George R.R. Martin, writer of the “Song of Ice and Fire” series (inspiration for HBO’s Game of Thrones) made a very unpopular announcement for book readers to start out 2016.
Posting on his “Not a Blog” page, Martin delivered the bad news that he would not be finishing the next book in the series, “The Winds of Winter,” before the upcoming season of Game of Thrones:
“The book is not done, not delivered. No words can change that. I tried, I promise you. I failed. I blew the Halloween deadline, and I’ve now blown the end of the year deadline. And that almost certainly means that no, THE WINDS OF WINTER will not be published before the sixth season of GAME OF THRONES premieres in April (mid April, we are now told, not early April, but those two weeks will not save me).”
So what does this mean for viewers of the popular show (book readers and non book readers alike)?
1. The Show will officially spoil the books for any and all.
This one has been expected for a long time. But now it’s official. The TV series will end, giving away the ending to the series before Martin (who still has another book to complete after “Winds of Winter”) finishes the books. And even though the producers of the show have started going their own way with many book storylines, they still consult closely with Martin and intend to end the series the same way Martin will be ending it (at least that’s what they’ve said previously).
2. No more taped reactions of shocking moments during the episode.
Fan reactions have produced much internet gold as book readers, anticipating certain major events, began filming their unsuspecting non-book reader friends during such major events (don’t click on any of these links if you aren’t caught up through season five and don’t want any spoilers) as the the “Red Wedding,” the “Purple Wedding,” and the ending to season five.
Well now this tradition, at the very least, will be greatly diminished as book readers can no longer prepare their phones for the moment when the shocking scene happens.
3. Book readers have now lost their insider knowledge.
I, like many others, wanted to get “Winds of Winter” read before the start of the next season. Now with that an impossibility, book readers will have to accept that most everything that happens from now on will be the first time for all of us. I know my wife will appreciate this, as she never liked me knowing about things on the show before she did. I only hope my lack of insider knowledge now won’t cause the other guys here at 4LN to give me the boot (#istillhavevalue).
4. No more saying “It was done so much better in the books.”
Have you ever been angry with a book reader (not just Game of Thrones, but any literature based movie or series) who, as they watched, informed you how the current media you are taking in compares nothing at all to the printed version? Well, no more for Game of Thrones as the TV series will not have the books to be compared to.
Now when I say “books to be compared to,” I am referring to an actual text one can pull off the shelf or bring up on a tablet and say “Here, this is what it should be happening right now.” Many book readers will continue to make comparisons, but it will be in a hypothetical edition created in their minds of how Martin will do it, which of course, “will be so much better.”
But there is no way to know what Martin will actually because none of it because he hasn’t finished writing it yet. And maybe it will be “so much better” than what the TV show puts on the screen. But no one will actually know this until Martin (hopefully in this lifetime) finishes his book.
So we are all now in the same boat. Season 6 will be almost entirely fresh material for all of us, so let’s sit back and analyze it on equal terms April 24th.