George R.R. Martin who, last we heard was “deep in the heart of Westeros,” has taken to his Not A Blog to grace us with some juicy updates on The Winds of Winter and House of the Dragon.
He begins his Not A Blog post with a touch of salt, observing, “Sometimes I do get the feeling that most of you reading my posts here care more about what is happening in Westeros than what is happening in the United States.”
I admit, the first time I read this I worried that this was a thesis statement, that the entire post would be an examination of why some people (#NotAllFans) prioritize fictional politics over real ones. Fortunately, I was wrong. Martin doesn’t mention the United States again. Rather, in the very next sentence he assures us that he is still plugging away at The Winds of Winter.
“No, sorry, still not done, but I do inch closer. It is a big big book. I try not to dwell on that too much. I write a chapter at a time, a page at a time, a sentence at a time, a word at a time. It is the only way. And sometimes I rewrite.”
Specifically, he says that he’s been “spending a lot of time with the Lannisters,” especially Cersei and Tyrion, and has journeyed to Dorne and Oldtown. He’s also been revising chapters he’s already written, including ones that he read at cons “ages ago” and even posted online as samples.
This is particularly intriguing to me, because the eleven sample chapters that have been released in one form or another (Theon I, Victarion I, Tyrion I, Tyrion II, Arianne I, Arianne II, Barristan I, Barristan II, Mercy, Alayne I, The Forsaken) have been hitherto treated by the fandom as canon.
Now to be clear, Martin describes his revision process as “tweak[ing] stuff constantly, and sometimes go[ing] beyond tweaking, moving things around, combining chapters, breaking chapters in two, reordering stuff.” Nothing in his description suggests a complete overhaul of content. Still, we know that Martin takes the gardener approach to writing, letting his characters and plot lines grow organically. Who knows what changes have “grown” since 2011?
“On other fronts,” Martin writes “[W]ell, aside from Covd-19 slowing everything down, we are making great progress on the HBO prequel HOUSE OF THE DRAGON. Ryan [Sapochnik] and Miguel [Condal] are in London, casting has begun, it is all looking very exciting.”
He expresses less optimism, however, for other television projects that he’s involved in.
“I wish I could say that things are also going great on all the other television and film projects I am involved with, either as a producer” (*cough* Who Fears Death *cough*) “or as the author of the original source material (i.e. novels and short stories). I can’t. Very little shooting is taking place, and almost nothing is being greenlit. Of course, development continues… but there’s a reason they call it ‘development hell.’ Sigh.”
Martin ends his post with “Hang in there, friends,” and I don’t think I’m reaching when I say that a sense of exhaustion and stress is palpable in this post (who in the world isn’t exhausted and stressed right now?). But his updates are encouraging and I’m especially tantalized by the revisions he’s making to the chapters we think we’ve already read.