels allow publishing houses to take more chances on might-be new authors. If "GoT" suddenly slips because of this, that means other shows that aren't greenlit because the budget isn't there. If the publishing house allocates $amt for marketing ASIOAF and ASIOAF doesn't come out, that's money they could have spent on other books whose authors would have made their deadlines and which might have made some money.

I didn't say he had an obligation to me, or to fans. But he does have an obligation to his publisher and to HBO, he didn't have to agree to sell his rights to the HBO series-- he agreed knowing that if it was a hit he'd be expected to speed it up, he said yes, and now he's whining about pressure. He's being massively unprofessional and I have no sympathy for him.

So I am a big fan of Song of Ice and Fire. And yet when I see supposed "fans" telling 65-year old person to do his job, while implicitly implying he is not allowed to croak until he does (after which, who cares), I feel so sick of these people that I actually hope that the series will cut of short for whatever reason. Just so they get their bloody comeuppance, I'd be ready to bear with not seeing the end.

I know that in the U.S. slavery is still very much alive, but in most civilized countries 65 is already the age of retirement. Sure, some people stay sprinkly well into their 70's, but static desktop work, with all the implications to the health of the worker? Yeah unless you exercise routinely, and a lot, that's about the limit for most people. And Martin isn't really picture of health to begin with.

kuolonen:
So I am a big fan of Song of Ice and Fire. And yet when I see supposed "fans" telling 65-year old person to do his job, while implicitly implying he is not allowed to croak until he does (after which, who cares), I feel so sick of these people that I actually hope that the series will cut of short for whatever reason. Just so they get their bloody comeuppance, I'd be ready to bear with not seeing the end.

I know that in the U.S. slavery is still very much alive, but in most civilized countries 65 is already the age of retirement. Sure, some people stay sprinkly well into their 70's, but static desktop work, with all the implications to the health of the worker? Yeah unless you exercise routinely, and a lot, that's about the limit for most people. And Martin isn't really picture of health to begin with.

Look, I'll be honest in saying I have at times bitched about the series not coming out quickly and do hope Martin doesn't die before it's finished. Is it selfish? Yeah, it is but I think any fan of any series they enjoy immensely would think the same thing. Besides, whole reason people are so scared is because of what happened with Robert Jordan and the Wheel of Time series which suffered from a slow release and the authors death before said series was done.

And trust me, I'm a Berserk fan...I know what it's like to suffer through a very slow release schedule and being left wandering what the hell the author is doing. Which is why I do sort of like Martin because, hey, at-least he tells us that shit comes up and that the book is still a ways off: If I get updated with what the hell is happening on the authors end, I tend to be more patient. Again, this is why Berserk is so frustrating as we have next to no idea what's with the delays with it.

People do have every right to be concerned, but last I checked martin didn't have any major health problems and given the release gap between books is only getting bigger the fear is a justified one. That said...given he has given HBO the ending and an outline of the series, i don't think we should be too worried about the series dying with him or anything.

Still, it is a bit spiteful to wish the series to come to a sudden close just because of people getting fearful of it not ending when the ending is so close and wanting to see more because they love it. (Unless you're talking about the guys that mail Martin with Death threats and the like and threaten him to hurry up...seriously, fuck those guys. They're giving us a bad name.)

I admit I can see both sides of this issue: It's definitely not an unfounded fear and given it's a quality series, I can understand the impatient desire to see more of it especially seeing as the release gap has increased between books. HOWEVER, given Martin has sort of kept us updated on stuff and he has also given HBO the ending i do think people should lay off him at-least a bit with asking for the next books release date and progress. Plus, as I mentioned before, fuck those guys that outright threaten him to finish it because they're assholes. As long as he tells me when "A cookbook of Ice and Fire" is released, I'll be a happy man xD

Also, on the subject of Martin's health, can someone give me a definitive answer: One party says he's doing fine and has no problems, now you mention he isn't quite in a good bill of health as we all thought. Which is it? I am confused about this.

One thing that always gets me thinking - this man has been writing those novels for many years. Yet, until they made a tv show about it, he was fine and didn't receive all that annoying excessive pressure from fans.

I find the whole Game Of Thrones deal is a very big example of the power of television vs books.

8bitOwl:
One thing that always gets me thinking - this man has been writing those novels for many years. Yet, until they made a tv show about it, he was fine and didn't receive all that annoying excessive pressure from fans.

I find the whole Game Of Thrones deal is a very big example of the power of television vs books.

Martin got plenty of fan pressure long before the TV-show began airing.

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