Game of Thrones fans, beware! Your pestering of George R. R. Martin over when he will publish the next book in the Song of Ice and Fire series has brought the situation to a head, and Martin is raising the stakes to get you to stop bothering him.
Not really, but the fan-favorite author took to his Twitter feed yesterday to let us all know just how much power he has over the characters we've all grown to know and love. The Game of Thrones scribe posted a meme picture of himself with some foreboding text on it.
"Every time someone asks me how long until the next book," Martin's meme reads, "I kill a Stark."
Martin, of course, is referring to one of the central families of the Game of Thrones world, the Starks of Winterfell. They've had a rough run in the series so far, with Ned losing his head in the first season, Bran getting paralyzed, Robb and Catelyn getting offed at the Red Wedding, and Robb's wife getting stabbed in the baby at that same wedding.
[Related: Bide the time until the next Game of Thrones season or book with these Game of Thrones-related distractions]
By now, the Starks are pretty much no more as a family. Sansa is off in the Vale under the tutelage of Littlefinger. Bran is somewhere under the frozen wastes of the North, becoming a greenseer thanks to instruction from the Three Eyed Crow. Rickon is on a quest to find his relevance to the Game of Thrones series. Jon Snow, bastard son of Ned Stark, is rising in the ranks of the Night's Watch on the Game of Thrones TV series, but those of us who read the books know what happens to him. For the Watch, indeed.
And there's Arya, who has jetted off to Braavos, as she believes her whole family dead. You leave Arya alone, Martin! We're serious! You touch Arya, and one day, when you think you're safe, your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth.
Martin's latest commentary on his progress in producing Game of Thrones books came a day after the writer had some pretty choice words for fans talking about him possibly dying before the series is finished.
"[F]**k you to those people," Martin said in an interview. "I find that question pretty offensive, frankly..."
The Song of Ice and Fire series debuted in 1996, making it almost 20 years it's taken Martin to finish six books in what was initially meant to be a trilogy. The last book, A Dance With Dragons, was released three years ago, and Martin is iffy on whether the next installment, The Winds of Winter, will hit shelves even within the next year.
[Related: George R. R. Martin releases a paragraph from The Winds of Winter. Yep, a paragraph.]
HBO, which produces the Game of Thrones TV series, isn't too upset with Martin's slow pace on the next book. That's probably because Martin has already tipped the end of the series to Game of Thrones' showrunners, likely along with any notes and outlines on structure that Martin already has.
So nobody with any kind of sway is going to get Martin to speed up on Winds of Winter. And don't bother him! If you're anxious for the next book, just go, um... read the comics or the Dunk and Egg series. He's a madman, and he's shown he'll kill in the past. We need all of the Starks we can get!