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’.

All right. Let me begin by relating my opinion on why these fans do indeed have a valid argument to be downright nasty and rancorous.

As this is a business, and contracts are a reality, deadlines must be kept. To not do so is to be unprofessional. Fans have every right to be upset about George being unprofessional. That is a very valid argument and one I believe as well.

Second, the moment George turned in A Feast For Crows, he told his fans how the book had been split asunder, his reasons for doing it, and that A Dance With Dragons would be released relatively soon. He hoped to finish A Dance With Dragons by the end of 2006, according to his website, which would have been a year after the publication of A Feast For Crows. His words, not mine.

That self-imposed deadline by George was also not met. It misled his fans into believing the next book would be published within a year after A Feast For Crows. Whether that is just poor planning by George or a lie, no one knows—I prefer to think the craft of writing George employs gave him poor judgment and that there was no malicious intent on his part to mislead his fans. Disappointment is hard to swallow though; it festers and won’t let go in those who aren’t practiced at it. Those fans feel lied to, maybe even manipulated, and they certainly have another valid argument there I cannot disagree with.

To be fair, Martin did shoot himself in the foot several times leading up to his final decision to (more or less) keep silent about release dates and progress on A Dance with Dragons. He should have kept his mouth shut all along. If he hadn’t mentioned that A Dance with Dragons was only a few months behind A Feast for Crows, I doubt we’d have nearly as many irate fans as we do. Sure, people would be mad (it’s the Internet folks, what more can you expect?), but perhaps not feeling as betrayed.

The Internet is a powerful tool for authors. Some use it wisely, like the wise cracking Joe Abercrombie and Patrick Rothfuss; some don’t use it at all, like Greg Keyes or Scott Lynch; and then some use it poorly, like George R.R. Martin.

Here’s a tip, George, if you’re listening: if you’re years late on a book that people are slavering over don’t make constant posts about Football, don’t make posts about little beautifully painted figurines, don’t make posts about politics. Now, I’m not qualified to judge how hard you’re working (probably very, you seem like a busy man), and I don’t begrudge you being a Football fan (Hockey fan here!), or your other hobbies, nor to I think they should be put aside in the face of writing. But, and there’s always a but, every one of those posts just reaffirms fans fears that you’re just not working hard enough on your novel. Blog lots, but make sure that each and every one of those posts ensures fans that A Dance with Dragons is on track to be the best damn novel you’ve ever written.

I’ve discovered two different kinds of writers in all my years being around them. There are those I call Outliners and those I call Freewriters. They are very different.

A Freewriter knows very little about where the story is taking them. When they sit down at the keyboard, they act almost like a medium, a vessel where the story comes through them onto the written page. They don’t outline but instead write what comes to them in the moment with very little planning if any at all. Often Freewriters are reduced to using deux ex machina or having to backtrack their way out of situations they have written themselves into. As an example, Stephen King is a Freewriter.

George is, from what I understand, a Freewriter.

So, what does that mean? Well, it means George does not plan in advance what he writes. As a result, George will often write several chapters, which takes up several weeks, decide on a different and better course of direction, and have to erase those chapters—and quite possibly several others that came before them. Those weeks are gone with no output to show for it other than having a better sense of where he is going. According to him, that very thing has happened several times over the course of the last few years, delaying A Feast For Crows and now A Dance With Dragons. Unlike King, who sometimes has lackluster endings to his novels due to, in my opinion, lack of planning, George is an editor who will not publish something unless it is done right. The manner in which George writes can be volatile to the reader who believes George just needs to spend a certain amount of time at the keyboard to produce a manuscript.

Like Speakman, I am an Outliner. In working on my current novel, Through Bended Grass, I know the twist and the turns, I knew how it ended before I wrote the first word. It scares me to think of going into writing any novel without having a firm grasp on the story. The idea that Martin would tackle something as massive as A Song of Ice and Fire without outlining it is, frankly, terrifying. In fact, this is probably one of the major reasons that A Song of Ice and Fire has taken spread well beyond the planned trilogy and is still, 13 years later, expanding with no end in sight.

But (and didn’t I say there would always be a but?), Martin’s ‘Freewriting’ is probably also the reason his series is as successful as it is. Let’s be honest here, A Song of Ice and Fire doesn’t get by on its originality – Dragons? Check. Armies? Check. Mysterious race living in the far north? Check. Children shaping the history of the world? Check – but rather it is the execution of the story that excels. Martin has the indelible ability to keep the reader always on the edge of their seat, he’s proven time and time again that nobody is safe, that even if you think you know what’s going on, you have no idea.

Martin is unpredicatble because of his ‘Freewriting’. Oftentime, while reading a novel that was obviously outlined before writing, one can get a sense of the overall narrative structure and can sense events happening far before they do. Leave it to ominous foreshadowing or simply poor storytelling skills, but outlining, in some cases, can hurt a writer if they make the process too obvious. Martin, as a freewriter, avoids this because he doesn’t necessarily know what’s coming next.

When I was only a reader and had not dabbled in the craft of writing or spent any time around those who use it, I always imagined that all a writer had to do was sit at a keyboard, hit keys for hours a day, and at the end of a year a book would exist. Seems plausible, right? Perfectly logical.

The reality is quite different—and more complex.

Every writer I have spoken to comes to a point in their creative day where, no matter how much they wish differently, the written word just does not happen the way it should. The writing becomes stagnant; it becomes useless and is simply not good enough to be published. No matter if the writer sits and tries to hammer their way through, nothing changes. To sit at the keyboard during that time is a waste of time.

I call it the Creative Wall.

All writers come to that Wall during their writing day, at least all writers I know. The average amount of time differs between writers. For instance, Terry Brooks spends between five or six hours a day before he is simply burnt out. Steven Erikson, on the other hand, doesn’t come to his Creative Wall until seven or eight hours have passed. For me, it is four or five hours. Every writer is different; every writer deals with it.

George comes to a Wall during his writing day too.

Oh god, tell me about it. Any creative type – painter, designer, musician, blogger, writer, etc… – can attest to this. I’d love to be able to sit down and write for 8 straight hours every day. But I can’t. My Creative Wall hits after a few hours and I need to move on to something else for the day. It could be hard to explain to those who are the creative type, but in the end, as wonderful as writing for a living must be, it is, in the end, a career and has all the negatives associated with having to work for a living.

“Push through it,” you say? Not so fast. Speakman explains why:

George is writing A Dance With Dragons but he also happens to edit several projects throughout his work year, most notably the Wild Cards series. He requires time to edit these projects, to contact the other people who are a part of them, and ensure they are done up to his high standards.

That is time fans believe he should be writing on A Dance With Dragons.

That would be disastrous.

Every day, after George has hit his Creative Wall, he has many hours where he can work on other projects and enjoy his other hobbies. This is time he can’t use on A Dance With Dragons, as I’ve illustrated; once he has come to that Wall, any time spent writing is pointless. What his hobbies and additional projects give George, however, is far more important than anyone realizes. They allow him to recharge those creative batteries so he can return the next day feeling refreshed and ready to write on A Dance With Dragons again. Removing those hobbies from his life would result in the same stagnation that comes about when a writer hits their Creative Wall.

I got to a local cafe to write. They know me there, say ‘hi’ when I come in. It’s nice, a comfort zone that helps me be more productive. But even in a perfect environment I know when I’ve hit that creative wall. It can come on quick, it can be a slow burn, but once I’ve hit it, I leave. As mentioned earlier, writing is Martin’s job and no one can force themselves to work harder and longer than they’re able and stilll expect to produce the same quality of material.

Once upon a time, George was more up front about his progress. He would post what he had finished and when he hoped to be done. After that initial 2006 year when he said he’d have A Dance With Dragons wrapped up, however, things changed for George. The fans this article is mostly pointed at reared up and became more vocal, more angry. They sent their misgivings to George about A Dance With Dragons being late; they sent emails and made blog comments filled with rancor.

Those posts upset George. And why shouldn’t they? It took him a bit more than three years to write A Feast For Crows after changing direction and George had to feel good about that. To have his fans turn on him undoubtedly was painful—and probably made him angry. He realized there was no point updating his fans if every time he did it he would receive grief in his inbox and posted on his blog. So he stopped.

Now readers are angry George no longer updates his fans about his progress.

But let us analyze his Not a Blog. George talked about A Dance With Dragons approximately 28 times in the two years 2007-2008. That’s quite often, in my book, more than once a month on average. Some of his comments are just him assuring his fans he is working on the book, but some of the posts are George talking specifically about what point of view chapters he had finished or was working on. A Tyrion chapter here. A Dany chapter there. A Bran revision completed. A Jon Snow total rewrite accomplished.

These are updates.

Even if there is no meter to see where those updates stand in the completion of the book.

To want George to add more information about the completion time of Dragons when readers throw that progress immediately in his face is mesmerizing to me. Why would any writer want to do that to themselves?

This is one area where Speakman and I diverge. As I touched upon earlier, I think Martin should blog about the novel more. There’s reassurance in knowing how much work is being done. It doesn’t have to directly relate to the novel, or its progress, but there is so much a man with Martin’s experience could talk about to keep his fans content – comments on the creative process, musings on writing, talk about what novels he’s enjoying or stories from his career as an artist and the effect they’ve had on him as a writer.

Do we need to know that Martin wrote 700 words yesterday and then scrapped 589 of them today? Nope. But learning more about Martin as a writer and getting a peak behind the curtain at the creative process behind a future-classic could give readers more confidence that Martin is working on the project as hard as he can.

I doubt this article will change the opinions of those who have thrown heavy gauntlets into George’s face. Readers merely want the book in their hands and when it isn’t they get grouchy; many really don’t care about the why of it being late but rather that it is late. Each of us brings our own experiences and our own opinions to the fold and I’m not asking that my opinions be so readily incorporated as fact. My own opinions are, however, founded in the industry and the craft of writing and should at the very least be thought on.

After all, my conclusions have left me comfortable with George taking his time to make A Dance With Dragons the best book it can be.

Can you say the same?

The simple truth is: If you are unhappy with George, choose not to buy his books.

That is your right as a consumer just as it is his right to choose whether to write or not.

Speakman comes full circle here and brings us again to the subject of passion, albeit not directly. Martin has built something amazing, something to fall in love with, and, just like a scorned lover, those ‘fans’ of Martin’s work are feeling left out in the cold. Somewhere along the line, a certain (vocal) subset of Martin’s fans came under the impression that the author owes them something, that he has a responsibility towards them.

This is not true.

If someone loves the work of the author enough, should they not support them in its creation? We don’t know what Martin’s day-to-day routine is like, but I can only assume that he has much more invested in seeing A Song of Ice and Fire to completion than any fan does. It is his livelyhood and has been every single day for the past 13 years and beyond.

‘Rome was not built in a day’ and neither was The Lord of the Rings written overnight. In fact, Tolkien’s began his epic in the late 1937 and it did not see publication for another 17 years, in 1954. I’m certain that no one told Michelangelo to hurry up when he was painting the Sistine Chapel.

If you love the story, wait. I certainly haven’t wasted any time groaning about how long it has taken Martin to write A Dance of Dragons for one simple reason: there are hundreds of other novels out there and each one is worth your time.

I’ve only touched on a portion of Speakman’s article, but I highly suggest you read the whole thing. It’s well worth the time. Also worth the read are Adam’s thoughts over at The Wertzone which can be found HERE.

  • Doug Knipe [SciFiGuy] January 30, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    You are absolutely right that fans should not obsess over Ice and Fire when there are hundreds of other fine novels out there for us to discover. Of course it is interesting that you didn’t mention the possibility that Martin simply has writers block. Not only may he have hit the wall in his daily output but perhaps he has knocked himself out.

  • aidan January 30, 2009 at 9:05 pm


    Writer’s block is a possibility. That being said, I don’t really believe in writer’s block, especially not for someone with Martin’s history as a writer. He’s been writing for decades and has certainly learned a few of the tricks used to overcome writer’s block. It’s known that Martin will write whole chapters and then re-write them completely (if not scrapping them altogether) and perhaps this is a form of writer’s block. But it can’t be denied that, even if he doesn’t use a given chapter or section of a chapter, he’s at least writing and working out the story in his head.

    Frankly, I’d be a little concerned, given the complexity of A Song of Ice and Fire, if Martin was able to bang out a new novel every two years. Having outlined and mostly written a simple 90k contemporary fantasy with absolutely no politics, I can’t even begin to comprehend how Martin is able to keep everything straight in his head. He probably does a lot of staring at his computer screen, or walking his dog at the beach or mindlessly painting figurines, but any author will tell you that that’s part of the creative process.

    Like I mentioned in the article, I do think that Martin needs to be up front about his progress, because his silence does make one wonder if he’s suffering from the world’s worst case of writer’s block.

  • Shawn Speakman January 31, 2009 at 12:00 am

    What would writer’s block do though, Doug? It would stop him from writing. Which in turn would make his books late.

    As I showed in my article and as Adam posted over on Wertz, George has stayed on the three years per book wheel of writing. The first three books took nine years. Feast took 3 years. And right now we are at three years for Dragons at the worst. If Dragons is released this year, no one has ANY reason to gripe at all. At that point all they are griping about is, “George can only write a book every three years and I hate it. I wish it were two years or one year.” We all know that’s an insane criticism based on his history.

    It would be great if George updated his fans with more evocative and meaningful posts about Dragons, BUT, as I said, whenever he does update the fans rip him to shreds. Updates REMIND them how “late” he is and they take advantage of that. I can totally understand why he no longer writes long “Ice & Fire Updates” on his website because the amount of flack he gets by NOT updating is less than the flack he gets if he DOES update. Makes sense to me.

  • Shawn Speakman January 31, 2009 at 12:01 am

    Oh, and great post, Aidan. :)

  • Defending George | Mostly Geek January 31, 2009 at 1:40 am

    […] finished A Dance of Dragons yet: one (in two parts) from The Wertzone, one from Suvudu and one from A Dribble of Ink (although this is more a commentary on the Suvudu […]

  • thrinidir January 31, 2009 at 4:00 am

    I usually stay away from GRRM debates, it’s become pointless over the years. Some people are just to thick or plain obsessed to be reached with rational arguments. My stand evolves around the following conviction: GRRM is a writer, and even though this is his profession, it is also a form of art, creative endeavour…you can’t put a deadline on art; well…you can, but the results won’t be satisfying in most cases. I don’t care if he is an outliner or a freewriter, he gets the job done in the end and the only standards he has to live up to are his own, and the only obligation he has is to himself. I’m as big a fan as there is, but I haven’t thought even once that I’m in any kind of position to pester George about it. I don’t care when he does it, as long as he does it the best he can. Fu** the griefers and the bullys and the offended fans, if he does it right, his work will be praised and cherished for decades to come (if not more).

    Is George being unprofessional; from mere business perspective – yes, but profession and art don’t go always hand in hand. I think he has chosen the right path.

    And why are people upset anyway? There are so MANY good to great authors out there, stellar work is being published almost on weekly basis; do yourself a favour, stop obsessing about ASoIaF and go read something else, if you call yourself a book lover. Breathing down your favorite author’s back and making his life more difficult than it already is is not only distasteful, but plain rude. GRRM seems as a sensible fellow, not entirely unconcerned about what passes around him.

    Why shouldn’t he make posts about football and favorite figurines…it is his right and privilege to do so. He is only a human being, not a Writer 24/7 for god’s sake. If you don’t care for his human side, don’t read his not a blog, period. Writers are arstists, creatives…they need inspiration and time for the fruition of their ideas; please don’t rush them.

    I’ve only touched upon the topic, but I’ve made my stand clear, I might have even fought fire with fire, but the attitude of some people demanding this and that really bothers me. I don’t believe that writers are untouchable, but some people really go to far.

  • Doug Knipe [SciFiGuy] January 31, 2009 at 8:41 am

    Shawn writers block would indeed explain the delay. For myself, I don’t really care about the time it is taking. When the book is ready I will read it. George’s lack of commentary on the subject is of course what causes all of this type of speculation to arise – filling the vacuum so to speak.

    And thanks Aidan for the thoughtful posting.

  • Shawn January 31, 2009 at 9:36 am

    How can writers block explain a delay when there is no delay?

    That’s my point.

    If George suddenly stopped writing and was no longer on that three year a book schedule, I’d say fine, you are right: writer’s block would be a valid point that we all would have to consider. But the man hasn’t deviated from the schedule he’s had from the beginning, and since that is true how can he have writer’s block?

  • Doug Knipe [SciFiGuy] January 31, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    But there is a delay. There were lengthy discussions by George when Book 4 came out that he had split a longer manuscript leaving an almost finished Book five that required some “additional” work before it would be ready. Three years additional worth? Maybe if he was writing an entire next volume from scratch. Polishing and adding to an already lengthy existing manuscript – I think not. Either way it is still speculation and George is not enlightening us. In the end I am sure it will be a great book.

  • Adam Whitehead February 1, 2009 at 6:02 am

    I agree with Doug that when you boil it down, GRRM did indicate ADWD would be out in late 2006/early 2007, a year or so after AFFC, so on that basis the book is late. However, this was only going to be possible since he had material left over from AFFC to put into ADWD (making up between a third and half the book) and, as was revealed by Pat’s interview with the Bantam editors a year or two ago, most of this material was subsequently junked and rewritten.

    So GRRM has effectively written a new novel from scratch since AFFC came out, and as Shawn says the time he has taken to do that is not out of keeping with the writing time of AGoT, ACoK (as recently revealed by GRRM, he started writing ACoK a long time before AGoT was released or even handed in) and AFFC.

  • Peter V Brett :: Peephole In My Skull February 1, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    […] Now, to be fair, some of these complaints are legitimate. Others, less so. These issues have been spelled out in great detail in some excellent articles written this week, and I have no desire to revisit them. If you are interested in the history and specifics, I point you to Shawn Speakman’s In Defense of George article on Suvudu andAdam Whitehead’s two part “Defence of Dragons” posting on his blog the Wertzone. Part 1 and Part 2. You can also check out Aidan Moher’s comments about the topic on his blog, A Dribble of Ink. […]

  • Daya February 2, 2009 at 5:57 am

    Excellent points, Aidan. I always love contemplating GRRM and all his glory but the wait has been so long I just try not to think about it. I just hope the wait is worth it– after all, Rome wasn’t built in a day :-)

  • In Defense of GRRM | The Road Not Taken February 2, 2009 at 6:35 am

    […] read this excellent post over at Dribble of Ink regarding GRRM’s lateness in regards to A Dance with […]

  • Yagiz February 4, 2009 at 5:37 am

    Excellent blog Aidan!

    I, for one, would prefer to read an excellent but late Dragons rather than an average but timely one.

  • AF February 7, 2009 at 6:48 am

    The frequently made apologetic comparison “The Lord of the Rings [was not] written overnight” does not get any less ridiculous by being reasserted again and again. When you write “[Tolkien] began his epic in the late 1937 and it did not see publication for another 17 years, in 1954.”, you overlook the circumstances of Mr Tolkien’s work in contrast to those of Mr Martin. As I have already argued in a ‘Finish the book, George’-discussion, Mr Tolkien’s career as an university professor, the somewhat private nature of his literary work and six years of burdensome warfare all constitute lucid reasons for why it took him over a decade to write his ‘Lord of the Rings’. Due to these and other preoccupations, the (in)famous twelve (!) years of planning and producing the ‘Lord of the Rings’ were separated into stages with significant gaps in between. As Mr Martin is neither preoccupied with academic responsibilities nor faced with the terrors of war or any other serious distractions, it is ridiculous to use Mr Tolkien’s writing process as an example to excuse Mr Martin’s unprofessional slothfulness (or, if you like, ineptitude).
    Furthermore, your comparison of Mr Martin’s quite entertaining novels with Michelangelo’s works is too ludicrous to be even considered for commentary…
    That much said, I personally do not see any obligation or responsibility Mr Martin has towards his readers (such a notion would be rather crazy) and he certainly does not ‘owe’ anything to anybody buying his books. But all your apologetic rationalisations can not rescind the fact, that Mr Martin has repeatedly failed to conduct himself in a professional way as a writer – not to mention the undignified advertising and salesman-behaviour on his weblog, which I personally do not care about. While I do not vilify Mr Martin as a person, I find the aggressive grovelling of his (irony-immune) fanatics revolting.

  • Adam Whitehead February 12, 2009 at 4:49 am

    I agree that Lord of the Rings is a bad comparison. The Silmarillion is a much better one. Tolkien retired from Oxford in 1959, so no more burdensome academic work, and had 14 years before his death to complete the book. He did not do so. He wrote other books, he dealt with merchandising and film deals, he wrote some side-essays on Middle-earth and always said he was ‘working’ on The Silmarillion, when in fact he was doing nothing of the sort. Obviously, Lord of the Rings didn’t have a cliffhanger ending and the Sil is a prequel, but the book was still promised in the appendices to LotR, Tolkien said he was working on it and the number of people waiting eagerly for it massively outstrips those waiting for ADWD today. If Tolkien had had a blog in 1959-73, I suspect there would have been a fan backlash of epic proportions.

  • AF February 12, 2009 at 7:41 am

    As sound as your comparison might seem, I sincerely hope, that Mr Martin with his ‘Dance’ will not deliver a literary failure (or – if you like – misconception) like the Quenta Silmarillion was.
    Mr Tolkien’s prose after (and to a great extent before) the ‘Lord of the Rings’ provides interested readers with enjoyable background information and useful parts for the linguistic and traditional framework of his magnum opus. But even the one or two successfully crafted stories from the “elder days” of his secondary world (for example the ‘Narn’) do not at all rise to the level of credibility and power that render the ‘Lord of the Rings’ an unforgettable experience. One of the many reasons for this failure is, that Mr Tolkien’s mythology does not work on its own, but only in the form of allusions, fragments, songs and traditions implied and hinted at in his fictitious chronicle. And Mr Tolkien doubtlessly knew, that (on the basis of his mythology alone) he would never be able to deliver another masterwork like the ‘Lord of the Rings’ surely was. By the way, I doubt, that it was his intention to do so, since he regarded his whole work as a private amusement primarily. It were his (in many cases unlettered and delusional) fanatics who failed to understand this.

    Now, Mr Martin is as far apart from Mr Tolkien as a writer of so-called ‘high fantasy’ can possibly be. His narrative does mimic the ‘Lord of the Rings’ neither in terms of literary form nor of content. His creation of a (on its own not at all unimpressive) secondary world constitutes about the only sound similarity with Mr Tolkien’s work (apart from common tropes). And it is this rather different conception which elevantes Mr Martin’s ‘Song of Ice and Fire’ above the majority of the ‘high fantasy’ genre – a mass of mimicries and soulless replications of Mr Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ lacking the novel’s principal virtue (ie its framework).
    As Mr Martin fortunately has his own story and his own way of narrating it, any comparison between ‘Dance’ and the ‘Silmarillion’ (or other prose by Tolkien) misses the point: ‘A Dance with Dragons’ will not recount Westeros’ primeval mythology, its cultural or religious sources. It will be just another chapter in a progressing story and as such not different from ‘A game of Thrones’. If Mr Martin struggles with it, he can not be excused by comparing him with Mr Tolkien in any way.


  • […] is close to a point I made in my article in defense of […]

  • Zak August 10, 2009 at 12:00 am

    (Not that anyone is reading this thread anymore)

    Part of the reason for people’s anger at Martin is his own description on his site about how he fills his days: Pursuing every cheesy cross-marketing angle imaginable.

    Example: “Today I worked on a cheesy fake sword. Tomorrow I will work on cheesy figures. The next day I will work on more cheesy figures, the design details for each and every one of which I will spend hours agonizing over.”

    Eventually we’ll probably have direwolf Happy Meals at McDonalds, with each and every direwolf hand-painted by Martin himself.

  • thomas September 25, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    i could not agree with Zak more – this is essentially what has happened the series has become a lucrative cash cow and he is milking it for every cent it is worth at the expense of the people who put him in a position to do so… HIS READERS!

  • aidan September 26, 2009 at 6:32 am

    Let me just point out that releasing a book every 4-5 years is hardly more lucrative than releasing a couple of books over that same span.

  • […] his article In Defense of George R.R. Martin. I wrote a response of my own with an article titled Why You Should Cut George RR Martin Some Slack. Now, spurred by the response to the excerpt from The Mystery Knight, Speakman and Suvudu have […]