When the Santa Fe New Mexican published a post suggesting that Neil Gaiman would help George R.R. Martin finish his highly-anticipated novel, several media outlets immediately picked up the story. However, even if the two writers’ collaboration will certainly yield an exceptional Winds of Winter story, the publication was merely making a fun hypothesis.
“The silver bullet to this hypothesis? It would be awesome. Any reader, or fan of fantasy, science fiction, fiction in general, loves this possibility: George emailing his penpal Neil to come for a visit and take a look at what he’s got; the two go for a few long walks in the brisk February air; they discuss the next steps for Sam Tarly at the Citadel; the book comes out next Thursday. Come on. You want this. Just don’t think about it too hard.”
Gaiman took to Twitter to deny that he’d co-write the book.
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) February 19, 2016
Some fans cannot be blamed, especially because Gaiman is friends with GRRM. In 2009, the American Gods author even defended the Game of Thrones novelist. One fan told Gaiman that GRRM let him down because of the delays in his book publishing schedule.
Through a blog post, Gaiman emphasized that “writers and artists aren’t machines.”
“You’re complaining about George doing other things than writing the books you want to read as if your buying the first book in the series was a contract with him: that you would pay over your ten dollars, and George for his part would spend every waking hour until the series was done, writing the rest of the books for you.”
He added that readers who are difficult to please are the “biggest problem with series books.”
“It seems to me that the biggest problem with series books is that either readers complain that the books used to be good but that somewhere in the effort to get out a book every year the quality has fallen off, or they complain that the books, although maintaining quality, aren’t coming out on time.”
GRRM recently apologized to fans for missing a key deadline that eventually pushed back the Winds of Winter release date. For those wondering why it is taking him more than five years to complete Winds of Winter, Martin once blamed distraction as the reason and not the classic writer’s block.
Martin claims that he only writes when he’s home and not when he’s in airplane or hotels. When he travels for conventions or speaking events, he leaves his manuscript at home, because that’s the only place he feels undisturbed. He also admits having assistants whose sole responsibility is to ensure outsiders don’t disturb him when he’s writing Winds of Winter.
Furthermore, when asked by a blog reader if he’d write something for Game of Thrones Season 7, Martin’s answer was firm.
“I am not writing anything until I deliver WINDS OF WINTER. Teleplays, screenplays, short stories, introductions, forewords, nothing. And I’ve dropped all my editing projects but Wild Cards.”
The novelist did not mention if he would cancel some of his scheduled appearances this year, including a convention in Roanoke, Virginia, and a book fair in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Game of Thrones Season 6 is set to come out in two months, and despite fans’ concern that the show might spoil the book, Martin assured that there would be differences. Even HBO chairman Richard Pepler is confident that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss won’t violate the integrity of Martin’s story.
[Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images]