By now this is old news to anybody that follows Fantasy and SciFi blogs or has a Reddit account. Basically GRRM came out on his LiveJournal, yeah it still exists, saying that The Winds of Winter is nowhere near ready and that the show will without a doubt finish before the books.
The whole situation is actually sad. I actually feel sorry for him. Let me try to explain.
I only recently read all of the ASoIF books. I found the first three to be fantastic, some of the best long form Fantasy ever written. The fourth book had a lot of filler but I enjoy Brianne, Sansa, Littlefinger, and most of the characters that it focuses on. A Dance With Dragons was unremarkable garbage. It was plotless, bloated, filled with new unlikable characters, and worst of all the tone of the writing changed. It didn’t even read like the same series. I struggled to finish it because I found parts so dull and it wasn’t till the epilogue that any real political backstabbing and revelation came to the foreground.
After reading the books I sat down and binge watched the HBO show. For the most part I think the show is fantastic. I believe it is even better in it’s characterization of certain characters. The Hound, Arya, Littlefinger, and Stannis are much better characters on screen than on the page. It also did a good job of cutting out a lot of extra meandering of new characters like the Sandsnakes and the other Targaryans that came out of nowhere and serve no emotional or logical purpose to the plot besides making the book thicker.
So why do I feel sorry for GRRM? Because ASoIF is, as a writer, his magnum opus. This is what he will be remembered for. Sadly due to a bad decision, optimism, greed, I don’t know and can’t speak for him, he has tainted his legacy.
The ending to his life work will be presented to the world for the first time through the work of other writers. In his post he says he needs to rewrite stuff and change stuff before publishing. Yet right now the scripts for episodes that come from the book are filmed or being filmed. Which is the original? Is he changing the book to better match the show? Is he letting the writers dictate the ending? We will never know and that’s where the taint comes from in my opinion.
I’m not GRRM so I can’t imagine how he thinks or feels about the whole process. Yet putting myself in his situation I could never have my creation, my characters, my stories, that I worked on for over a decade be presented to the world by some HBO writers. No amount of money would make me feel good about it. I would feel like a complete failure. Not only that but it would take away all the remaining joy and discovery gained from writing the remaining books. No matter what I write and what I do it will be considered secondary to the finished television product. The world will never know if a brilliant idea shared by both the book and the tv show was originally written down or a creation of the showrunners adapted into the books. I could never live with that.
Will I be reading the next book. Honestly, I don’t think so. I have never read a novelization of a movie or television show and I don’t intend to start. Because lets face it, from now on ASoIF is just a novelization of the show.