Shawn Speakman, one of the bloggers over at Suvudu, has long been a defender of George R.R. Martin. Whenever bellyaching occurs at the Official Terry Brooks Forum (a forum dedicated to Brooks, but home to a lively discussion of other authors as well), he is the first one to jump in and defend Martin against those who think Martin owes them something.
The Terry Brooks forum is far from the only place where people complain about Martin’s ‘slowness’, and Speakman has written a compelling argument about why people should give Martin a break. It’s long, but certainly worth the read.
A Song of Ice & Fire is an extremely powerful story that invokes passion in all who read it.
That passion is a double-edged sword, able to cut an enemy as quickly as its bearer. While the four books and two short stories that comprise A Song of Ice & Fire are universally garnered as being some of the best storytelling ever, animosity swirls around George. The fourth book, A Feast For Crows, took five years to be published and it contained only half of the characters fans have come to love. Upon publishing A Feast For Crows, George posted that he was near to completing the other half of the story, A Dance With Dragons, with the novel coming to bookstores quickly.
That was three years ago and A Dance With Dragons is still not complete.
This has aroused a great deal of anger for many of George’s fans. Five years is a long time to wait for a sequel to arguably one of the best fantasy series of all time, especially when most writers are able to produce sequels between one and three years. But as I’ve come to discover, anger is one of the least logical emotions we possess; it can lead people to conclusions that are not wholly accurate—if not down right wrong. Much of the animosity I see written about George and his lateness is colored by that kind of anger and, while I believe there are two instances where fans of A Song of Ice & Fire are more than allowed their ire, most of it lacks any authenticity whatsoever.
This article hopes to dispel some of those erroneous angry feelings and assumptions out there—or at least give a different side to things that most readers probably have not thought of.
Speakman hits the nail on the head when he alludes to the double edge of the passion wielded by Martin’s fans. It’s that passion, that desire for the world, the characters and the story of A Song of Ice and Fire, that sets Martin’s fans apart from others. Without those passionate fans, Martin’s series would not be at such soaring heights of popularity today and, ironically, he might not be afforded the luxury of taking years to finish each volume. At this point, George certainly doesn’t right for money and clearly wants to put out the best possible novel. That same passion that drives people to be such fanatics of his series is also the same passion that fuels the accusations of laziness, lack of enthusiasm of just plain ol’ football fever that are constantly leveled at Martin by his ‘fans’.