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Will Winds of Winter EVER Be Released?

Short answer: I doubt it.

Now, what do I write for the next 1000 words? As hard as it might be to say now, “Game of Thrones” was a cultural touchstone at the height of its popularity.

Just like Everygame online casino is right now! It’s not hard to see why either, especially if we contrast it with the other major nerd series: Lord of the Rings.

While Lord of the Rings has the big, larger-than-life epic moments, with iconic characters and themes that have stood the test of time (and practically defined the genre as a whole for a long time), Game of Thrones contrasted this by being low in magic, dark, bloody, with no clear good guys- because all the good guys get stabbed.

Unlike Lord of the Rings, which has a relatively straightforward plot (get the ring to Mount Doom to stop the evil villain before he destroys the world), Game of Thrones is twisty and complex, with dozens of concurrent plots and subplots rolling within one another, and features a massive cast of characters- each with their own motivations, strengths, and weaknesses.

The TV Series

It’s no wonder nobody had taken a chance on something like it before it had come out. The closest I can find is historical dramas set in Rome, like “Sparticus” or, well, “Rome”. The staggering scope required for a show like Game of Thrones to work had never really been put to television, and it worked by proving that audiences did have the attention span to follow such a story. And its success has allowed other fantasy epics to be greenlit, like the in-progress “Wheel of Time”, “The Witcher”, and the yet-to-be-released “Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power”.

So if Game of Thrones, the TV show, was such a massive success, why do I think that the next installment of the novel is never going to be released? Well, I think that the answer lies in how the TV ended. Infamously, possibly for all time, Game of Thrones dropped the ball in season 8 by subverting all expectations and flopped miserably.

The writing, which had been renowned for how witty and smart it had been, had dropped into pointless rambling and endless dick-jokes. Character arcs that were expected to be completed were torn away at the last minute in order to pull a “Gotcha!” on the audience.

The problem is… those kinds of “Gotchas!” only work if the story properly sets them up. Sixth Sense, starring Bruce Willis, famously alludes to its mind-blowing plot twist by hinting at it in every scene from the very start of the film.

Game of Thrones, on the other hand, had built up very specific character arcs and then didn’t pay them off. As another famous fantasy author said, “Writing is about promises and payoffs”. Game of Thrones blew everyone’s minds initially by killing off both it’s main character and singular good guy, Ned Stark, in the first season.

As the story played out, it narrowed down its cast of heroes to a core conglomerate (Jon, Arya, Sansa, Tyrion, Daenerys, Bran) and even set up a redemption arc for one of its main villains (Jamie Lannister). Then, in order to “subvert expectations”, Daenerys goes crazy, Jon is exiled to the north for killing her, and Jamie decides, “Nah, I’m gonna join my evil sister anyway”- which leaves Bran, of all people, on the Iron Throne.

And these aren’t necessarily “bad” outcomes for the story. The problem was that the writers had done none of the work to set up those outcomes. Compare it to the writing before George Martin left, and there are incredibly memorable moments like the Red Wedding and Hodor’s death, and they work because of the incredible amount of work that had gone into setting them up beforehand.

So here’s what I think happened: George Martin decided to leave the show to go work on Winds of Winter. To finish the show, he gave the TV show writers a rough outline of all the major plot points he intended to get to. Bran on the Iron Throne, Daenerys going crazy, etc.

The TV show comes out and kind of just bullrushes towards all those plot points without really bothering to figure out how to get from A to B to Z. As a result, everyone gets pissed off, and the eighth season’s reception is a complete catastrophe.

Where We Are Now

So, where does that leave Martin himself? Well, the plot points the show has run were the plot points he intended to write… except that now everyone hates it. Martin lost all of his momenta and could not pull himself together enough to write down his version of the ending.

There are too many characters and plot threads (far more than the show), and closing them all up satisfactorily knowing that people are so opposed to the main stuff is a massive undertaking that he just can’t be bothered with.

With no drive to continue, the series has floundered and will probably never be finished. George has also adamantly opposed the idea of another author taking up the series to finish it, even if George dies before it’s done.

And that’s where Game of Thrones is at the moment, I think. Unfinished and left at the cliffhanger of Jon Snow’s death, but without any of anticipation for what comes next because the TV series has essentially spoiled everything already.

The fanbase is slowly trickling away as they come to the same conclusion as me or have simply grown impatient and are moving on. George himself is working on other projects, like Elden Ring and The Rise of the Dragon. He doesn’t want to continue and refuses to let anyone else continue it.

The fact of the matter is, that fans can smell dishonesty, and the nearly fifteen-year period since the last novel was released has done little to show good faith. George R. R. Martin constantly promises that he is still working on Winds of Winter when it’s clear that he’s not, which would be fine if he were to just own up to it already and admit it.


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