The eternal question for A Song of Ice and Fire fans is “When is the book coming out?” This time around we’re waiting for George R.R. Martin’s ‘Son of Kong’, The Winds of Winter. Every other month there is a new rumor about a publication date for the long-awaited book. The latest rumored date to be shot down was October 2015. Guest feature writer BryndenBFish takes a thorough look at Martin’s work on the series, and makes a qualitative assessment on his progress, predicting the best- and the worst-case scenarios for when we can expect to see The Winds of Winter on bookshelves. -Sue the Fury
Caveat Lector: This post contains spoilers for all five published A Song of Ice and Fire novels as well as spoilers for the unpublished sixth novel of A Song of Ice and Fire
Predicting when The Winds of Winter will come out is probably the most pressing issue for fans of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. The most palpable fear among book-fans is that the TV series will pass the published A Song of Ice and Fire material at the end of A Dance with Dragons and move into uncharted territory spoiling some of the broad plot points and endings of the series.
Meanwhile, recent remarks by George R.R. Martin on his “NotABlog” indicate that he is not planning to attend the San Diego Comic Con or World Fantasy Convention to focus on The Winds of Winter. But in the same “NotABlog” post, GRRM left the door open to attending both conventions if he can complete and deliver The Winds of Winter before both conventions.
As such, fans have thought this was an indication that George R.R. Martin is done or on the home-stretch of The Winds of Winter. But is it? Do we know how far GRRM is in writing The Winds of Winter?
Fans guessing wildly at when Martin will release his long-anticipated sixth novel is a bit of a cottage industry in the A Song of Ice and Fire fandom. Even some professionals like Walt Hickey of FiveThirtyEight have done some statistical analysis and prediction for when The Winds of Winter will come out. Other professionals have used Bayesian Principles to try to predict when The Winds of Winter will be released. I am, on the other hand, going to give my best SWAG on it.
SWAG in this instance is not being used in the popular sense of the word. Instead, I’m using it from the old military context as a Scientific Wild-Ass Guess. Wikipedia defines a scientific wild ass guess as “…American slang meaning a rough estimate made by an expert in the field, based on experience and intuition. It is similar to the slang word guesstimate.”
Am I an expert on GRRM’s writing, progress, etc? No, but I’ve studied it some, and in doing so, I think we can get a range or a ballpark figure on how many pages GRRM has written for The Winds of Winter. How? Well, I think we can reasonably look at one year’s worth of progress for The Winds of Winter (2012-2013) to see how many pages GRRM wrote for The Winds of Winter in that time period as well as cross-analyze the progress in this 14-month timeframe to how fast GRRM wrote A Dance with Dragons each year from 2008-2010.
I also want to reiterate that I’m not an expert. All I can try to make what I hope is educated guesses or rather scientific wild-ass guesses at George’s progress using the little that we know and then make 3 quantitative-driven SWAGs on where George is at in writing The Winds of Winter and the question on every reader’s mind: when he will complete the book and conclude with a qualitative assessment and my own personal SWAG.
Over on Westeros.Org, Adam Whitehead, personal friend of GRRM and someone who has studied GRRM’s writing processes nicely laid out how GRRM writes ASOIAF. I highly recommend reading the whole comment, but in its bare bones, GRRM has his writing in generally 3 stages (copying the below from Adam’s post on Westeros):
- Partials/Fragments: Individual chunks which GRRM seems to write when ideas take hold before he can lose them, and are then expanded into chapters (or retrofitted into existing ones) later on.
- Drafts: Chapters which are more or less written to completion, but in rough form perhaps lacking fleshed-out description or really strong dialogue. This is material which needs to be reworked into a final form.
- Finalized: Chapters that have not only been completed, polished and editing by George himself, but have been vetted and edited by his editor Anne Groell as well. Finalized chapters – in theory – are ready to go into the final book without any further work, bar fixing typos.
Now, here’s the important part of all the above, GRRM only includes finalized material in his overall page count. So, if (and it’s been awhile since this has happened), GRRM gives a total number of pages he’s completed for The Winds of Winter, he only includes finalized pages in his page-count.
Now that we have our terms in place and hopefully know what they mean, let’s move onto what we actually know about The Winds of Winter.
Everything We Know About The Winds of Winter’s Progress
GRRM estimates that the book will be about 1500 manuscript pages in total — similar in size to A Storm of Swords and A Dance with Dragons. With that in mind, let’s caveat! Before we get started, the first thing to know is that we haven’t had any indication of quantitative progress since March 2013 at the Season 3 premiere of Game of Thrones. That said, what was said between 2010-2013 on The Winds of Winter’s progress is important in SWAG’ing our The Winds of Winter estimate.
In mid-2010 while feverishly writing A Dance with Dragons, GRRM announced that he cut a Damphair chapter from A Dance with Dragons to The Winds of Winter. In that post, he stated that he now had 100 pages now written for The Winds of Winter. Which chapters you might ask? well, GRRM stated them in a different post. They were:
- Arianne I & II (with a 3rd Arianne chapter or possibly a Jon Connington Winds chapter in draft or partial format)
- Arya (Likely Mercy)
- Aeron (Damphair)
Also at some point in this time period, George R.R. Martin finished a Theon The Winds of Winter chapter as he ended up releasing it as an official sample on his website in December 2011 (Before he started writing new material for The Winds of Winter).
And in March 2011 (just before A Dance with Dragons was published) GRRM retained 3 chapters from the final manuscript of A Dance with Dragons for The Winds of Winter. My guesses on the chapters cut at this time are the opening chapters from the Battle of Fire in Meereen: Barristan I, Tyrion I & Victarion I. The reasons being is that GRRM read the Tyrion chapter at Eastercon in April 2012 and Victarion chapter at TIFF Bell Lightbox in March 2012 and reported at Boskone in February 2013 that the Barristan sample chapters he read were “new to us, but not to him.” Additionally, George’s editor Anne Groell talked about cutting two sequences from A Dance with Dragons to The Winds of Winter — one sequence was one that George R.R. Martin removed and the other was one that Anne Groell lobbied to have removed. This likely refers to the Battle in the Ice and the Battle of Fire. And this comment by Feldman10 on reddit leads me to believe that the Battle of Ice was cut 1st by George and the Battle of Fire was cut last by Anne Groell.
So, with 5 chapters (100 MS pages) cut by mid-2010 and 3 more chapters (~50 MS pages) retained from publication in March 2011, we come to a roundabout figure of ~150 finalized manuscript pages that GRRM cut from A Dance with Dragons to The Winds of Winter.
Now, we know that GRRM took a considerable amount of time to conduct touring for ADWD after its publication. In fact, we know for a certainty that GRRM did not actually plan to start writing The Winds of Winter until January 2012. The next thing we know is that GRRM reported that he had about 200 completed pages and 200 in very rough state to a Spanish newspaper that by July 2012 (rough translation)
The next volume in the penultimate series will be called Winds of Winter and Martin has admitted that he has written 400 pages, 200 of which still has to be revised. – Adria’s News 07/2012
So, what does that say exactly? How do we parse this? I think GRRM had a grand total of 200 finalized manuscript pages of The Winds of Winter completed by July 2012. In the 7 months between January 2012 and July 2012, he successfully edited and finalized some 50 new manuscript pages (~3 chapters) of The Winds of Winter. (SWAG’ing again: Barristan II, Tyrion II and an unknown 3rd chapter, perhaps the Prologue that will feature Talis… uh, Jeyne Westerling in it.)
Next up, we have GRRM’s editor Anne Groell’s May 2014 Suvudu interview where she stated that GRRM sent her a 168 manuscript page partial in February 2013 to receive a contracted payment. This was the 1st batch of manuscript pages that GRRM sent to his editors since A Dance with Dragons. Parsing again, what I think is going on here is that GRRM finalized an additional 118 manuscript pages from the 200 pages of very rough material, added the 50 finalized pages he mentioned in July 2012 and sent these manuscript pages to Anne Groell.
Finally, the last thing that George R.R. Martin said about his progress for The Winds of Winter was at the HBO Season 3 Premiere in March 2013. There, Martin told an interviewer that he was “maybe about a quarter of the way done.” Given that a quarter of 1500 manuscript pages is about 375 pages, this makes sense if GRRM had 318 manuscript pages complete (168 pages to his editor in a month prior and 150 pages previously finalized from A Dance with Dragons). The small mismatch in numbers probably derives from both George’s on-the-spot guess at his progress or perhaps he was able to finalize another 50-odd pages before the premier.
And that’s really the last quantitative thing that George has said about The Winds of Winter. He’s made qualitative statements that he’s not had to do as much re-writing for The Winds of Winter as A Feast for Crows or A Dance with Dragons. But otherwise, the very last thing George said about The Winds of Winter was that he’s maybe at 375 manuscript pages out of a 1500 manuscript page book.
The A Dance with Dragons Manuscript Page Count
George R.R. Martin wrote A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords fairly quickly. He started writing in 1991 but gave up to focus on his novel Avalon. But he started writing the books again in 1994 and submitted a 200 manuscript page partial to his editors. Between 1994 and 2000, GRRM wrote 3793 manuscript pages, averaging out to 632 manuscript pages per year.
However, his next novel A Feast for Crows was incredibly problematic due in part to his abandonment of the so-called five-year gap (Martin originally planned his next novel to take place 5 years after the end of events from A Storm of Swords) and other issues with character and plot structure. Eventually Martin split the book into two books resulting in A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons. Both books proved hugely troublesome for Martin as he ended up re-writing several times. He published A Feast for Crows in 2005, but A Dance with Dragons was not published until 2011.
Just before George R.R. Martin finished A Dance with Dragons, he published a really fun blog entry called “Talking About Dance.” In it, he talked extensively about his writing processes, how A Dance with Dragons was written, the division of material back in 2005 and other really interesting things. But for our purposes, the most important section is the page count year to year, and George was even more helpful and added months when he sent his material into his editors. This is instructive for us as we deconstruct page counts, and I believe it provides some surprising insight (which might not be so surprising after I reveal a little more).
For starters, let’s delve into the total page count of A Dance with Dragons. Near the end of the book, the page count was creeping up towards 1700 manuscript pages before cuts to The Winds of Winter were made along with regular good old fashioned editing. The final page count was 1510 manuscript pages. But after cutting 50 additional pages to The Winds of Winter and editing out an additional 80 pages of material. So that’s our baseline. But to get to 1510 manuscript pages, George submitted partial manuscripts to his editors on a semi-regular basis. Here’s his report:
- January 2006: 542 Manuscript pages cut from A Feast for Crows to A Dance with Dragons
- October 2007: 472 Manuscript pages edited down from the 542 batch
- March 2008: 596 Manuscript Pages
- May 2008: 684 Manuscript Pages
- December 2008: 774 Manuscript Pages
- September 2009: 998 Manuscript Pages
- January 2010: 1038 Manuscript Pages
- June 2010: 1028 Manuscript Pages (But remember, he cut 100 pages in June 2010 to TWOW)
- August 2010: 1332 Manuscript Pages
- December 2010: 1412 Manuscript Pages
- March 2011: 1571 Manuscript Pages
Given that George R.R. Martin edited 542 pages down to 472 over the course of 22 months, we can’t really use that data. Instead our data points lie in October 2007 onwards. We can determine how quickly Martin was submitting finalized chapters to his editors by his page counts. Here are some graphs to help out:
So, let’s average these out from 2008-2010. (Since they’re the only complete years we have enough data)
- 2008-2009: 252 new manuscript pages
- 2009-2010: 234 new manuscript pages
- 2010-2011: 374 new manuscript pages
And now, let’s represent it visually, shall we?
The things that jump out are that George went through some really slow spots early in writing A Dance with Dragons, but the pace quickened the most in 2010 where GRRM went from 1038 manuscript pages to 1412 manuscript pages. Why did this happen? Well, one of the things that George says in the blog post is:
The page counts given in what follows refer only to COMPLETE CHAPTERS in final draft form… or what I thought was “complete” and “final” at that time. In each case, I had many pages of additional chapters roughed out or partially written, but those pages were not included in my count.
So, likely portions of the book that were in draft/partial form earlier were finalized and placed into the manuscript partials. So, the takeaway to this data dump is that closer the publication date, the higher the number of new completed pages. In fact, as far as I can tell the total number of new completed manuscript pages of A Dance with Dragons in 2010 (The year before A Dance with Dragons was completed and the editing process started) was 374.
A Quantitative SWAG on The Winds of Winter
A Dance with Dragons is instructive for us as we conclude with trying to figure out where George R.R. Martin is in the process of writing The Winds of Winter. If we start at the baseline that George has approximately 375 manuscript pages of The Winds of Winter completed by March 2013, interesting statistical trends emerge. Here’s (yet another) chart:
So, basically, George R.R. Martin wrote about 225 new manuscript pages between January 2012 and March 2013, averaging out to 17 new manuscript pages per month or 204 new manuscript pages per year.
Here’s what I’ll call the Super Pessimistic Prediction: If The Winds of Winter will be 1500 manuscript pages and George was at 375 manuscript pages, and he keeps his 204 new manuscript pages/year pace for 2012 going, we can suppose that George currently has ~783 manuscript pages of The Winds of Winter currently complete with an expected completion date of early-to-mid 2019.
However, I don’t believe this is the case. If we recall the study of A Dance with Dragons, we can see higher new manuscript pages as publication date approaches. (Again, we theorized that this came as a result of drafts/partials become finalized/completed manuscript pages.) And we can even see a little bit of this trend in The Winds of Winter from July 2012 to March 2013.
At the very height of optimism, George R.R. Martin would be able to write at his incredible 632 manuscript pages/year pace, but absolutely no one, including George, believes that this is happening or will happen. So, here’s the height of optimism data point: If George was able to write at his 2010 height and complete 374 new manuscript pages, he’d be at ~1200 total finalized manuscript pages by March 2015 with an expected completion date of around January-February 2016.
This is highly optimistic as it far and above exceeds George’s Winds 2012-2013 writing speed, but again, George R.R. Martin tends to complete higher amounts of new manuscript pages the closer he gets to publication.
A Qualitative SWAG on The Winds of Winter
I have attempted to measure data solely, but I don’t believe that there is enough data to really determine anything specific. George’s comments on The Winds of Winter’s progress have been scant, but he has said some choice things about it:
- On the plus side, he’s had to do less re-writing for The Winds of Winter than for A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons.
- Also in the positive column, GRRM has eliminated most side projects to focus on The Winds of Winter including (tragically) the next Dunk and Egg
- On the downside, GRRM reported that his writing pace remains as slow as ever when he submitted the last of his writing for The World of Ice and Fire.
- He told someone in the comment section that “premature celebration is always a bad idea.”
- Though fans celebrated when he stated that he reserves the right to change his mind about attending SDCC and The World Fantasy Convention if he completes and submits The Winds of Winter, the context is that he doesn’t expect to attend either, thus relatively bad news.
- Finally, in the past, George R.R. Martin opted not to attend Worldcon to finish A Dance with Dragons… in 2007.
So, does this say anything about The Winds of Winter. Well, it’s not done. I’m not so sure it’s that close to being done either. I don’t want to take the route of thinking that George is less than halfway done The Winds of Winter, but I have sincere doubts that he’s down the home-stretch as well.
If you cornered me, put a gun to my head and told me to tell you how many completed manuscript pages are done for The Winds of Winter, I’d probably say that George is just north of 1000 manuscript pages with an expected completion date of late 2016 to early 2017. I think the average pace of 287 manuscript pages/year that George wrote between 2008 and 2010 is probably a good data point. If George had 1350 pages to write from the end of A Dance with Dragons, 287 average manuscript pages per year would have George finishing The Winds of Winter in early 2017. Here’s my last chart.
Of course, even if George R.R. Martin finishes The Winds of Winter by late 2016, early 2017, the book would still need to go through the editing process. The fastest editing of any of the books was A Dance with Dragons which was edited between May and July 2011. So, I guess the question for me is whether The Winds of Winter will be released before season 7 of the show.
But I hope that my moderate pessimism is proved wrong and that George has been able to write The Winds of Winter at a faster pace than any of the modeling that I’ve shown. In that scenario, the show won’t spoil The Winds of Winter, but A Dream of Spring remains fair game.
BryndenBFish is the creator of the Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire Blog, a blog dedicated to political and military analysis of A Song of Ice and Fire. He can be found at twitter as @WarsofASOIAF or tumblr as BryndenBFish.
I am a huge fan of Brynden, but I think that he does not give the right importance to the fact that Winds is far easier to write than ADWD. Less rewrites, no Meereense knot, no characters separated in two books. Characters coming together, no new POVs, in fact POVs eliminated.
That’s why I think he is closer of the Super Optimistic data. Finishing in March 2015 is difficult, but finishing in November and publishing it in March’16 seems likely.
I think he acknowledges in the post that TWOW is easier. But also that GRRM is still writing slowly from what we can tell. Also from GRRM’s own words, he’s a slow writer and not getting faster as he gets older. But we’d all prefer the optimistic guesses.
I’m hoping they get it out between season 5 and season 6. That would be good timing.
What’s hilarious is that as a child, like 4 years old, I honestly thought books were written from start to finish, just as they are read (sort of like a news transcript, I guess).
But gradually I learned about the concept of “outlines”, “rough drafts”, etc.
It’s a lot more difficult to measure how “done” a book is when it really goes through draft revisions.
It’s amazing that…some people can rewatch the TV show for hours, we have endless talking head debate on social media video by people who have no idea what they’re talking about…..yet none of them takes 5 minutes to think “wow, Martin isn’t just writing this in order from start to finish but is revising chapters he already wrote according to an outline”….some people….I mean, the ones who truly sit down, casually thumb through a book in a weekend, not really paying attention, and then go “oh man, I have to wait another year for the next one?” — THAT BOOK TOOK FIVE YEARS TO WRITE. Here’s a suggestion; why not re-read it a *second* time while you’re waiting, but *this* time attentively. They always miss something.
Now I’m depressed. I was thinking he’d finish writing late this year but your thorough analysis has changed my mind and now I’m going to start rereading the books again out of sadness
2017 sounds about right. His publishers would want ro make money off the TV show and the book will bw timed either to the beginning or the ending of S7. The book will be rushed to publication just like ADWD was, probably with the same outcome.
Javi from Los Siete Reinos,
Not to mention that writing the conclusions of stories is far easier than the middle chapters. Hes had the end game in his head for decades but AFFC and ADWD was rewritten work that was never really planned. He basically invented new scenarios.
I’ve been saying 2017 for a while so it’s nice, but sad to think all the charts and the really well done analysis validates what I’ve been thinking. I’m rereading the series now (and lost track how many times I have done this) and I have a feeling there will be a couple of more rereads in there before we get to see TWoW.
Martin wanted to finish Winds last year.
Maybe this year?
Honestly if he was nearly done I think he would have been more optimistic in those posts about going to conventions, and I think he’d be planning to go to them since they are major cons that he loves.
OT: One day I swear I will post a comment that is exactly relevant to what’s being discussed in that particular thread, but today, as usual, is not that day. Nice SWAGing tho’ some serious hard work gone into your article Mr Fish! *nods appreciatively*
Apologies if old news but there was a brief interview with Toby Sebastian (Trystane Martell) in the London Evening Standard magazine last friday http://www.standard.co.uk/showbiz/celebrity-news/go-westeros-meet-game-of-thrones-new-player-toby-sebastian-10119623.html The edition was a fashion special so it was basically him modelling clothes and saying a bit about himself. Most of the (fairly limited) GoT stuff is the interviewer explaining to readers who TS’s character is and how he fits into the story. Apart from saying he can’t give any spoilers, the only bits which may be relevant to S5 (rather than just general background stuff like he lived in Andalusia (southern Spain) which was useful for the accent) was
No idea if it’s useful/relevant/anyone even cares, but there you go….
I also belive in 2017 for TWOW. Maybe before S7….
I’d like to believe he wants us to read who Jon Snow’s mother is before it airs on TV, but I don’t get that indication from him at all when I read his comments about spoilers/the show in-general.
That being said, I honestly think the book will be out around this time next year, if not a day before the show airs just so we can read it before it’s shown on TV. I don’t know how they can do it proper justice since they went the route of zero build-up. I feel like if they showed what was in the books it would be obvious, but they also have really done nothing to foster the question on the show in my opinion.
Oh well, either way I can’t not watch, but if he doesn’t get the book out before the show spoils what he refers to as the central mystery in the books, I’ll be pretty disappointed.
An essay by BryndenBFish at WOTW! Worlds colliding! This is awesome 😉
I think it’ll be published sometime next year. I see no reason short of traumatic or sudden health problems for why it would be 2019. Or even anything past 2016.
By his own admission the worst is over (Feast/Dance plot knots), and if GRRM himself is feeling optimistic about it, then that’s a good sign indeed.
“Plus, I’m out of titles. All I’ve got left are ‘A Whisper of Yells’ or ‘A Bunch of Clocks.’ So I could use some help here.” — GRRM, Saturday Night Live (as played by Bobby Moynihan)
2017 will be too late for the publishers to really “make money” off the TV show with TWOW, seeing as it will be well-known by then that Season 6 will have spoiled whatever parts of it that they have adapted. The publishers are now all-but-guaranteed to miss on the peak financial returns the show could have brought them.
Sue the Fury,
Didn’t realize that the World Fantasy Convention was a major convention. He doesn’t attend that con regularly and may not have been there since 2007 anyway. Additionally, Martin has stated his preference for the “traditional” SF cons over the media-centric ComiCon.
You are making it sound like he is making a huge sacrifice. He is not.
I personally think the book will be published in 2016, but not before season 6 airs (which is, I suppose, not all that different from it being published in 2017, for our purposes; the ultimate indignity would be the book coming out in 2017 after the show was finished).
What worries me the most right now is how D&D are going to handle the information that George gave them about how he plans to end the story, and since starting in S5 we are not going to really know what is George material and whats from D&D and i’m not the biggest fan of the new material that they made for the show, I just feel that seeing the show could affect my expectation of TWOW and ADOS. Since I begin my journey in ASOIAF with the books I will like to end it in the same way, and for me I think the best option is to quit the show
Sue the Fury,
It didn’t even cross my mind that TWOW could be released after April 2016. I just assumed Season 6 would be, by a matter of months, the last to be spoilable by the books instead of the other way around, and that Season 7 would spoil ADOS. But, yeah, it’s likely that TWOW isn’t released within a year, which would mean Season 6 will definitely spoil TWOW.
That’s not to mention the casting and filming news and leaks, behind the scenes footage and trailers that will arrive waaaay before April 2016. Even if TWOW is released before Season 6 airs, by then we will know a fair bit about it from what we will be able to glance from filming, casting and promos.
the silent sister,
They’ll handle the information by using it. They’ve said it again and again (in last night’s premiere, for example.)
If your reason for not liking D&D’s inventions is that they are bad inventions, not “oh, they changed it, so I don’t like it”, presumably you’ll be able to spot what belongs to GRRM and what’s purely D&D with no problem whatsoever.
Of course, most book readers will handle it like adults; either they’ll quit the show or watch it and accept it as what it is. However, I’m sure the brain of book purists will melt trying to decipher if they are supposed to like something or not, since they can’t be sure if it’s part of GRRM’s telling or an invention for the show. Eh, I admit my perverse brain will enjoy that, to be honest, especially when TWOW does come out. Then, we’ll hear a lot of rationalizations along the lines of “oh, well, you see, in the book it does make sense.” It’ll be fun.
I am actually an optimist about TWOW’s release. I think we’ll get it in the first half of 2016. The exact date depends on when the marketing arm of GURM Inc. believes they can capitalize most on the buzz generated by the show. They’ll slap together whatever Martin has bothered to turn in at that point, wave a copy at Anne Groell’s door once for editing and shove it into production. Just like ADWD.
I’ve always been optimistic about The Winds of Winter. Maybe 2016 isn’t thY bad of a stretch…
To be honest unless you’re an almost literal hermit, I find it hard to believe it will be possible not to have it spoiled because of how huge of a cultural phenom it’s become. Whether it’s a news ad talking about the shocking reveal of last night’s episode, to YouTube/Twitch/Reddit comments of people just trying to spoil it. These are just a couple of the online options, this doesn’t count the possible countless discussions had in public etc.
I’d rather watch the show and spoil the books that way, than have some retarded Snape kills Dumbledore me in the comment section of a YouTube video on how Gordon Ramsay makes french toast.
Personally I’m expecting the book in mid-late 2016
WoW should be easier to write, there was a flurry of activity, a relative lull as the players/actors position throughout AFfC and ADwD (positioning books, positioning typically takes up a lot of focus/energy for little outwardly visible output) and now we are in the home stretch and things should move quite quickly as far as the action is concerned
One issue is there are so many fine issues to iron out so unless several plot points are dealth with in one event
I think you’re underestimating how easily these things can be ignored. GoT is not as big as you’d like to think, and if missing a couple shitty SNL or Youtube videos is the price I have to pay, then I’m down.
If the book isn’t out before S6, then I’m adding myself to the list of people who’s last season will be 5.
In a way it will be nice to have many amongst the most “ardent” book readers quit the show. A less annoying fandom is a happier fandom.
My guess: TWOW will appear a few months before the premiere of S7 (maybe as early as Dec 2016).
I think that it has to be published before the show finishes, especially if the publisher wants to capitalize on the buzz surrounding the end of story on TV.
I’m still crossing my fingers for the optimistic take..( c’mon 2016 !)
Being a fan who is roughly comtemporary with George, I feel time marching with a heavy tread.. I’m not so churlish or rude as to worry if he will live to finish his saga (good writing takes time).. No, my concern is will I live to read it ? 😀
Yeah, but conversely I worry about the casual “Thinks Emilia Clarke plays a character named Khaleesi” viewers.
Guys, I’m sorry but whoever thinks you can quantify Mr. Martin’s art with some kind of mathematical science formula is just brainless.
I think you first have to find out what “science” and “art” mean in this question. The question is not, is math used in science or art, but is it AN art or A science. The terms you’re dealing with are used in different ways, and your first need is to define them carefully. If you were asked this question by a human, ask what they mean by the terms; if it came from a book, ask another book (a dictionary) for details.
In my view of this question, the definition of “a science” from my dictionary that best fits our needs would be “a department of systematized knowledge as an object of study”; this doesn’t necessarily have to be, as another definition says, “knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws esp. as obtained and tested through scientific method.” That is, the mere fact that math is an orderly study of something makes it a science. It is different from natural sciences, however, in that we determine truth by proof rather than by observation and experiment. So it doesn’t exactly follow the scientific method, but it’s similar.
On the other hand, the first definition my dictionary gives for “an art” is “skill in performance acquired by experience, study, or observation,” and another is “a system of rules or methods of performing particular actions.” The aesthetic aspect of “art” is only one of many definitions. Math (even apart from pictures) is often called beautiful by those who know it well; but that’s not what I would mean in calling it an art. Rather, it is an art because it involves skill.
The other thing you have to think about is, what is math? It’s not just arithmetic, but a whole set of different fields in which we discover and prove theorems, use them to invent methods of calculation or construction, and ask new questions about completely imaginary objects. School students often miss the full extent of math, and get too small a view of it.
Math cannot be used to explain art or schedule it.
You’ll need to make your own study of definitions, choose how you want to interpret the terms, and then learn what you can about what math is, in order to come up with your own opinion, but in the end, you need to realize you’re starting from incorrect assumptions and faulty biases.
trystane is taking arianne’s role confirmed….even wearing her clothes ugh D&D what are u doing
I remember an article after season 3 where David Beneoff says that he felt Grrm would have an easier time finishing the series as POV characters die or move together. Food for thought
Cumsprite has the right idea – the book will be published before it’s finished – just like ADwD was kicked through the door a year before George was ready for it. Expect a 500 page TWoW : Volume 1 about this time next year.
I’m not so sure about your view. Even if you ignore Youtube videos, you hear people say these things in everyday life, even in the more obscure locations. Of course, you won’t know every detail e.g. something like what happens to Brienne, but you will for the Dany’s, Tyrion’s etc.
I look forward to reading the books, but I won’t rush to buy them if they are shown on GoT first; I will wait until they are reduced in price.
I just think the risk is too great personally. I’d rather be spoiled by the show than some asshole doing it on purpose or accident. Up to this season the show has only gotten more viewers and more popular. Not to mention you’d have to start around this time next year and wait, what, another 2 (yeah right) to 6/7 years probably for the last book? Too long to avoid everything asoiaf related in my opinion, perhaps I’m wrong, if you’re going to try best of luck.
Javi from Los Siete Reinos,
I don’t know how anyone can be a fan of someone so openly condescending. Brynden is a snob.
I know that Linda will stop watching the show, so that in itself will make this fandom 1000 times more positive.
Oh it’s the meereenese blot guy! he’s cool
Anyway, do you ever wonder what it would be like if it was ADWD part 1 and ADWD part 2 with the five year gap like he planned originally? Apparently in art it’s best to always stick with your ideas when they aren’t going the way you like, rather than scrap the whole thing… and AFFC/ADWD weren’t the best books…
I’m still holding up hope his goal is to finish by December, publish in March and beat the Show one last time, barely. But it doesn’t look like it.
Unfortunately, I’m not the erudite mind behind the Meereenese Knot. That would be Adam Feldman, but thanks!
Are you serious? I think you just made my day 🙂
I find it hilarious that your main argument for “art can’t be quantified scientifically” involves using a dictionary.
I tend to agree with Cumsprite. The push will be huge to get something out before Season 6 airs, so it will likely result in a rush to print, with the remaining unfinished material being shoved to the next book, similar to what was done with ADWD.
I have no idea why you just said.
Anyways, book publishing forecasts are made all the time. I think some fantasy writers like Brian Sanderson actually have a progress percentage bar on their website.
Here ya go. Have fun.
I’m not a book reader but have noticed that whenever people mention Arianne nipples seem to come into it. Perhaps that’s what he means, a kind of dress that shows them off to their best advantage. Let’s face it, the male to female ‘showing your wares’ ratio is massively unbalanced at the moment, this could possibly go some way to redressing that (quite literally)! O_o
mmm that was supposed to be a mind-is-boggling face but could just be reinforcing the nipple theme :O(
I studied economics – which is the art of analyzing human cultural behavior through statistical means (it’s not all about money). Many times in economics – we stumble upon problems of 1) sample size – data which is just two anecdotal – it doesn’t represent enough persons to represent a logical sample or 2) a logical failure around assuming that just because you can quantify something means that it informs you about the human behavior behind it. I think this makes two mistakes. GRRM is not a statistical sample – he is a person and his writing process is not one that will submit itself well to statistical/numerical analysis. I’m anxious for the next book. He is too – he is trying. Neil Gaiman said it and I’ll repeat. “George R. R. Martin is still not your bitch” and all the number crunching doesn’t change that.
Even though GrrM doesn’t like the term “spoilers” as he explains in the link that H. Stark posted above (thinking that knowing the books doesn’t spoil the show and vice versa), Linda on her toxic tumblr squawked about “spoilers” after Oathkeeper aired in a “how dare they!” tone. She considers the show airing TWOW and ADOS material before the books come out in a similarly outrage fashion.
Both she and Ran/Elio will be avoiding s6 and 7.
Yep, it’s a great prospect to think about. No more passive-aggression. No more racism about the casting. No more nasty remarks about Lena Headey and Natalie Dormer for the what she considers the terrible crimes of them being Lena Headey and Natalie Dormer.
This fandom will become a brighter, lovelier place. I can’t wait.
Cut it out. Offer criticisms of the piece all you like, but personal attacks and name-calling are not permitted here.
Yeap. I’m pretty sure it will become a noticeably less toxic community. Also, it will be nice to have a fandom in which a small portion of it doesn’t feel superior for the not particularly impressive feat of having read the source material.
Just imagine (in a happy place) if the sixth book came out right before S06.
That WOULD be the best time to publish book six. Every bookreader buying the book at once, desperate to not be spoiled.
If Anne has any kind of leverage over GRRM finishing soon, that will be it I guess. What do you guys think?
My guess has been 2017 for a long time. We’ll see 🙂
The more you write, the easier it is to write. It can take weeks to work into an aggressive and free-flowing pace, but once it’s on… it’s on like Donkey Kong. And there is no way for you to accurately analyze or project for that here. So, it could be out this year… or 5 years from now.
It’s not scientific.
It’ll all improve markedly and the nastiest voices in the fandom will be made completely irrelevant.
Of course George is a human being. I don’t intend to imply otherwise. There are plenty of human elements that go into writing that no amount of data can attempt to address — specifically the inspiration that comes and goes. I know that. I’ve been slogging at my own novel for some 5-6 years now. I know that inspiration doesn’t arrive on time. It comes and goes at will. (But it’s often fueled collectively by large injections of caffeine from my experience)
What I attempted was to average out writing of ADWD and look at the miniscule data we have for TWOW, and guess at GRRM’s progress. That’s all. There are patterns in the data (faster completed new manuscript pages the closer to publication). And heck, we can even extrapolate a little bit of data from the inspiration bit. In 2010, GRRM frayed the Meereenese Knot, introduced a new POV character (Barristan), and he hit 474 manuscript pages in 2010 alone.
It’s really not hard to stay unspoiled. It takes mild effort at best. You just need to know who to surround yourself with and be careful where you go and what to expect.
I’m grateful to the show for introducing me to the series, but my loyalties lie with the books, since that’s what I enjoyed more. And I feel I owe it to the author to see his final version before any others. It’ll be hard, especially if ADoS takes a while, but it’s not the end of the world.
Im raising my eyebrows! He was right!
So when season 6 and 7 air, and the total viewership doesn’t drop, we will know just how small the vocal minority of book purists is. And just in case anyone thinks they can still discuss just the books on some forum dedicated to them, there will be TV show trolls delighting in spoiling the series for you.
I’ve made my peace with George never finishing the books. And I’m not going to wait around for 10-15 years just in case he finally does.
Part of me wonders if he’s waiting to see how the ending of the show is received and tinkering with the books accordingly?
Ever the optimist, I see… No, I think that the whole “Meereneese knot” was mostly an excuse by GRRM. Even after that was supposedly resolved, he still took a long time to finish ADWD, and *STILL* left off the two climaxes (battles of ice and fire) he was working towards.
And no new POV’s? Ha! I’ll believe that when I see it. 🙂
No, I think I’ll be more of a pessimist (or realist IMO) here. He will struggle to get TWOW out before season 6 starts.
Can someone explain the Son of Kong reference please?
Yeah, I think the 2017 July release after GOT the TV show ends in June of that year is the the likely scenario.
At least we’ll know what D&D have done completely by then and not have some splinching where things happened in both the book and show, or not the book, or not the show…all at the same time…that’ll just be a mess.
You tried to predict/estimate/ guess with historical data from one book (ADwD) sample size not taking into consideration any other variable (ex: how much his constipation from March 1-14 affected his writing/time he spent at his Dos based editor!). Any financial analyst would laugh his/her butt off at the “scientific” accuracy in that.
I hate the “not your bitch”
retort he used just like the next girl, but unfortunately knowledge backs up Martin’s statement (the poster, not the author). I too studied derivatives, finance and marketing. Trust me, in this specific experiment your guess is as good as mine (scientifically speaking). I’m putting my cookies on finishing it this year. And R’hllor willing publishing it too.
Of the Night,
Because The America Tolkien doesn’t like to write but enjoys having written, he gave ADWD the nickname King Kong as a nod to the monkeys on his back. Writing is a chore for him, you see. And once he knows how the story ends, he has no interest in writing it anymore. I am sorry his craft pains him so much so that he slapped Son of Kong onto TWOW, but here we are.
Of the Night,
He referred to ADWD as Kong. Rather worringly, this has continued on to Son of Kong for TWOW.
How salty. Rawr.
Amen, brother. I can’t wait.
My goodness, you must be tired dragging those goal posts around.
Ok this is certified madness …
Like i said previously we will see Stephen King write a sequel to the Holy Bible before George finishes WoW/DoS.
You must be a delight at parties…zzzzz.
I’m a jock and write more than 287 pages a year in Uni. Holy shit that’s slow. I’d be pissed if I had not stopped caring about TWOW,
I think the toughest thing Martin will have to deal with in writing not only TWoW but also ADoS is recognizing that he is entering the series endgame and having to condense the storyline and characters accordingly. It is much easier to expand and expound on the world you have created, building more history, more myth, deeper family ties and character relationships, as opposed to pointing everyone in the proper direction towards the end you have presumably plotted out some time ago.
There are literally hundreds of plot points that Martin has thrown up in the air over the course of the first 5 books and at some point you need to either let them remain unanswered (if you don’t deem them important) or say what you need to say about them.
The show has things like deadlines, contracts and budgets to force them into this mode much earlier but as a writer who creates this fictional universe and who doesn’t really answer to anyone, the temptation will be there to tell every aspect of the story in a sprawling and informative matter because it’s what you feel that storyline or character deserves. It’s that type of freedom that leads you to ruminate about possibly needing an 8th book to conclusively close out the entire series.
Sticking the landing is going to be the hardest part and I have a feeling that no matter what he ends up putting out there at the end of the day, he’ll hear the howls from the fanbase because the expectations are at a level that are pretty much impossible for him to meet.
Don’t be an smartass Mr. Sprite. If they offend you so much as to quote me, just hit the ignore button. I’ll do my best to curb my tendencies of prediction. Obviously, they are not scientifically accurate! LOL
*clapping* Well said.
I could never ignore you. You are my boysenberry.
Besides, I notice that you changed “ass” to “smartass”. I am glad you upgraded me.
I see. Thanks for the insight.
First of all, what a fun article. Thanks for all the work you put into it, BryndenBFish.
Secondly, I find it hilarious Plith, or Plinth, or whatever his name is writes a lengthy objection to the article based upon A science, versus An art, in other words, using the objective to analyze the subjective, including a long explanation of the objectivity of math, all while neglecting to acknowledge what was presented was a statistical analysis. Unlike other math, all of which is deductive, statistics are the only inductive math. Thus, the crux of his argument, that one cannot use math to analyze art, as one cannot use the objective to analyze the subjective, is invalid. Then, of course, there is the little matter of Plith’s or Plinth’s or whatever his name revealing his own subjectivity by virtue of his calling the writer whatever names he called him. In other words, Plith, or Plinth, or whatever your name is, the time you spent writing your lengthy objection was pretty much a waste of time. You would have been better served just saying you aren’t particularly fond of this writer, so you don’t hold his analysis in any regard.
Have a nice day. 🙂
I think that (assuming TWoW is not released by airdate) that Season 6 will be fascinating in terms of observing how people judge the content of the show.
While the show is by no means perfect, I do think that up to now those of us who have read the books (regardless of how “puritanical” we are) can’t help make constant book-to-show comparisons of storylines. It’s human nature no matter how hard you try to set it aside.
I’m really excited to see the story continue on-screen (as much as I am to read the new books when they come out) without any knowledge of what’s “supposed to” happen. It’s going to be so freeing to enjoy the show as a show, not an exercise in adaptation.
I will be extremely interested to see how some of the more puritanical readers react to the story at this point because it’s always been my contention that many of the “issues” they have with parts of the show come from a “that’s not the way the books did it” place and not a true evaluation of the story being told on the show. Without this knowledge, will the same people hate everything on the screen, will they make guesses about what’s definitely a Martin creation and what they think the show is making up, or will they find themselves enjoying the experience much more thoroughly? Should be awesome.
Pretty interesting. The end date is actually not far from what a lot of fans were suggesting, so I do think you’re in the ballpark here. But I’m still not sure that he is functioning on a deadline. By the time ADWD came out, there was both a clear deadline to finish the book and a more vague deadline to stay ahead of the show which was going to start soon. At this point, the show is going ahead, so that’s no longer a motivating force.
So basically the book will come out between 2016-2019…I think we already knew that 😉
I totally did, Mr. Sprite haha! But then I remembered that this site is for people well behaved and nice, and Sue would ban my ass if I had stooped so low, to name-calling:
So I quickly amended it and thus by necessity you got an upgrade.
PS. Not boysenberry, surely. I must have thorns and I’m not sweet.
1. Thanks. I am very smart. Mommy says so. I am also very polite, otherwise I would’ve mentioned you forgot to change “an” to “a”, which is how I knew you made the ass change. Again — very smart.
2. Boysenberry plants do have thorns. And they are tart. You are a boysenberry.
Congratulations, that’s the most pretentious comment I’ve read today, sparky.
Nymeria Warrior Queen,
It’s ok. It’s just Chilly Polly from Westeros. (Hi Chilly!) Thanks for the kind words all the same!
God…a tear of joy
After the tv series is finished, i’m going to take a year off just to troll on every forum 🙂
Now now. You and Chilly have been pissing at each other in the Complete Winds of Winter Resource thread for forever. If Chilly had wanted their username displayed on WOTW, they would have posted as Chilly. Bad form.
I’m sure it’s different for everyone, but any fan who likes other TV shows enough to spend time on entertainment blogs or websites would have to stop participating not just in this fandom, but probably several others as well in order to avoid GoT spoilers. Hell, with the “trending” links on Facebook now, it’s practically impossible. Not to mention that a lot of fans are friends with other fans, who they’d have to avoid discussions with about the books/show/etc.
Personally I am quite bummed out about the show outpacing the books, but if I had to rank my preference, it would go:
1. Read spoilers in the books
2. See spoilers in context on GoT
3. See spoilers out of context online
I’m sure a lot of people are hoping to just avoid the show entirely, but I’d rather not try and inevitably fail, plus this way I can still discuss the material as it happens, which for me is a part of the enjoyment.
Gotta say, I love the site and the comments here, but it’s starting to feel pretty unnecessarily hostile toward a certain part of the fandom.
That’s exactly what I’m thinking. It will be a true test of their claim that it always is about the quality of the change, not the change itself. Sometimes that’s true… mostly it just isn’t. If these people are right and most of D&D’s changes to the source material have been in fact negative, presumably they will be able to tell with stunning accuracy which parts of seasons six and seven are faithful to GRRM’s unpublished words and which are changes or inventions.
With all the info provided, there are only really 2 viable release dates. Let’s be honest people – money talks. Even if George has enough the publishers will want maximum hype. So that leaves:
Right before season 6 begins (April of 2016) or right before season 7 (April of 2017). Releasing right after a TV season that spoiled everything would cripple sales. If 2016 can be done, it will, bc it’ll max the # of sales. Imagine a book release at the same time the first TV show trailer is out. The readers (myself included) will gobble it up! I don’t doubt with the popularity of GoT that this book is going to get the fastest editing process you’ve ever seen. It’s all up to George’s abilities. So you can mark it down as FACT that the book will be released between Feb 2016 – April 2017.
Didn’t watch the video, but thank you for posting this. The nautilus is my house sigil.
1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610, 987……………………………………………………….
19 DAYS! (and prime numbers rock).
Lol! This is one of the best comments I’ve read in a long time. Kudos to you, Ser.
Yeah, I agree with the people saying WoW will be released in 2017, around the end of the show. I doubt it will be very good or really resolve much of anything, and I expect GRRM’s publisher will need to drag it out of him the same way they did with Dance. Furthermore I expect GRRM to stretch the series out to two more books after that, neither of which will ever be released.
Well, this analysis is mad and stupid. Well done losing your time…
Writing is a creative process. Statistics and mathematics are irrelevant there.
Guys, its just like the Al Gore climate model graphs. All based on modeling. All said NYC would be underwater by 2012. Let’s put things into perspective, ok? I know we’ve all be waiting a really long time, but is this really the most productive thing for us to be doing? I’ve been a member of this fandom for a long time, but I just think there’s so much more we could be doing for our communities and friends and families and neighbors than however long it took to do all this. Not saying the work wasn’t done with good intentions, just my honest opinion. Take it for whats its worth!
It will not have that much of an effect on the book sales, if any at all. To the contrary, for every reader who says “eh, I already know it: why bother?” there will be many more readers who got into the series because of the TV series and who are curious to see how the novel adapts the screen material.
That happened to me with the Red Wedding, I was watching a walking dead clip and the comments were all Robb Stark dies at the red wedding. There actually wasnt anything I can think of that wasnt spoiled to me before I watched or read it except the purple wedding and the adwd epilogue. It will be nice to be surprised for once and not just watch something like the red wedding and during the slaughter think “oh i like the lighting they used for this, this is a decent set in general”, while unsullied next to me are freaking out and having the time of their lives…. FUCK THE BOOKS, FUCK THE GRRM, AND FUCK THE KINGSGUARD!!! JK still gonna read 🙂
Um, I think that you are off a century or two there. Also, this (like climate change modeling) is based on data. Brynden has taken the known writing rates from GRRM to estimate not just GRRM’s rate of writing, but also his acceleration patterns over the writing process.
The difference, of course, is that whereas climate modelers have tens of thousands of years of data to which to refer (based on isotopes in ice cores, ocean cores, etc.), Brynden just has Dragons on which to model Winter. However, it does look like Dragons does a pretty good job of predicting Winter up to this point, and that is always a good ground-truthing. Also, this is a “simpler” system: it has one primary control (GRRM).
On the topic of modeling, here is another one that people might like. It involves Bayesian statistics, and parts of it might look hairy: but, on the other hand, as Nate Silver always stresses, there is certain intuitive appeal about Bayesian probability. http://arxiv.org/pdf/1409.5830v1.pdf
People like books (or TV shows or movies) for different reasons. A lot of the “purists” do not really care about the story: they are much more interested in the “world building” or “alternate history” or what have you. They just have to realize that, regardless of what the tale in question is, they are in a very small minority. Most people enjoy stories for the stories. When general readers/viewers do get hooked by the plot, then it is usually the general mysteries (“What is Harry’s scar?” “Who is Jon Snow’s Mother?” “What is the Island on Lost?” “Who are the Final 5 Cylons?!?!?” etc.) that grab them.
Javi from Los Siete Reinos,
How is it easier if the optimistic predictions put it at 5 years for completion? ADWD was ‘only’ 6.
GRRM probably will not do that deliberately, but he will have the advantage of seeing how some different things play out. GRRM will have a unique opportunity to see it before he finishes writing it: and it’s quite possible that he’ll realize that “oh, wait: that doesn’t work now that I look at it like this!”
These are the times where I’m forever grateful for not giving a damn about Facebook or Twitter. And having good friends. 🙂
You can certainly quantify someone’s past behavior (X amount of words written in a certain period) and use that as a predictor for the future. The accuracy of various periods and numbers can discussed and debated, that’s the fun of it. But to say that mathematics, statistics, can have nothing to do with creativity, when studies are done all the time on creative issues, with the results converted into quantifiable data? That’s just wrong.
Can you add an hour to the countdown clock? It’s off. (Daylight savings time)
Indeed, behavioral psychologists do quantify these things and study statistical distributions of these things. If nothing else, then businesses, governments, etc., want to know: the idea that “flex time” or later school openings improve performance come from such studies, after all.
However, people who know nothing about statistics are prone to believe that you cannot do anything with statistics (and, yes, that has been statistically demonstrated!): and there is almost no point in trying to convince them otherwise.
Lovely thoughts! I like the fact that someone did a nice mathematical analysis of this. Makes my brain focus less on it. I mean, I’m not going to do better. Kudos!
We are lucky, having made peace with it. I feel sorry for everyone else… such demands and expectations! 🙂
Rest assured, everyone, GRRM “revealed” at last night’s premiere that he’s written “hundreds of pages” for The Winds of Winter. (Nevermind that he’s previously said it’s going to be a 1500+ page book and that two years ago he’d said he was about 25% done with it.)
Indeed, we ought to be grateful that the TV series means that we will get to see the end of the tale. GRRM can wave his middle finger all he likes, but his not living to finish the series is a very real possibility given how slowly he goes about this.
(I just wish he’d done it in time for me to taunt
10+ years ago!! :P)
I can tell you right now when Winds will be completed and published…
Is there a source for this? I keep looking at Westeros, reddit and elsewhere to no avail. The stream didn’t reveal that either.
Can’t wait for Lindaaa to stop the hate waterfall once she stops watching the show.
Someone does not understand what “scientific” means. Ask me later, I’m a scientist.
Hoping for the best possible (GRRM finishes TWOW before S6 airs) but not holding my breath. I really think he’s writing as fast as he can and not waiting for any sort of invented strategic reason…
Tyrion Pimpslap I like your sentiment, ser. Troll away! 🙂
People were claiming he said on a couple websites today but no one is actually providing a source or linking to a video. GRRM didn’t say that on the Facebook livestream and he hasn’t said in any of the interviews I found today.
i want it now though :'(
She hates Lena and Natalie because so many people credit them for making Cersei and Margaery more interesting than in the books…
and its true 🙂
Here’s a list of other words that people are not using correctly! For example, nobody has any “theories” about who Jon Snow’s mother is. GRRM, however, does ascribe to a theory of story-telling.
What this is, however, is a repeatable way to predict what an author is doing. And if one did this over and over, then one would have a working model: and that is when it becomes science.
The actresses helped considerably to make both characters more interesting than they are in the books: but it also helped that the show made both of the the screen equivalent of “point of view” characters. (Remember, Cersei did not become one until Crows, and Margaery never has been one.)
Sue the Fury,
So, what other opinions are wrong, to you? I’m glad we have someone who’s smart enough to explain to people when they have a personal opinion that is unacceptable. Where would be be as a society without it, I ask you? Trincomalee, that’s where.
Im sure her hatred will only get worse considering this season will most likely be Lena’s breakout season.
First of all, hi to everyone. I just had the privilege of watching the first two season 5 screeners (and I wouldn’t want to get more ahead than that) and thought I might share my initial impressions which are, in short, extremely positive. For obvious reasons I won’t divulge my name since reviews aren’t supposed to be out for some time, and I will not go into big spoiler territory either (and there’s plenty of that stuff) so don’t even try asking 😉 But if you really don’t want to know ANYTHING at all about the episodes, please stop reading right here and then. You’re probably a wiser man (or woman, ahem) than me.
WARNING: SOME EPISODES 1 AND 2 SPOILERS AHEAD
As to episode 2, it’s basically an expansion of the thematic threads planted in episode 1: stories colliding, alliances being forged, etc. There’s a wonderful scene in King’s Landing where you can really sense the Jamie/Cersei relationship reaching a breaking point as they talk about their children. It also sets up the sense that Cersei has been left alone to rule for the first time, and just how terrifying that realization is (for the audience and, in some weird way, even to herself). Without giving much away, they receive a message from the kingdom of Dorne that relates to the Oberyn character from last season. And, boy, I’m not sure if the stuff we see from Dorne this episode is shot in Croatia or Spain, but it’s glorious. It’s finally the time for Indira Varma (from Rome fame) to really shine.
It just gets more interesting from there (though I’m murky on the order of things). We finally visit Winterfell, which is NOT in the first episode, which has been basically plastered with Bolton sigils everywhere. These are not long scenes, and I’ve no idea where this story thread is going, but Alfie Allen is incredible here, just from the way he observes the environment and reminisces his past in Winterfell. There’s really intense emotional stuff going on there. There’s also a plot thread about the Boltons having to solidify their power in Winterfell, which ties in to Stannis talking about invading the north in the previous episode.
And if you, like me, were excited about having more scenes with Jon and Stannis together this season (who I love more and more), this episode is the one for you. Stannis makes an offer to Jon that could change the whole dynamic of the season and I daresay the show in general, and I hope Jon takes up on it because it offers really interesting possibilities. Kit Harington does tormented very well here, and you really see him struggle between his vows to the Night’s Watch and the Stannis offer (which I’ll not mention here…) And Carice Van Houten has never been more fascinating than in her scenes at the Wall. There’s some sexual innuendo with Jon that varies from awkward to really funny.
Then there’s stuff with Brienne and Sansa which really echoes that scene from the finale with Arya and Brienne. Brienne (who Sansa passes by in episode 1) tells Sansa that she reminds her of Catelyn, but Sansa replies that her mother is dead. Littlefinger comes and tells Brienne she should go back to the Lannisters, though warns her that the road to King’s Landing is increasingly dangerous. This time Brienne wises up and leaves, though it’s clear to the viewer she’s not given up on her quest just yet.
Later, Littlefinger sends his guards after her since Brienne saw him with Sansa, and this sets in motion the most entertaining action scene of the season so far. It’s not as brutal as her fight with the Hound, but it’s stylized and tense and goes by very fast. It’s basically a chase scene as well as an action scene. The guards follow her on horseback to a wooded area that seems like a callback to the River Lands from season 3, and you literally see the landscape transform before your eyes. It’s probably not much a spoiler to say Brienne triumphs once again, but there’s a really creepy bit after the fight where she and her companion hear voices or screams in the forest. The sound design and camerawork in this scene are terrific, the trees ominously blacking out the sun like the haunted forests of Lord of the Rings and the like. Brienne remarks that something is not right and that they should keep on marching.
Equally exciting stuff goes on in Meereen where there is this beautifully tense scene between Barristan (?) and Dany in which Barristan reveals some not very auspicious things about the Targaryen legacy. You can see in Clarke’s performance how uncomfortable the revelations make her at the same time she shows an openness and a willingness to hear Barristan out. It’s a refreshing scene featuring a character that has often been relegated to the background, beautifully written and acted out. It’s clear from the first two episodes that this won’t be another season of Dany just languishing in her cities, but that there’s a real sense of threat in the air and that she must either reject her legacy or embrace it but weed out the unsavory bits of it.
Finally, I won’t go into details as to what happens in the big setpiece of the episode, not out of smugness but because it really deserves to be experienced with no previous expectations (which is the way I went into it). All I’ll say is, it centers around Arya and it’s killer stuff. She finally reaches her destination (the city of Bravos), and for the first time in many seasons she is completely alone. There’s an incredibly tense sequence featuring two particularly unsavory characters who go after her, and for a while there it really does look bleak for Arya. I won’t go into how it is resolved but suffice it to say it’s by far the best scene in the season so far. There’s a new set which has a dark religious beauty to it that surpasses any set from the show so far. It’s breathtaking and expands the world in a huge way. I’m sure someone else will spoil this stuff before it airs, but it won’t be me… 🙂
Hope this wasn’t too frustrating to read, but the idea is to just give a general overview of the stuff to come. Overall, I’d say this is the strongest intro to a season yet. All storylines start with a bang and are going places from the very beginning; the sense of exposition has diminished in comparison to other seasons. And the cinematography, especially in Brienne and Arya’s scenes, is top-notch. Can’t wait to discuss the episode (and the spoiler bits in them) when it comes out in a few weeks.
The Dragon Demands,
I agree wholeheartedly! I’m currently on my THIRD re-read. The first time through all 5 books was done (right after watching season one) in 6 months, the second re-read took longer. This last one I am taking my time, there’s no hurry and I always discover things along the way I missed the first (or even second) read through. I suggest to those that are impatient, RE-READ the books!!!
Great piece! I agree that it will be released either right before season 6 or right before season 7.
Thanks for sharing! I’m sure some people will question the authenticity of your comment but based on what you said I do believe you. As a bookreader, I got a lot from these descriptions, so thanks!
Also, great to know we actually see Dorne in E2, I was thinking we would just see the viper box. And the arya scene looks great.
The Hype grows daily.
It may be stupid of me but I am going to be expecting
I do like to hear that the cinematography looks good this year. Ive felt that it wasnt living up to its potential before. But seeing that harpy fall alone shows that this is a whole new show.
Javi from Los Siete Reinos,
Do people still give the Meereneese Knot a lot of credence vis-a-vis George’s drawn out ASOIAF writing progress/process?
Thank u for the amazing write up. You have no idea how excited I am for season 5. I truly believe that they have the material for it to be the best season
Thank you for this but please spoil more for those of us who want to know 🙂
I really want to know what goes on in that Arya sequence.
You’re quitting too?
The material in the books is by far the weakest the show has ever had to adapt. If D&D can turn this season based on AFFC/ADWD into the best GoT season yet it would just highlight how good they are at what they do and under appreciated they are by so many fans.
hey maggie. thank you so much. can you give more details about the jaime/cersei scene? how is it like? do they have a huge fight or something?? is it another scene where they make cersei look like a 1 dimensional harpy to make jaime look good etc???
Last season still would have been too early unless they were going to radically adapt Crows/Dragons to create something for that character to do. Given that Crows/Dragons needed to cut stuff, that wasn’t going to be an option.
As it is, the second dramatic re-appearance from Crows would work much better on screen: assuming that there is a place for the character in Winter! (It would have worked much better in the books had that been the first dramatic reappearance:
heh, actually, I bet that a LOT of fans could take Crows/Dragons and trim that down into one excellent novel!
Seriously, you are correct: successfully streamlining this tumescence of a narrative into a single 10 hour series merits a Nobel Prize, not a mere Hugo or Golden Globe.
I’m a bit skeptical of Maggie’s descriptions of episode 2 and wonder if Maggie is pulling our leg.
Sword of the Morning,
Eh, a book reader probably would’ve included specific references
It has become a thing around these parts, apparently.
If you’re taking questions (and this is comparatively minor):
Her introduction makes more sense after you have a full season of dread being built up.
Sword of the Morning,
I guess it’s a good thing that everyone has seemingly accepted that ADOS won’t be published until years after the show has wrapped. Going to be sad for Renly’s Peach when he waits until 2027 to finish watching!
I believe Maggie. If she’s trolling it is surely expert trollwork, incorporating basically every bit of information that we know about episode 2 from a wide variety of sources, entirely to vaguely tease one certain something.
Sue the Fury,
Sue, do you have an opinion about all of this?
nothing she said is something we didnt know was happening so all it tells us is when its happening.
I bought a time machine off ebay and traveled forward to after TWOW was published and read it before coming back.
Maisie Williams was just on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and they played a clip of Arya being denied entry into the House of Black and White.
So… April 2015 confirmed?
Maisie brought a new clip to Jimmy Kimmel tonight!
CAN. NOT. WAIT!
Edit: Morgan got here first. 🙂
On topic: Still optimistic for the earlier date despite having been disappointed by such optimism for the past 2 years. Must be crazy…
Breaking emargo on a screener is very much against the rules so I can’t confirm anything.
I’m not even going to click on it. I’m rather tired of being spoiled, myself.
In fact you guys aren’t doing a very good job of covering spoilers, already. Cover ALL OF IT.
The Family Name,
Don’t worry about me. The waiting will make it worthwhile. Hell, let’s make it 2043!
What else are they gonna do? The contrarians have to strike out at the boogieman book purists and keep them at bay! One of these days they’ll strike down the evil Brood Mother Antonsson and the whole fandom will be one nice happy family.
Sue the Fury,
Alright. Thanks anyways. 🙂
Math can predict it.
GRRM isn’t the sample. The hundreds of pages of ADWD and TWOW are.
They’ll all be buying it regardless of when it comes out unless it’s a decade from now.
Pale Mare, winter, ice zombies, dragons, Shireen’s face
all of the above
Aww I missed Maisie on Jimmy Kimmel, hopfully it will be on demand soon. I wish this website would sometimes make posts letting us know when the cast is going to be on talk shows.
Also Maggie isn’t lying. Some people seem to have a hard time distinguishing trolls from sincere people. When someone is trolling they will usual include some outlandish details that will get the fans riled up like a few seasons ago when a guy claimed that an upcoming episode ended with a montage that included Tywin banging Shae doggy style lol. Or recently the guy who claimed that Jon Snow gets taken by the White Walkers this season, now something like that could happen this season but it’s understandable why a claim like that would be meet with skepticism by fans but I don’t see anything about Maggie’s post that warrants skepticism.
Dan Weiss and David Benioff will be on Late Night with Seth Meyers tomorrow night, so there’s chance they that could air another clip then.
WotW is the last place to come for Arya news. It’s surprising that she isn’t much liked around here.
Thanks, I’ll set my DVR 🙂
Nice data-work there. I’m going with 2019, personally.
Well, I think she’s awesome, so it’s not a total hatefest.
If Maggie is telling the truth, I hope she faces the firing squad for breaking the embargo on the screeners, it’s a privilege to see them and taking advantage of being given that privilege is disgraceful
Well said! While a rich blend of diverse opinions is the lifeblood of any community, vitriol and condescension have no place in any forum – especially when they’re so often justified on such a flimsy pretext. Once we’re all operating on the same level playing field, it’s my sincere hope that we’ll all be able to celebrate, analyze, anticipate, enjoy, and – on the hopefully rare occasion when sufficient cause presents itself – criticize the show based on its own merits. Under ideal circumstances, that’s the way it should have been from the very beginning. If a few (and, mercifully, they are few) of the more toxic viewers decide to voluntarily exclude themselves from that conversation in the future – for any reason – I will welcome that development. It should lead to more productive and enjoyable era of discussion and speculation around this television show that we love … which is why most of us are here, after all. (And hey, whenever GRRM finishes the books – in accordance with his own, uncompromised process – we can do it all again!)
I hope that no one will object if I set my celebratory countdown clock now.
Wow, everything that you described sounds spectacular! Thank you for sharing!
Roose On The Loose,
What exactly is disgraceful about it? A little review of episode 2 is disgraceful now but in about a week suddenly it is okay? Anyone who doesn’t want to know any details doesn’t have to look. Some fans don’t want to know anything but a lot of us are thankful to get information like this.
Apologies if this has already been stated:
Great analysis: wonderful mix of statistics and guesswork. However, Blackfish missed a crucial (to me) observation. GRRM has repeatedly stated that he will not hint around, insinuate or make guesses about when he will finish Winds. And that when he is finished he will simply announce it on his blog, on whatever day that happens to be. Ie. its completion will be as clear as he can make it. He recently stated this again on his blog in addressing the speculation about a 12 days of Xmas (or some such thing) purported release of Winds.
But now he goes and insinuates that he believes he may be, though not definitively, maybe not even likely, be able to finish in time for him to attend these conventions (I think one is this summer). What does this mean? I see only two possible answers: (1) He is being reckless in spite of all evidence showing how pathetically and desperately we cast about for any news about when Winds is coming out and how bat shit crazy we all get when we think we divine evidence from the measliest shred of evidence, GRRM still doesn’t have the self control to do the one thing he knows he shouldn’t: speculate on his blog about finishing Winds. OR (2) He actually feels like he is definitely in some sort of home stretch. Which to GRRM might mean as much as a year’s more of writing, but probably less methinks. I’m betting he finishes no later than this fall:)
I made a bad choice of words il give you that.
I just think it’s bad form for someone in the position to be trusted with seeing a unofficial pre release screener to release details. And yes if there is an official screening of the episode a description is fine, but that’s a very different situation. Sorry for any offence I was still way too excited after New Zealand beat South Africa to make the cricket World Cup final haha
here is the Maisie @ Jimmy Kimmel video with Arya clip
Incisive speculation on Maggie’s spoiler below:
Forest?!?? Trees?!?? Screams??!!?
Deepwood Motte!! Confirmed.
Can we call book readers who quit the show The Faith Militant?
A fun and interesting piece, thanks BryndenBfish.
Not sure what the fuss is from some people – the author clearly states that he is not an expert and this is just speculation FOR FUN.
To be fair, she hardly spoils anything beyond things most sullied who follow the season 5 news already know/figured out,
I’m grateful for her enthusiasm, I’m looking forward to the season even more now.
What do you mean with the same outcome?
Regarding Maggie’s post
Why hasn’t anyone thought of a certain pack of wolves and their leader??
With all the teasers with the raven I bet that a certain character will start wolf dreaming this season
I think when the fat is trimmed from AFFC and ADWD, I think you would be surprised by how great this season could be.
I’m sorry Sue
I’m sorry wimsey but statistically this post makes no sense because there’s just not enough sample data. I’m no mathematic, I’m just an engineer, but this is very basic stuff. I’m surprised to see that not many people with a mathematical background read this forums
Another thing to add into the mix is the fact that he’s written hundreds of pages for The World of Ice and Fire (some of which has been published as the novellas in Dangerous Women and Rogues.) Admittedly, he says that he wrote that text significantly faster than his more recent writing speed, with text just flowing out of him. But that’s time he was writing, but not writing TWoW. Ironically, most of that material ended up being cut for the future world book or heavily edited, which means that much of it probably could have waited. But what’s done is done.
At least we got the two novellas and WoIaF while we waited.
The primary thing we got out of Maggie’s summary is that
Nice stats and wishes but only one thing can make George write faster and finish on time:
Click for the solution
There’s a party-trick to amaze, amuse and bewilder all your guests. If you’re good at mental arithmetic, doing sums in yer ‘ed….
Start by standing on your head, while your guests choose 5 successive prime numbers (not the early, easy ones). Rattle off the next 5 in an instant, or as quick as it takes to calculate which are the next 5.
You don’t need to learn the series up to infinity and beyond. It’s easy to do, if you know basic mathematic structure.
It helps if you have a t-shirt stating “Maths? Do I look like a genius? Another beer, dude.” It ought to be an original true retro t-shirt, to be authentic. You know the type – with the beer stains already printed in.
Please, you unsullied, consider the following:
Book readers experienced over years the excitement, you are facing right now. They love the original! The adaption will now take over to tell the story briefly with deviations. If that is the right way to tell the story…? Who knows… But, hey! No problem, one can read everything afterwards in the books.
I guess most of you like “Star Wars”. Imagine that, after TESB, you wait impatiently to TROTJ. And when it comes to the screen, your best friends tells you all the story, skips some things, makes mistakes and finishes by saying: “Yeah, if you want the whole story, you need to watch it for yourself.”
Just think of how enthusiastic you would watch the film on screen and compare that to the time, when you were sitting in the cinema and listened to Darth Vader’s one line, that changed everything…
The show overtaking the books IS a big thing for book readers. Just respect that.
Most of them spend years with waiting for the next book. You unsullied do not have to do that. Your impatience sounds like: “Oh, three weeks to go, and they have not published the last tow epsiode titles… I CANNOT WAIT!”
Well, book readers had to wait eleven years to get some news of Tyrion! (from ASOS to ADWD)
And now, book readers need to read stuff like: “Yeah, the fan chats will be much more comfortable without them…”
I do not want to judge… just open your eyes and your mind to the other side.
I began reading the books after season 1 of the show and I really like both. However, I can understand the readers. This whole universe is worth exploring it. The TV show just gives you the brief summary. Different aproaches, I know. Readers could easily live with that, as longs GRRM would have told the story already completely. And now, all is about getting done with the show…
As a book reader I just feel treated by Unsullied like this:
Me: “You absolutely should taste that red wine. It’s from the Arbor… Look the colour, smell the sweetness…”
Unsullied: “Yeah! Let’s get wasted!”
The thing is, it is mostly book readers who are making comments like that.
The artwork of “the others” in this article is great anyone know who made it or if there is more?
When I made it clear I was uncomfortable to the point of stopping commenting here because of the fairly outrageous conduct of some posters, and I specifically asked that somebody who was name calling and personally attacking a poster be censured, you replied to me:
Food for thought.
I suppose that GRRM isn’t that slow, after all we’ve had to wait 50 years for the sequel of “To kill a mocking bird”.
However, he is spinning the process out by writing prequels (horrible word) and other sagas as well (no mention of that in the above piece) as attending goodness knows how many promotional events and all the interviews (set a fox running and then sometime later shoot it). so what todo? Well a boycott of any new work would concentrate his mind wonderfully. I, for one, will not buy anything until TWOW is published.
I’m a biostatistician, and, yes, this is basic stuff, and, no, you are very wrong about what you can (and cannot) do. (No offense, but the next engineer I encounter who has any comprehension about how scientific or statistical modeling works will be the first. You guys have just the daftest ideas of what these concepts mean!)
I have to agree. If Maggie’s post was a fake, it is one the best I have ever seen. It was pitch perfect on the details we know, and sounded exactly like something written by a somewhat-sullied non-reader, as Maggie claims to be.
And in any case, wouldn’t a final S5 Jaime scene of him burning Cersei’s letter and setting off to find Brienne (who is about to lead him into a death trap) be incredible? I certainly can’t come up with any fan fiction that would be better, and I doubt D&D could either.
As a side point, could Michelle Fairley have filmed the LSH scenes way back in S3? The amount of screen time that she, rather than a body double, would be incredibly small. Doing it this way would have been a great way for D&D to keep the secret secret.
Most of the people making the argument are actually book readers who have realistic expectations who want the crazy unrealistic purists to stop whining all the time.
Wait… what? How does that sound like LSH?
Brienne hears creepy sounds in the woods… LSH!
For some people, everything points to LSH, it seems.
Given the incredible mess that happened after she was not in last finale and the amount of false info, false hints and refusal to state anything followed by baity “journalism” by EW stating outright she is not in, I imagine no matter what would have happend – if she is in, it’s still gonna be a huge shock due to gigantic amount of false data.
Shame so many non book readers got spoiled, though.
When did EW state she is not in?
the recent 30-pages long article by their go to ‘let’s present rumors as facts’ boy – Hibberd.
I believe in their latest magazine (the one w/ Emilia, Maise, Kit, and Peter on the covers)
If by “incredible mess” you mean a few thousand fans on the internet getting angry, then sure.
For the watch
Coocoo Cersei fucking up everything (hopefully an epic bitch-off w/ Margaery
Walk of Shame
House of Black and White
I’ve shifted my hype onto those parts
Only a very vague idea what’s due to happen in his storyline so no helpful thoughts from me I’m afraid :O( Although I read your reply as “fairy identity” and now picture him twirling around in an Angelina Ballerina outfit, plus tiara and wand. It is a kind of dress after all. Mel has red magic, Dorne can strike back with pink glittery magic. It’s a relatively progressive place – the Sand Snakes do traditionally ‘male’ things so why shouldn’t the guys get to be fairy princesses? :O)
oh, you D&D fanboys and LS haters….
Sure, let’s disregard thousands of fans expressing dissapointment, countless articles, countless questions directed at the writers and the actress and false information flying around, practically daily.
D&D have book readers salivating for LS
I suspect many of us will be waiting beyond the credits of the series finale. lol
Is it still a spoiler if everyone already knows the answer?
Fair point, mate, but you should blame the only person in the world that put you in that situation: George R.R. Martin. Not HBO, Not D&D, and certainly, not the show watchers.
Take those thousands of fans away from the reported ratings and the reported ratings stay the same.
Make the show the way that those thousands want and watch the reported ratings stagnate and drop.
So in episode 2
There isn’t anyone to blame.
it is what it is. GRRM can’t rush his writing cuz that snot how writing works.
And D&D had a window of opportunity w/ HBO and George and those opportunities don’t come twice.
It just is what it is. As someone who is a book fan, all I can say it IS disappointing. I love the show, but nothing can compete with the written medium.
But I’ve accepted it.
But that isn’t what they are saying: they are saying “just taste it, make your notes, and then move on to the next bottle. We have an opera to see later….”
Clutch. My. Pearls.
Hover over the image and you will see the artist info.
I need to make this clear:
Everyone needs to use spoiler coding. It is not just new commenters who are making this mistake.
If you repeatedly refuse to use spoiler coding, your posts are no better than trolling.
Show respect to your fellow commenters and fans, please.
If you don’t know how to cover a spoiler, ASK before posting a spoiler- or don’t post it.
This website is for all fans, including non-ASOIAF readers and people who don’t seek out episode spoilers.
Instructions on how to cover spoilers are at the top of every Comments Section.
Your problem was people having strong progressive views, if I’m remembering who you are, and you wanting people to not talk about any sort of social-justice-flavored aspect of the show. So yeah, not this topic at all. I can only assume your bitterness over it is why you’re trying to make it fit.
Obviously you’re still hanging around, so whatever.
I’m hoping Winds will come out before season 6 so I can give a go at being a Faith Militant (dropping the show to wait for the books, for those of you not reading every comment). Whether it works will let me decide how to approach season 7.
You’re not remembering correctly. The crux of my objection was personal attacks and name-calling – progressive or otherwise.
“Because men who fear and dislike strong women assume that all males fear strong women. Like most things that such people believe, it’s false. Indeed, strong men hope to meet women like Daeny!”
The implication being that the poster has some sort of hatred for women because he used the word fangirl. Which, by the way, is a lot more personal and insulting than calling someone a snob.
As for bitterness, no. I accepted your ruling and stopped commenting. I just find the inconsistency in your decision making jarring.
You: “I just ask that you save your social justice crusade for relevant spaces, and not lapse into bizarre tirades at every perceived slight. It makes for very uncomfortable reading.”
Direct quote. That was the crux of your complaint. People pointed out (as did I, probably) that you were free to leave if you weren’t comfortable. People here are free to say what they like as long as it doesn’t violate the few rules we have. Such as personal attacks and name-calling.
In the original comments section that the quote came from, Annara Snow criticized use of the word ‘fangirls’ and you told her to “grow up.” A personal attack. You then commented on other commenters’ petulance and made the remark above. You were not randomly subjected to some kind of attack before jumping into the comments section. You chose to insult people.
And the original pronouncement stands: people are free to discuss political or social justice aspects. It comes up in fandom and ASOIAF/GOT-related topics, too. As long as people are civil, there’s no reason why they can’t have mature conversations. If you’re uncomfortable with a discussion, step back from it. That’s your call.
Imagine that you use these statistical models to calculate the time needed for GRRM to write AFFC, based on the time he spent to finish AGOT, ACOK and ASOS. Your conclusion would be pure crap. Here again it is.
Because you don’t take into account personal events that happen in GRRM’s life. You don’t take into account the human part of it. People are not the same during their entire life. GRRM was different in 2000 and 2005, and he is different now than who he was 2 years ago. Sometimes he doesn’t have any inspiration and he doesn’t write anything. Sometimes he has and writes at a faster pace. You cannot average this. This is art.
And I say that as a scientist. I am doctor in computational chemistry so I know a lot about modelling things. You cannot model something like that.
First, it’s disrespectful because Martin’s work is summarized as mathematical data, whereas it is artistic crafting. Secondly, it’s completely irrelevant.
And one last thing. Just think about it. Is it not really sad to think about artistic process as mere statistics ? In our current world, statistics are everywhere. They are used for publicity and for the control of people through their evaluation. We use statistics too much. This makes us lose our most human part. Writing is a personal and deeply human process, stop viewing it as something as cold as stats. Art in general is a warm, human and imperfect process. That’s the beauty of it. Give up your Excel sheets already. Human life is more than that. Writing is more than that.
This topic makes me sad.
PS : sorry about the imperfect english, it’s not my native language.
Sue the Fury,
The thing is, I don’t disagree with anything you’ve just said. I did object to her rhetoric, and I did personally insult her.
But I don’t feel you’ve actually tackled my point, that is, the comment I quoted. It was a personal attack. You can discuss social justice issues without insinuating a person is an ‘ist’, that is, you can discuss these subjects without personally attacking someone. The undertones of her comment was that the poster had displayed some sort of malfeasance. The poster, in question, in that comment section expresses his surprise and is dragged into explaining why he doesn’t hate women.
However, then. Just to conclude: personal attacks are off limits, yes? And this does indeed include calling, or implying, that someone is a misogynst, etc, based on such tenuous grounds as using the word ‘fangirl’?
I think it’s important to point out that these fans are a minute proportion of the show viewership. So yeah, pretty easy to disregard such a tiny number. When you’ve got massive petitions and twitter campaigns running like the one to bring Clarkson back, I’ll consider it significant. Also, countless articles? I don’t recall all that many, but I do remember most of them were reporting on the fact that those same few thousand internet fans were upset. Daily? Pretty sure months went by with no news or discussion of LS.
So yeah, I feel safe in saying that calling it an “incredible mess” is laughable”
It is not a personal attack to discuss misogyny and racism.
Someone calling out what they consider to be a questionable use of terms, whether it’s racist, sexist, (go down the list of -isms), whatever- no that is not forbidden. Saying, “Hey that’s sort of sexist?” is fine. If they’d said, “Hey you’re an asshole for saying that,” that would not be okay.
If someone says that you’ve posted something they find sexist or racist, we shouldn’t be crying out we’ve been attacked – we should be examining our words.
What’s laughable is trying to turn this issue into something small, there are daily discussions about that character on every major board.
We shall see. We shall see.
Yeah, each of which have the same 100 or so people arguing in circles about it. Even more insignificant. Unless you’re going to argue that these daily discussions are mass events?
This. Take some notes, Wimsey.
The thing that annoys me is that by the time TWOW is released most of us fans will probably already know most of what’s going to happen so when the book dies come out it won’t be as exciting. I was dying to read it months ago but now my excitement is slowly fading as time goes on
Where is Wert? Has he given up?
Nah, I don’t think he needs to take any notes. Wimsey could probably give classes to all of us!
So the model is hardly accurate: cherrypicked the timeframe to the ADwD writing, when we all know Martin wrote other ASOIAF books, no estimation of coefficients given for time/page TWOW regression analysis graph, assumptions not given, no confidence intervals, no distribution of probability and no variables that influence the writing process taken into consideration whatsoever. Still it IS a kind of a model. And everything that can be quantified can participate in a pattern study or modelling.
I mean I see absolutely no disrespect to Martin either. It is for fun and he is guessing. He might even guess it right!
This is exactly WHY we do statistical modeling. If things do not vary in a system, then it is not probabilistic: it is deterministic. You just use good old fashioned Boolean logic. GRRM writes 2 pages a day every day. The book is to be 1500 pages long. Ergo, it will take 1500/2 = 750 days to write.
However, as you note, this is a probabilistic system. That is, there is the GRRM factor: but there are the dozens of nuisance parameters. GRRM has a general writing speed. There is variation in this writing speed. However, he is GRRM: and over the course of time, the “good days” and “bad days” tend to be similar because, well, that is life.
Moreover, the idea that he is a “different” person is silly. Sure, he has changed: but the person he is today is the person he was yesterday ± tiny change, which was the person he was Monday ± tiny change, etc. That is, there is very strong autocorrelation in any sort of time series: i.e., the evolution of an individual. 2015 GRRM is much, much more like 2005 GRRM than he is different from 2015 GRRM.
Now, what Brynden has done here is a simple variant of a time-series analysis called an accumulation curve. (This also comes up a lot in sampling theory.) The rate at which you gather “hits” or “misses” shows shifts as the underlying rates shift. (Again, because of autocorrelation, GRRM’s rate on one day will be strongly correlated with his rate on the next day.) Now, one book is not a lot on which to go: ideally, you’d be doing this with numerous books. But sometimes you have to model on sparse data. What is telling is how well DwD seems to predict what we know so far about WoW. Would more data be nice? To be certain: but as this really is just a thought exercise, it is fine. (Obviously, you could not publish a research paper based on such sparse data: to do that, you probably would want to look at dozens of authors and several books each in order to test ideas about how much shifts are context dependent and how much of “rates” are intrinsic to individual authors.)
Indeed, it is a classic example of someone who does not understand statistics or the logical basis underlying statistical modeling! (I’ve given zeros for better answers in classes before, after all…..)
In that poster’s defense, he is a chemist: and with the exception of Quantum (“Theoretical”) Chemists (who apply quantum theory to chemical reactions), most chemists never learn anything about probability or statistics. (People use those two words interchangeably, but they are actually distinct albeit related concepts centered around one thing: every “GRRM” varies in nonrandom ways.) They work with deterministic systems, after all. Biologists, on the other hand, like physicists and geologists work with probabilistic systems: so, we do much more sophisticated analogs of this all the time.
Indeed, I have taught probabilistic modeling & methods before! (By coincidence, it is why I know as much about literature as I do: I dated a lit grad student for a while when I was learning stuff like this in graduate school. I sometimes joked that she taught me how to read: I certainly never saw literature the same way after my time with her!)
And you are correct: basing this on just one book means that the error bars on it are, well, unimaginably large. However, the fact that we seem to have a good fit with the reported rate of accumulation of Winter suggests that the basic GRRM-is-effin’-slow parameter explains most of the overall rate of writing.
Jumping Jesus…are we still on about this shit?! We should start taking bets in Vegas on thewhole enterprise. We’d stand a better chance of winning…
The book will come out when it will come out. That is that. We can’t do anything about it. The show is the show, the books are the books. I’d rather wait and get a good novel than some rushed through mediocre piece of shit…which is what a lot of today’s fantasy literature looks like, with authors who think volume and speed equals quality.
Martin’s pace is his own, and if he decides to wipe his arse with all of this and walk away from it, it is his right. I’ll be saddened, because I like “A Song Of Ice And Fire”…and life will go on…
Damn this is repetitive and unecessary…
I dub thee Sir Loco of Tautology….
Guys, computational chemistry is not the exact same as statistics. Neither is engineering. Just because they fall under the (very) general umbrella of science doesn’t make them statistics. Scientific disciplines can be very different from one another and are used for many different things. Being an expert in one relatively narrow field doesn’t mean you are an expert at the others.
I’m not saying that the predictions in this article are accurate. Personally I agree with Ludo that circumstances surrounding the series have changed enough over the last 10 years that the original data taken from the published books is not really relevant anymore. But I don’t think that it’s impossible to reconcile science and art though. It might not work in this specific case but it has worked in others. Science often involves thinking in creative ways to come up with solutions, AND going places others wouldn’t think of going for whatever reasons.
Yeah, that’s what I thought. ‘We should be examining our words’ based on accusation alone. That was pretty much the worst thing you could have responded. You’re suggesting a person should have a presumption of guilt even on the most tenuous accusations.
Maybe we shouldn’t be examining our words, maybe we should be examining the accusation.
Basically, you say, if someone calls you an arsehole that’s bad, but if someone labels you a hater of women, you should have to explain why you aren’t. Do you see how preposterous that is?
You said I was against progressivism earlier, or something. I’m not. I am a progressive. But I can’t stand your approach. For blatantly obvious reasons.
I’m off again.
I am a chemist. I work with a ton of chemists. We all deal with statistics regularly. Chemistry is only “deterministic” in a world with no human error, no measurement error, and perfectly pure materials. Obviously, that ain’t our world. In practice, half of your time in grad school is spent trying to find that gremlin in your system that is causing all sorts of unacceptable noise and irreproducibility.
Seriously, the last bug we weeded out was because a company located in the same building was doing a renovation, and drywall dust contaminated our material with calcium.
Dude, stop going on about this. Calling out sexism or racism or homophobia is not a bad thing. Because it’s constructive criticism that can actually help correct someone’s behavior. Calling someone an ass is not constructive criticism, since all it does is attack someone and make them feel bad. There is a difference there that you seem unable (or simply unwilling) to grasp.
Sure you are.
And that is what makes it probabilistic rather than deterministic. GRRM, however, is still largely the same person. The different circumstances create the variance around the mean that is GRRM, and any “Brownian motion” in how GRRM evolves is going to be limited by the fact that it modifies an existing state rather than creating a new one. (This is Evolution 101!)
Just to be very clear here, engineering is NOT science. Engineering uses principles derived from science. However, the vast majority of engineers are like medical doctors (who also are not scientists): they work to find a “correct” diagnosis rather than assess the relatively plausibility of alternative ideas.
Scientists are people who test hypotheses derived from theory concerning the physical and biological world. If you do not test hypotheses, then you are not a scientist. Of course, not all hypothesis testers are scientists: people in the humanities test hypotheses, too. However, that makes scientists a type of researcher. The vast majority of engineers and medical doctors are not researchers, so they definitely cannot be considered scientists.
This actually causes a lot of problems publicly because engineers and doctors weigh in on science issues when they just do not have a clue about what they are talking.
Most hypotheses in chemistry are deterministic, not probabilistic. (Chemistry derived from quantum theory is the chief exception with which I am familiar.) The statistics with which most such chemists are concerned involves measurement error rather than testing a hypothesis that predicts outcome A X% of the time, outcome B Y% of the time, outcome C Z% of the time. I have had some rather amusing experiences with chemists because of this: they tend to view statistics as something that lab grunts do, and not something that the researcher should be doing!
(And by a “Chemist,” I mean someone who tests hypotheses related to different aspects of chemical theory: I do not include people who work with chemicals for other reasons.)
That’s completely incorrect and comes across as rather condescending. Engineering IS definitely a science. So is medicine. Just because you define science in an unusual way doesn’t mean that you are right. Science is a very broad field. It’s the field that deals with observational data and trying to find explanations on why/how/when/where things occur the way they do. Do you honestly think engineers and doctors don’t use science (physics and biology) in their daily lives, in almost every day? Would anyone even trust a doctor unless they have studied long and hard and give medications based on evidence and observation on how the body works? And what on earth makes you think that doctors don’t evaluate alternatives? That’s a major part of what they do, in figuring out what treatments would best affect what people, the risks and benefits of surgery vs. less invasive care, the relative efficacy of medications etc.
Observation, analysis and application are ALL parts of science. If your work involves more of one than the other, that doesn’t make you a higher “level” of scientist. It doesn’t make your work more “sciencey” either.
I find it hilarious that you’re lamenting the intrusion of others into your field of expertise, and yet at the same time excluding entire fields from science based on your own unfamiliarity with them. I get that you’re annoyed that you think some doctors and engineers intervene where it’s not necessary. But there’s no need to make outrageous statements like “engineering and medicine are not science”.
When I said circumstances, I specified that the circumstances revolved not around GRRM, but around the series itself – i.e. the big elephant in the room, the prime suspect, the HBO show! Now that the show is here, and the show is pressing on, circumstances surrounding the books have changed to an extent that I believe the original data is not really valid anymore…
So if you look at GRRM as the mean, yeah probably not a whole lot has changed. He still has the same wife, the same job, the same fascination for NFL etc. But the series itself, that’s undergone major changes due to D&D. At this point, it’s not even necessary for him to write an ending, since we would have one already from HBO!
By the way, individuals don’t evolve. Populations do. ;P
is spoiler /spoiler the way to do spoiler tags? ( with greater and lesser than symbols)
it doesn’t work in the previews ….
The opening spoiler tag is like this, without the spaces: [ spoiler ]
The closing one is like this, again without spaces: [ /spoiler ]
OH awesome, I was using rather than [ ]
I really like Maggie’s Summary, it gave just enough info to get me excited and not so much that the show is flat and predictable when I watch it.
Not quite right. He was writing Avalon in 1990-91, got about 100 MS pages into it and was interrupted by visualising the first chapter of AGoT. That then took over and Avalon got left behind on his hard drive (apparently it’s still there, and he hasn’t ruled out finishing it after ASoIaF, which may make ASoIaF the biggest tangent in writing history). What interrupted AGoT after 100-odd MS pages was the Doorways TV series.
I’m not entirely comfortable with that description, as it overstates things a bit. I know George, we’ve met maybe four times in ten years (at signings and conventions), I did one interview with him, we’ve swapped a couple of emails and that’s pretty much it in terms of our personal relationship. Most of the analysis comes from studying the interviews with him and his writing modus operandi over the 17 or so years since Westeros started operating and coallating his interviews and updates. We’re not in frequent contact and I don’t have the inside track on what’s going on with TWoW. In fact, AFAIK whilst Elio and Linda have had sneaks at WoW material, even they don’t seem to have a strong handle on his WoW progress. George is playing this one very, very close to his chest, much moreso than the previous books.
Oh no…no Tautology…I’m from Spain…errr Dorne…and Tautology does not work on us Dornishmen…
But you are “Sir Loco Of Tautology!”..says Wimsey…So Sir Loco replies “Mind tricks don’t work on me…outlander,…waving your hand around…what? You think you’re some kind of a Jedi?”
But I did turn to my mother and asked her, “Mommy, what is Titology?!” “I don’t know son…”, she replied, “…its either a clusterfuck…or breast feeding…”, “Actually, I’m not that sure…”.
See I could continue like that…but what would be the point…wasted words on a wasteland mind…
So who gives a fuck?!
I have given up on him. His slow pace combined with his physical condition (old age and his appearance – morbid obesity) make it unlikely he will be able to finish before he dies. I have mostly enjoyed his books except for one or two in which the characters were doing nothing for 1000 pages, so it’s sad that this will end like Robert Jordan.
Are you saying statistics can’t be used to describe human behavior? That’s stunningly ignorant.
Econometrician here. I think the analysis is perfectly fine. It isn’t a probabilistic analysis since it doesn’t impose a probability model on the data, it just calculates some very reasonable “bookend” estimates. I would actually be more worried if there were regression lines, time series analysis, etc.
The only note I’m taking, personally, is that the writer does not understand the difference between descriptive models (which just look at the data without attempting to understand what drives the numbers) and interpretive models (which do attempt to factor in all the important events/drivers).
The analysis here is a descriptive analysis. It just looks at the numbers and extrapolates. Nothing wrong with that. Again, I would be more worried if the author attempted to use events in GRRM’s life as predictors. I’m looking at you, 538.
Apologies for overstating the relationship — my assumption was due to the acknowledgement in A Dance with Dragons. I know we’ve conversed on Westeros some, but I’m deadly curious on the radio silence on progress. I know that George felt that he got burned in announcing progress updates for ADWD, but a part of me has this sinking feeling that progress updates have been less frequent on account of less-than-stellar progress. Is that pessimism unwarranted?
No kidding, he said it will come out between 2016-2019, ofc he will “guess it” right 😉
Unknown. It might be that GRRM’s progress has been highly unsatisfactory and he doesn’t want to deal with the controversy that going public on that would cause. It is also possible that his progress has been impressive, he’s closing in on the finish line and everything’s going smoothly and he doesn’t trust that and is worried he might hit another Meereenese Knot at the last hurdle, so he’s keeping quiet until it’s really done and he can announce it’s finished with no arguments required.
I think there’s been a key change in that back in 2011 there was maybe a million people who’d read the books worldwide and just a couple of thousand who were really keenly following his progress. Today it’s maybe ten million people who’ve read the books worldwide and tens of thousands of people are really keenly following his progress. He may have decided the policy of (relative) openness he followed with ADWD would not be appropriate to this larger audience (every update he gives now is discussed and re-discussed on dozens, if not hundreds, of websites) and is keeping everything quiet until he’s ready to go.
Yes, it’s bad form. Bad BryndenBFish! But no harm done in this case. For the record, I ChillyPolly, am not Philth, and Philth is not ChillyPolly.
I objected to some of the things said “In the Complete Winds of Winter Resource” because it purported to provide real “confirmed” information, and I felt some of it was misleading.
I did glance briefly at this article, but saw on my brief perusal no grounds for complaining about BryndenBFish’s “wild-ass guess” even if he does call it a SCIENTIFIC wild-ass guess. He has his wild-ass guess, and I have mine, and we will see who has guessed better with the passage of time.
Your not alone. I’m so done with the show. Season 5 was the end for me. It’s going rouge in a bad, stupidly chaotic way that is just confusing. Even if the show spoils one small thing for me, that is one too many. I much rather read it.
We will see WOW in late 2016/very early 2017. He could care less if he times it with the show or not. It’s going to be a huge seller regardless. I just hope he finishes the damn thing before he croaks. I didn’t put this much time into reading the monsters to have him die before I read the end.
2015 is impossible. I hope he is close to 3/4 of the book and we will get the info about publication in 2016.
Rereading this post I think that it is highly probable :
Well hello 2017
Yup, it’s April 2017 now still waiting. haha. Hopefully it will be soon.
Sue the Fury,
It might be time for an update on this great article by BFish 🙂 Please
Javi from Los Siete Reinos,
Lol, how is the optimistic date going?
If we are lucky he may get it finished when the show is finished. Most likely is going to be the pessimistic side of late 2018 early 2019. A dream of spring though, hell he may finish it until 2027 (probably be dead before)
It is so funny reading this in mid 2018 :D. Main mistake creator of this article made was wrong assumption GRRM was actually working on the book. Even at snail’s pace of just 1 page per day he would have finished the book by now not to mention he has worked on parts of it not just since 2011 but probably since 2001. The only reason why TWOW isn’t out is because GRRM is not working on it and probably hasn’t for several years. All sample chapters we’ve got (except perhaps Forsaken) were chapters cut from ADWD meaning he wrote them almost 10 years ago or more. I don’t think he wrote much stuff since 2013. That’s the year when he probably finished most of the notes for Targaryen histories they are now milking and when he wrote material for World of Ice and Fire. Sure he has other projects but he is not really writing Wild Card stories. HE is probably just deciding what to include and what not with underlings doing actual editing so that should not be taking much of his time. If he really thought he could get the books finished by 1.1.2016 I’ll give him benefit of doubt and say 2015 is the last year he was still writing but after his post about giving up on setting deadlines I say he has quit altogether and hasn’t written a page since late 2015.
Javi from Los Siete Reinos,
Cute article. Just checking in from the future late 2019.
the year is 2020, still no winds of winter
And the yearly update (2021) says, still no Winds of Winter
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