George R.R. Martin has been bad with deadlines his entire life, he admitted in a Live Journal entry this morning. But it's only now truly caught up with him in a big way: Martin revealed in the very sincere posting that he has missed all his 2015 deadlines, and the much-anticipated Winds Of Winter, the next book in the Game Of Thrones (aka A Song Of Fire And Ice) saga, won't be released before the next season of the hugely-popular television show.
"Believe me, it gave me no pleasure to type those words," Martin wrote. "You're disappointed, and you're not alone. My editors and publishers are disappointed, HBO is disappointed, my agents and foreign publishers and translators are disappointed... but no one could possibly be more disappointed than me. For months now I have wanted nothing so much as to be able to say, 'I have completed and delivered THE WINDS OF WINTER' on or before the last day of 2015. But the book's not done." To say the least, truly disappointed, truly truly truly.
For the first time in the show's history, television viewers will be wholly ahead of book readers—we can safely say there will never be another Red Wedding reactions video-type occurrence again.
Martin talks about how much work has to be done ("Hundreds of pages. Dozens of chapters. "), his many distractions over this past year ("You can blame my travels or my blog posts or the distractions of other projects and the Cocteau and whatever, but maybe all that had an impact... you can blame my age, and maybe that had an impact too.."), and his general hatred of deadlines ("For whatever reason, I don't respond well to them"). But the main point is that he (and his publishes and HBO and every fan of the series) wanted to finish the book before the new year, and that hasn't happened:
Here it is, the first of January. The book is not done, not delivered. No words can change that. I tried, I promise you. I failed. I blew the Halloween deadline, and I've now blown the end of the year deadline. And that almost certainly means that no, THE WINDS OF WINTER will not be published before the sixth season of GAME OF THRONES premieres in April (mid April, we are now told, not early April, but those two weeks will not save me). Even as late as my birthday and our big Emmy win, I still thought I could do it... but the days and weeks flew by faster than the pile of pages grew, and (as I often do) I grew unhappy with some of the choices I'd made and began to revise... and suddenly it was October, and then November... and as the suspicion grew that I would not make it after all, a gloom set in, and I found myself struggling even more. The fewer the days, the greater the stress, and the slower the pace of my writing became.
Now as for spoilers...what can you do? "Given where we are, inevitably, there will be certain plot twists and reveals in season six of GAME OF THRONES that have not yet happened in the books," he write. "For years my readers have been ahead of the viewers. This year, for some things, the reverse will be true. How you want to handle that... hey, that's up to you." He does add that because of some of the divergent paths the show has taken by necessity (simplifying the narrative so HBO viewers need not worry about characters such as Jeyne Poole), not all season six spoilers will be the same as the book.
But suffice to say, there will be a lot of things—including the inevitable return of You-Know-Who-Who-Knows-Nothing—that will be huge spoilers for anyone saving themselves for the novel. As for those who exclusively watch the show (and write exhaustively nutty recaps of the show), well...at least we know GoT is coming back in mid-April!