Friday, January 8, 2016

Stop Telling George R. R. Martin How to Do His F***ing Job

Warning: some spoilers for the Song of Ice and Fire books and Game of Thrones series.

I'm an author, but I'm not published. You know why? Because writing and getting published is f***ing difficult. It doesn't run on a 9-5 time clock, you can't just go through the motions and expect to succeed, and even if you do get published chances are you have to get a "real" job because if you're not in the top 1% of writers (i.e. Stephen King, Nora Roberts, etc), the money you make is shit.

So forgive me if I get pissed when people who haven't written anything longer than a bitchy USA Today article try to dictate a career writer like George R. R. Martin on how to do his job.

Look, I get it. I'm an avid Game of Thrones fan. I've read every book and seen every episode at least once. It's killing me as bad as it's killing the rest of you how long it's taking for The Winds of Winter to come out.

That said, here are 5 reasons why you all need to get a grip, be patient, and stop telling George R. R. Martin how to do his f***ing job.

1. You Have the TV Show

And even better, it's a good TV show. Yes, it's diverging a bit from the books these days, but who cares? It's the same world, it's the same characters, and no changes are made without George R. R. Martin's approval. Most books-to-movies or books-to-TV-shows suck. Be grateful this one doesn't.

Season 6 comes out in April. Spend the next few months rereading the books if you really want something to read or the prequel novellas or going to Comicon dressed as Daenarys.

2. Perfection Doesn't Happen Overnight

Game of Thrones came out in 1996, back when I was still crapping my diapers.

A Clash of Kings came out in 1998.

A Storm of Swords came out in 2000.

A Feast for Crows was 2005.

A Dance with Dragons was 2011.

Yes, those last two took at least five years to come out. He's gotten a bit busier since starting this thing twenty years ago. He didn't even get on the New York Times' Bestseller List until 2005, and being a bestseller means doing a bunch of other stuff that doesn't necessarily include writing. There's marketing, publicity, making sure HBO doesn't mess up his show, dealing with bloodsucking publishers, all of it.

If you want a good Winds of Winter, you have to be patient. If you want crap, then yeah, ask him to spit something out in a week.

3. There's, Like, 8 Different Plots and They're All Important

We have Bran Stark finally getting interesting.

Shit on the Wall's just got real.

We get to find out what's happened to Uncle Brandon Stark.

Samwell Tarly's met some evil name-stealing wizard dude right when he's trying to learn to be a maester.

Cersei's got her revenge to plan and a trial to go through.

There's a mess down in Dorne as the war spreads south with the Sand Snakes and Myrcella.

Arya's in assassin school.

The baby Aemon Targaryen apparently survived and is going after the Iron Throne (and did anyone else freak out when Tyrion put that one together?)

Daenarys is stranded and now surrounded by a bunch of dothraki who don't like her nearly as much as Drogo did.

Tyrion's stuck in Essos.

Sansa's trying to navigate through everyone who wants to use her and marry her off to so-and-so to get Winterfell.

We haven't seen Rickon Stark in ages and now we need to figure out what's up with him.

Stannis Baratheon's getting his ass handed to him.

Reek has just rediscovered himself as Theon Greyjoy. Oh, speaking of which, there's the Greyjoys.

Not to mention all of the prophecies we're getting and which one is real, which one is false?

GRRM could turn any one of these plotlines into a separate book. That's part of what makes this series so fascinating: the sheer amount of stuff that's happening. It guarantees that somehow you'll stay interested. For example: I'm bored to death with Brandon Stark and occasionally with Arya, too. But Tyrion never fails to capture my full attention and I love Dany. One of my friends hates Dany but loves Sansa (I don't know why; she only just recently became interesting). My mom usually tunes out the Wall but knows all the ins and outs of King's Landing.

So don't think of it as "GRRM's writing one book and should be done by now." It's more like "GRRM's writing eight different books between two covers, obviously it's going to take a while."

4. He's Creating a Whole F***ing World.

And contrary to popular belief, GRRM is not God. He can't do that in 7 days.

There's the sheer geography of it: the Wall, King's Landing, the Seven Kingdoms, Dorne, the dothraki, Meereen, Slavers' Bay, and everywhere in between. Each place needs an established culture, social structure, and political system. That means food, scandal, songs, do men and women relate to each other in each place? How are the children raised? What about the religion? How are the poor treated? How is each place affected by the war in Westeros? How does each place affect the war in Westeros? How does the pacing of The Winds of Winter affect the next book we're all going to be begging for in a couple years?

And this is just setting. What about the plotlines and the characters? How do they fit in?

You expect GRRM to have all of these answers for you on your schedule? Seriously?

5. He Feels Guilty Enough About It; Don't Make It Worse.

Just read his apology on Entertainment Weekly.

Now, I'm not saying the man doesn't owe us an apology. Robb Stark, little Shireen, Jon Snow, THEY'RE ALL DEAD, YOU BASTARD! That's what the apology should be about. Not, "Sorry, creating these very long, very complicated books that maybe 1% of the global population is skilled enough to write is taking a little longer than I thought."

In the wise words of Neil Gaimon, "George R. R. Martin is not your bitch."

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