'Game of Thrones' fifth book update; author talks HBO series concerns

After months of HBO releasing Game of Thrones news in stingy drips, today there’s a flood  of details coming your way about the eagerly anticipated series. Here’s what I’ve heard so far…

— A representative for Martin’s publisher Random House says that, regarding George R.R. Martin’s long-long-long-long awaited fifth book in the series, Dance With Dragons, that an announcement may be coming soon (the fact he’s at press tour is interesting in itself … perhaps the publisher just employs a guy to follow Martin around urging him to finish the damn book already). The rep notes Random House is very aware of the HBO series (premiere date posted here) and the potential opportunity for cross promotion … hmm.

— Martin says his biggest concern about the HBO series is… 

The show’s budget. Not that Thrones is remotely cheap, you understand. The show is expected to be the most lavish TV fantasy of all time. But Martin’s books have such an epic quality and he’s worried that sci-fi fans might have unrealistic expectations:

“My fear is there may be an element of fantasy fans that are like, ‘It’s not Lord of the Rings,'” Martin says, who also has his own blog here. “We don’t have have Peter Jackson’s budget … we can’t do Battle of Pelennor Fields. We have to accept this is television … it’s spectacular TV.”

“The Battle of Blackwater,” he adds, “is a potential budget buster. They’re gonna have to figure out how do to that. It could be an entire episode of battle.

— Regarding the length of the first season, was Martin happy with telling the story in 10 hours? “I think 10 hours has proved to be enough. You’re always a little greedy. I wouldn’t have minded 12 hours. But 10 worked too.”

— His third book, Storm of Swords, should be split into two seasons (amen to that).

— One critic asked if the author “hates children” since young characters have such harsh lives in his series: “The children were always at the heart of this. The were always very central. The whole series is harsh [not just for the kids]. My inspiration draws not only from Tolkien, but also historical fiction. If you read about the real Middle Ages, god it was brutal time. Children weren’t sentimentalized the way they are today. They were taken into battle at 12 years old … people hacking at you with swords. I wanted to reflect some of that.”

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  • Will

    On his blog, Martin said that he hoped to have an announcement to make on this tour, but getting sick threw a wrench into everything. I hope we hear something about the next book soon, which is the 5th book if I recall.

  • Andy

    It’s the 5th book in the series.

  • Alex

    Yea, it’s the fifth book (more like the second half of the fourth book, though). But thanks for the cool tidbits nonetheless.

  • Westeros

    One quick note: fifth book, not fourth. :)

  • Phoenix_torn

    4th book is actually out (Feast For Crows) 5th book is the one we’re waiting for :)

  • B

    Ha ha ha ha. An announcement on a 5th book that was already half written 5 years ago… big deal! Martin didn’t help himself with the 4th book being so crappy. Dude’s had the biggest case of writer’s block for years but hasn’t even been willing to admit it, and gets all pissy that his readers would dare pester him about this elusive book. Personally, I may watch the series if I still have HBO at the time, but as far as I’m concerned the ship sailed on the books quite a while ago. Too bad, the first 3 were great stories.

    • Dan

      He’s admitted to having writers block. Although its not like he doesn’t write. He writes chapters and chapters and then re-writes them and sometimes throws them away. Part of the problem with having such a rich universe with such detailed characters is that at a certain point everything has to fit together. I personally could not imagine trying to keep 10+ character pov’s straight and syncronized over 5k pages.

      • m.


        Too many unnecessary POV-s is one of the problems with the book.
        Also Martin keeps himself too busy with so many things that he actually doesn’t have enough time to writre it.

    • RH

      Actually, he had the entire fourth book nearly written, but set 5 years in the future. He decided against this because he was relying to much on POV remembrances. He then scrapped everything and started over. Once he realized it was going to be difficult bring all the characters to Mereen with Dany, he split the book in two and has been rewriting the Danaerys part for years to eliminate plot holes. I for one am glad he did this (see Robert Jordan’s fiasco of plot holes due to a rushed publication) and I don’t see the last two books taking as long. He already has six chapters of the sixth book finished and he says he already has a clear picture of how the series will end. This is the greatest Sci Fi series of all time, if you don’t want to wait for it then that’s a you problem.

      • m.

        I don’t actually mind waiting for it. I’m just afraid that if it takes another 10-20 years to write final two books (and who says he won’t have to write 3th or/and 4th to wrap it up?!) he may pull a Robert Jordan on us…

      • John Thunder

        “This is the greatest Sci Fi series of all time”
        You must be a complete fanboy to spit such nonsense.And all time means that nobody can ever make better which means that the Mankind ceased to exist.

  • Jason

    I’m so glad to see that the HBO show is giving a lot of people a chance to check out this wonderful series. Fantasy doesn’t get much better than this.

  • James

    Why, pray tell, is everybody so down on the fourth book? I’m past the halfway point and it’s a great read. The structure is a little different, but so what?

    • Brandon

      Because the three most interesting POV characters in the series are all missing and we’ve been waiting 8 years to see what happened to them.

      • James

        Oh! I see. Bran is missing so far, Tyrion, Jon, and some others I won’t mention for spoiling folks. I get it. I’m okay with Martin’s choices, but I get it.

      • jodipo

        Actualy, if he had left out the incredibly boring crap about the Greyjoys it would have been his best book. Jaime is a far more interesting character than Dani ever will be. I missed Tyrion and Jon though.

    • Merrydan

      I loved the fourth book. I just think most people subconsciously blame it for the delay for the fifth. And they also hate most of the ladies’ POV.

      Enjoy the read! You are still in for a ride.

    • thin

      I had no idea people were down on the fourth book. I liked it as much as any of them.

    • Joe Greps

      Nothing wrong with the forth book and I think people will appreciate how it set up a framework for the series to move forward when they read the later books. – There was a TON of subtleties in it – ie is the Hound really dead…?

    • Wesley B

      Because people are whiny fanboys who are convinced they could do better but have probably never contributed anything even a hundredth as valuable to the world of art or literature.

      I agree, yeah, the fourth book is built a little differently, doesn’t focus on some of the most popular characters, and isn’t as action packed as some others, but it is still damn good storytelling, a pleasure to read, necessary to the overall story arc, and ends with a lot of people in really fascinating situations.

  • Duane

    I don’t remember what I thought of the 4th book.

  • hamletcarter

    I wouldn’t follow George R R Martin to a million dollars, much less on twitter. And I won’t watch the HBO series UNTIL HE GETS OFF HIS FAT U KNOW WHAT AND FINISHES THE SERIES!

  • bobsyeruncle

    Almost worse than the character focus of the fourth book is the fact that it fails to tell anything resembling a complete story. In Martin’s afterword he explains the split by way of wanting to tell the whole story for some of the characters rather than half the story for all the characters. Which I could have lived with if that’s what we’d gotten. But instead, Brienne, Jamie, Sam, Arya and Sansa are all left at loose ends and/or on cliffhangers. So not only are we still waiting for material on Jon, Tyrion, et al, but it’s probably going to be another decade before getting follow up on the half of the fourth story we did get. That’s in sharp contrast to the first three books which were all, at least to some degree, complete stories.

    • SciyuFiyu

      Well, if you think about it, every single character in every single book ended with a spoiler and a cliffhanger. I get it that you miss Jon, Tyrion, Daenerys & Bran but we got amazing new characters and even more amazing set up for the events to come. The book is as good as every other in the series. You will get soon enough 1000 pages of your favorite characters plus the new (and final) one.

    • Werthead

      That structure went out the window a long time ago. Now the first half of ADWD is set in the same timeframe as AFFC, then it moves beyond that and we get at least some of the AFFC characters back in the second half. Arya, Asha and Cersei at least have chapters and storylines in the next book, possibly more.

      And at a signing yesterday, Martin said he was very close to delivery on the novel.

  • darkhb

    Finish it already. This was the best Fantasy bar-none when the first couple of books came out. But he pissed away all the momentum. I’m 54; I was in my 40s when I started the first book – either he’ll be dead or I will be by the this series concludes!

  • sweetbuddadaddy

    maybe it would be better if someone else DID finish writing this story. Hmm, maybe someone else already is given the difference between the first 3 and the fourth.

  • Aaron

    Wow! There are a lot of ungrateful brats on this page. The guy has written four books of around 800-1000 pages each. That’s about the equivalent of 12 novels! You want it finished so badly? Write it yourself.

  • donh525

    All the books in the series were great, but the 4th was written, as were the others, to have a sequel. OK, now where the heck is it? Someone please put it on top my headstone. Better yet, get Brandon Sanderson or Daniel Abraham to write the 4th book. NOW!!

    • highfantasyfan

      I loved all the book, and I’m not ungrateful, it’s just that we’ve, or at least I’ve, been waiting a long time for the 5th book. I barely remember the first ones, and I’m usually pretty good with books I love.
      I don’t think anyone could write it as well as Martin himself could, but I do wish he would write faster, or even cut the book again. At least we’d have somethingt to tie us over until he can write more than one chapter a year.

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