If you think it's been a long wait for the eighth (and final) season of HBO's Game of Thrones, how about the gap between George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels, which created the beloved saga? The notoriously unhurried author, who is also an executive producer on the TV series, admitted Monday that he's a "slow" writer and that there are plenty of diversions that keep him from finishing the last two novels in the series.
It's now been more than seven years since the fifth book in the series, A Dance With Dragons, was published, and Martin has been open about the delays in writing The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring, the planned sixth and seventh titles in the series, respectively. This past April he informed fans that the book was definitely not coming in 2018, and there's still no word when it might fall into readers' hands. (The TV series famously passed the storyline from the books after its fifth season.)
"I'm working on The Winds of Winter, and I wish I'd been done four years ago, honestly," he told The Hollywood Reporter on the red carpet before the Primetime Emmys on Monday. "But I'm slow and the book is very complex, and there are a lot of distractions. But I'm making progress and trying to eliminate as many distractions as I can, although it's hard, because there are lot of great distractions out there."
Those distractions include executive-producing the SYFY series Nightflyers, based on his futuristic sci-fi/horror novella (written in 1980), which is due to premiere this fall. He's simultaneously an exec producer on Who Fears Death, an HBO fantasy series set in a post-apocalyptic Africa, based on Nnedi Okarafor's 2010 novel.
Martin has also been working on Fire and Blood, a prequel to the Ice and Fire saga, which comes out November 20. Martin told the Hollywood Reporter that the book covers "the history of the first half of the Targaryen dynasty, set 300 years before Game of Thrones."
HBO has said the final season of Game of Thrones will premiere sometime in 2019. The series — which last aired an original episode in August 2017 — just won nine Primetime Emmy Awards, including outstanding drama series (for the third time in four years) and supporting actor in a drama series, for Peter Dinklage, who plays Tyrion Lannister.
Already one of TV's most ambitiously produced series, the showrunners have been aiming to go out with a proverbial (and quite possibly literal) bang with their final six episodes. “The final season’s taking a long time because it’s the biggest thing we’ve ever done,” executive producer David Benioff said Monday night. “I think when people see it they’re going to understand why it took so long. The last season is far beyond what we’ve ever attempted before.”