I’m not one of those people that rereads all the old books before reading the new one, I’d love to do that but you’d have to add about 4-6 hours into each day before I’d have the time. However, I have been thinking about the previous books, paging through them, reading timelines and character bios on A Wiki of Ice and Fire, as well as watching the TV show.
The show is a really great and largely faithful to the source material. I’ve heard George R.R. Martin is closely involved, so no one gets any smartpants ideas and starts ruining things with Hollywood endings. But the TV show is a double-edged sword (not unlike the Stark’s long-gone Valyrian-steel sword Ice) because while it is a dream come true for the fans of the novels, it is also introducing millions of non-readers to the story and call me an elitist, which I most certainly am, but being a Game of Thrones fan was like being a member of an exclusive club. Finishing the novels was like a badge of honor, you’d conquered the Seven Kingdoms, or at least the thousands of pages of text. It’s like if they built an escalator to the top of Mount Everest, it really wouldn’t really be the same anymore if you said you’d seen the top of Everest, would it?
I know that I am overreacting and that it’s a good thing for Martin to gain a bigger following, but it’s like what happened with the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. The Dinosaur is this great blues-biker bar/BBQ joint in Syracuse, NY, there is also one in Rochester, which is supposed to be just as good, but I haven’t been there. Anyway, in Syracuse the place is always crowded, because the BBQ is the best you have ever tasted (I usually get the pulled-pork). The music is blasting, the bikers are having a great time, you can bring your family, but you get the feeling that you’re a visitor in the biker’s hangout not the other way around.
Eventually the Dinosaur came to Manhattan in Harlem and I went there and there are no bikers, there is no attitude, no blues music. It’s all yuppies with their kids in high chairs and soft rock coming out of a jukebox. I could have been in Applebees or Ruby Tuesdays. The food was okay, but it just wasn’t the real Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.
So hopefully the TV show won’t reduce the bite of the series that has never pulled a punch, simplified a story or shied away from killing an important character.
As fans of the series know, the 4th book in the series, “A Feast for Crows” came out in November of 2005. It’s been 6 years. In 2005 I was fresh out of college and working as an ad salesman for a small town newspaper. I was living in a tiny town, Highland, NY, living in my first solo apartment and I’d just started dating a very nice girl. Six years later, I've completed Graduate school, gotten married to that nice girl, moved down to Philadelphia, and have our first baby on the way.
Meanwhile, Martin only just managed to finish a book he was supposed to be approximately 1/3 finished with back when “Feast” was published. If you recalled, basically the “Feast” manuscript was split into two volumes. According to Wikipedia, the final “Dance” manuscript was 1,510 manuscript pages. Now if we subtract 1/3 of that because that’s what was already finished by May 29, 2005 (the day Martin announced the “Feast” manuscript was completed) you have 1007 manuscript pages.
Okay there are 365.25 days in a year. So there are 1826.25 days in the 5 years between 2006 and 2010. The half-year in 2005 starting after May 29 yields 216 days and the half-year from Jan 1 to May 19, 2011 (When Martin announced he’d finished “Dance”) yields 139 days. All together that’s 2181.25 days.
When you divide that you see that Martin only averaged .461 manuscript pages a day, a low average for the guy that wrote “Clash of Kings” in two years.
And I don’t want to get morbid but hopefully Martin finishes the series before he is laid to rest in the Great Sept of Baelor. He’s in perfect health as far as I know, but I worry about him. George, no one wants your series to go the way of The Wheel of Time series, please take care of yourself, and write quickly!