George R.R. Martin has been staying busy during the quarantine. Photosource: HBO

By now we all seriously deserve some good news. 

This news is not it. It’s not particularly good, I would call it mediocre at best really. But still, let’s be clear we all deserve good news, and hopefully, at some point in the very near future, we will actually have some. 

In the meantime, let’s dive into this not bad news, and rejoice in its lukewarm safety. 

The news is that according to his blog post from June 23rd, the one and only champion of the fantasy genre, George R.R. Martin has made major progress on the next book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Now his legion of die-hard fans have been waiting for this next book, The Winds of Winter, for years now. Seriously years upon years upon years. The last book, A Dance of Dragon, was the fifth one out of an expected seven and came out in July 2011, meaning it has almost been a full decade since we got a new book in this series. 

Let’s not forget, before the HBO adaptation Game of Thrones spiraled into the incoherent misogynistic eyesore we remember it as today, it was the most widely known, most widely watched, television show in history. As we slowly watched this show degrade itself more and more as the seasons went on, our sole consolation was that George R.R. Martin would rectify this tragedy by producing another top-quality book in the ASOIAF series. 

Sadly, the show’s success not only led to the erosion of its own quality, but it also put a whole host of new responsibilities and opportunities on our favorite author that left him no time to write. Like Martin explained, how is he expected to stay home and work on the new book when companies are out here offering him free trips to Dubai? Just before the pandemic hit, Martin was scheduled to attend the 78th World Science Fiction Convention in Wellington, New Zealand, and while that event has moved online this year, Martin says that he hopes to attend the convention in person next year and that The Winds of Winter will hopefully be ready by then. 

The very slight silver lining of this whole quarantine debacle we’re living through is that he’s actually been able to sit down and write, undisturbed and undistracted in who knows how long. Living in that age-old writer stereotype, Martin literally isolated himself in a cabin in the woods and we will gladly forgive the cliche because he’s actually been able to finish multiple chapters of the book. In his post, Martin specifically talks about working on the chapters concerning Cersei, Tyrion, Arya, Asha, Ser Barristan, Areo Hotah, and he mentioned dropping in and doing some work on Braavos soon. 

However, even if you just heard one of your favorite characters mentioned, I would hold off on the celebrations right now. As Martin has made dead clear, the book is still far from done, he’s warned us it’s going to be a “huge book.” Since his other books are a thousand pages or more, who knows how long this one will end up being. 

When Martin first started the series over twenty years ago, he was averaging over one hundred and fifty pages of manuscript in a month, which is a phenomenal rate for any writer and one he is telling us he no longer has in him. Which is fair, who is as creative and productive as they were twenty years ago? Not to mention the fact that Martin is still committed to other projects including The House of Dragons, the Wild Cards tv project, and being a producer on tv production of Nnedi Okorafor’s, Who Fears Death, among other productions. All of which shows some serious entertainment promise we wouldn’t want to miss out on either. 

So, as patient as we have been, as hard as George R.R. Martin has been working, we are still in a waiting game for The Winds of Winter for the foreseeable future. But as we bunker down and try our best to fight off the plague, we can still will ourselves to live with the tepid promise that The Winds of Winter could potentially be here soon and maybe if we are crazy lucky and if there is any deity feel at all sympathetic our plight, we may actually get to use our time in quarantine to devour his new book the second it comes out with no disruptions. I’ll admit it’s a slim hope but it’s as close to good news as we’re going to get for the moment. Let’s just take it as a win for now.