I suppose you can find a silver lining in everything, and in the case of COVID-19 shutting down large swaths of the world, it’s that A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin is apparently spending a lot of time in Westeros — good news for those of us waiting for The Winds of Winter, perhaps?
Martin posted an update of sorts on his NotABlog on March 17, letting readers know that he’s shuttered his Meow Wolf arts and entertainment company, the Jean Cocteau Cinema, and his non-profit Stagecoach Foundation. The venues, all based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, will remain closed until April 15 as a precautionary measure.
Martin also assured readers that — despite being in the “high-risk” category for the virus, given his age — he feels fine and is taking “all sensible precautions,” including self-quarantine. So how is he spending his time? The answer is heartening (in a way) for ASOIAF readers:
“I am off by myself in a remote isolated location, attended by one of my staff, and I’m not going in to town or seeing anyone. Truth be told, I am spending more time in Westeros than in the real world, writing every day. Things are pretty grim in the Seven Kingdoms… but maybe not as grim as they may become here.”
Spending more time in Westeros than the real world, you say? WRITING EVERY DAY, YOU SAY? We’ve all been fooled before when Martin makes any indication that TWOW is being worked on, but in these uncertain times, we’ll take what we can get to lift our spirits.
Meanwhile, we found out that truly no one is safe from COVID-19, including our boisterous freefolk fav, Tormund Giantsbane. Actor Kristofer Hivju posted on Instagram on March 17 that he has, unfortunately, tested positive for the virus:
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Greetings from Norway! Sorry to say that I, today, have tested positive for COVID19, Corona virus. My familiy and I are self-isolating at home for as long as it takes. We are in good health – I only have mild symptoms of a cold. There are people at higher risk for who this virus might be a devastating diagnosis, so I urge all of you to be extremely careful; wash your hands, keep 1,5 meters distance from others, go in quarantine; just do everything you can to stop the virus from spreading. Together we can fight this virus and avert a crisis at our hospitals. Please take care of each other, keep your distance, and stay healthy! Please visit your country's Center for Disease Control's website, and follow the regulations for staying safe and protecting not just yourselves, but our entire community, and especially those at risk like the elderly and people with pre-existing conditions. @grymolvaerhivju #fightcorona #solidarity #takecare #folkehelseinstituttet Thanks to @panoramaagency
It doesn’t sound as though it’s affecting him terribly, and he only has “mild symptoms of a cold,” so here’s hoping for a speedy recovery for Hivju and his family!