Tower of the Hand



SCOPE No books readNo seasons watched

External Link GRRM details steady progress on TWOW. In a new post on Not a Blog, George R. R. Martin gives a rare update on his progress writing The Winds of Winter. The topline is: he's not done writing TWOW, the book isn't imminent, but GRRM does hope it will be finished by some time next year. The ongoing pandemic has kept GRRM in isolation and canceled his travel plans, which he says has helped him focus on the next book:

I am spending long hours every day on THE WINDS OF WINTER, and making steady progress. I finished a new chapter yesterday, another one three days ago, another one the previous week. But no, this does not mean that the book will be finished tomorrow or published next week. It's going to be a huge book, and I still have a long way to go.

He adds:

Of late I have been visiting with Cersei, Asha, Tyrion, Ser Barristan, and Areo Hotah. I will be dropping back into Braavos next week. I have bad days, which get me down, and good days, which lift me up, but all in all I am pleased with the way things are doing.

And there's this final tease, too:

Now you will have to excuse me. Arya is calling. I think she means to kill someone.

Regarding his writing pace, GRRM notes that it doesn't match what he was able to do accomplish when he was writing A Storm of Swords back in 1999 and that he's not likely to recapture that pace again. It should be obvious to us by now that the quick publications of those first few books were the aberration; lengthy waits are the rule.

Lastly, GRRM lists some other things that are occupying his time: watching television, reading, and preparing to virtually host WorldCon. He reports that adaptations of his works continue to be developed, including House of the Dragon, which is "still flying along wonderfully" despite the pandemic. For all this and more, go read the entire post in GRRM's own words.


External Link GRRM reflects on an ending. Now that Game of Thrones is over and the adaptation has finished its story, all eyes are on George R. R. Martin. When will The Winds of Winter be released? How different will the final books be from the TV show? Well, GRRM has now chimed in about the ending, or as he calls it, "an ending." In his latest blog post, GRRM congratulates the creative forces, cast, and crew responsible for Game of Thrones, in particular singling out David Benioff, Dan Weiss, Bryan Cogman, and Richard Plepler. GRRM goes on to say that he expects this won't be the last we see of Westeros on TV, as a number of successor shows remain in development. He also has several other projects in the pipeline, including TV shows, short films, and, yes, more books.

As to the end of A Song of Ice and Fire, GRRM's comments on the books won't surprise long-time readers of his blog (or this site). He's still working on it. GRRM has repeatedly dismissed rumors that the books are already finished and he was just waiting for the TV show to end; the books are not done. He confirms that there will be differences between the books and show, noting that there are many pages of story left that never made it to the screen:

I am working in a very different medium than David and Dan, never forget. They had eight hours for this final season. I expect these last two books of mine will fill 3000 manuscript pages between them before I'm done... and if more pages and chapters and scenes are needed, I'll add them. And of course the butterfly effect will be at work as well; those of you who follow this Not A Blog will know that I've been talking about that since season one. There are characters who never made it onto the screen at all, and others who died in the show but still live in the books... so if nothing else, the readers will learn what happened to Jeyne Poole, Lady Stoneheart, Penny and her pig, Skahaz Shavepate, Arianne Martell, Darkstar, Victarion Greyjoy, Ser Garlan the Gallant, Aegon VI, and a myriad of other characters both great and small that viewers of the show never had the chance to meet. And yes, there will be unicorns... of a sort...

When GRRM's final books do come out, he wants us to decide for ourselves which of the endings is "real." And, he's right, the internet is going to argue about it.


Nightflyers Open Thread. In 1980, George R. R. Martin published a short novel called "Nightflyers," an expanded version of which was released the following year. The science-fiction/horror story won the Locus Award and was nominated for a Hugo. Later that decade, GRRM sold the film rights to the story, which led to the 1987 film, Nightflyers, directed by T.C. Blake. The film was neither a commercial success nor a cult favorite. But George R. R. Martin himself would go on to bigger and better things, which may be why Nightflyers is getting a second (or third) chance at being adapted for the screen. This time it's being adapted by Daniel Cerone Jeff Buhler for the cable network Syfy. The first episode premieres tonight at 10 PM ET, with other installments of its ten-episode season airing on consecutive nights.

As GRRM recently noted, he has had little involvement with the production of this new show, though his agents did negotiate an "executive producer" credit for him. Nevertheless, GRRM is reminding us to watch it. Here's how he describes it:

On a mission aboard the Nightflyer, the most advanced ship ever built, a team of scientists embark on an expedition to make first contact with alien life. Set in the year 2093, their mission takes them beyond the edge of the solar system, farther than mankind has ever gone before. But when terrifying and violent events start to occur, the team and crew begin to question themselves, each other, and their reclusive captain. They soon come to realize that the true horror isn't waiting for them in outer space - it's already on their ship.

I personally have not yet read the novella on which the show is based, though I did flip through the first few pages of it in my copy of Dreamsongs (Volume I). Tomorrow we'll discuss whether or not we should read the source material before watching any adaptation, but for now, please use this thread to discuss Nightflyers the TV show, if you're planning on watching, and if so, what you think of it and/or the idea of running new episodes every night.


Not a Q&A

Ever since George R. R. Martin announced the release date of Fire & Blood a couple of weeks ago, reactions to the news have ranged from supportive to... very much not supportive. On Not a Blog especially, readers have taken to the comments section to voice their opinions. Surprisingly, GRRM has responded to some of these comments directly. While he is unlikely to satisfy those who are most upset by the wait for The Winds of Winter, GRRM does his best to sell Fire & Blood, clarify what he believes to be misconceptions about his works and obligations, and even answer some speculative questions about A Song of Ice and Fire. All in all, it amounts to a fairly effective Q&A session, almost as good as one we might get were we to attend an actual convention with GRRM himself.

Of course, scouring through the comments section on Not a Blog -- any comments section really -- can be hazardous to one's health, so I've attempted to collect and collate most of GRRM's comments for you below, alongside paraphrased versions of the questions that prompted GRRM's responses. (I've also referenced the original questions, too, so feel free to read those to see the full context and color of the commenters.)


External Link GRRM's Not a Blog gets a new URL. Update your bookmarks: George R. R. Martin's "Not a Blog" has moved to a new address: http://georgerrmartin.com/notablog/

All of GRRM's previous blog entries have been migrated to the new URL and GRRM already has an inaugural post on the new site, writing about one of his favorite topics: the NFL draft. (Some of you may recall why Not a Blog was originally founded, nearly thirteen years ago. GRRM had discovered that some of his readers weren't happy with the content of the "updates" he had been giving on his official website. Not a Blog gave him a new outlet to discuss non-ASOIAF related topics, which fans could read or ignore -- or read and ignore, and wonder aloud, "When is the next book coming out?" Some things will never change.)

Aside from changing the URL and the banner graphic, the new site looks functionally similar to the old one, though the slight redesign is more in keeping with the style of GRRM's Official Website. Also, GRRM notes on Twitter that his team will be trying out a new platform (WordPress, if I'm not mistaken), so it appears that he's moving on from LiveJournal in more ways than one.


External Link TWOW still months away, more GRRM works to come. Earlier tonight, George R. R. Martin gave us a rare update on his writing progress. Let's begin with The Winds of Winter, which probably has the most interest among our readers, but gets the least substantial update here. According to GRRM, the next novel of A Song of Ice and Fire is still "months away," but it's neither as far nor as close as some reports seem to indicate. In short, GRRM doesn't yet know when TWOW will be finished and he warns us not to trust anyone who says otherwise.

GRRM does believe that we'll get at least one original work from the world of Westeros in 2018, whether it be The Winds of Winter or a brand new history book (or possibly both). The history book in question is Fire and Blood, a more detailed examination of the Targaryen kings. GRRM explains that the previously-announced book will now actually come in two volumes:

We have so much material that it's been decided to publish the book in two volumes. The first of those will cover the history of Westeros from Aegon's Conquest up to and through the regency of the boy king Aegon III (the Dragonbane). That one is largely written, and will include (for the first time) a complete detailed history of the Targaryen civil war, the Dance of the Dragons. My stories in DANGEROUS WOMEN ("The Princess and the Queen") and ROGUES ("The Rogue Prince") were abridged versions of the same histories.

No publication date has been set yet, but it's likely that we will get the first volume of FIRE AND BLOOD out in late 2018 or early 2019. The second volume, which will carry the history from Aegon III up to Robert's Rebellion, is largely unwritten, so that one will be a few more years in coming.

Finally, GRRM promises us one new short story in 2017. As revealed earlier this year, it's called "Sons of the Dragon" and is a prequel of sorts to "The Princess and the Queen" and "The Rogue Prince." "Sons of the Dragon" chronicles:

the reigns of Aegon the Conquerer's two sons, Aenys I Targaryen and Maegor the Cruel, for those who cannot get enough of my entirely fake histories of Westeros. That one has never been published before in any form, though I did read it at a couple of cons.

Look for "Sons of the Dragon" in The Book of Swords, a new anthology that also features original stories from a dozen other authors, edited by Gardner Dozois. The Book of Swords is scheduled for release on October 10, 2017. You can pre-order it now from Amazon.com.


More stories of Westeros to come, post-ASOIAF. The story of A Song of Ice and Fire will inevitably end, but George R. R. Martin confirms that it won't be the end of the Westeros, at least from a writing perspective:

I will likely write more stories set in the world of Westeros after ICE & FIRE. Dunk and Egg, for starts.

GRRM has suggested that Dunk and Egg have many adventures ahead of them, so it's no surprise that he intends to continue their story. We know there's a wealth of information yet to be revealed about Westeros' past, so perhaps we'll also see more historical accounts in the vein of "The Princess and the Queen" and "The Rogue Prince." But once A Song of Ice and Fire is properly concluded, maybe GRRM could revisit our favorite (surviving) characters in a direct sequel of sorts, or even jump forward in time and write of the next big crisis that the world must face. What would you like to see?

For better or worse, GRRM has already ruled out writing another megaseries, at least one that takes place outside of Westeros:

Will I ever attempt another seven-book megaseries set in an entirely different fantasy world? Unlikely.

I have other stories I want to tell too. SF as well as fantasy. More Wild Cards, more Thousand Worlds.

Wild Cards is, of course, the original subject of GRRM's post that led to these new comments: Tor Books is bundling the first five books of that anthology in a special $40 eBook, a massive amount of story for the price. Check it out if you haven't already.


GRRM thinks TWOW will be out this year. There has been a lot of discussion lately -- here and elsewhere -- about whether George R. R. Martin "owes" us an update on The Winds of Winter. I'm sympathetic to both sides of this argument, though there's really only one update that I personally want to hear from GRRM. Anything less than an official announcement of TWOW's imminent release will only serve to upset most people. Social media will blast news of an "update," fans will get excited only to realize that he's saying nothing new, and the cycle of suffering begins once again.

Sure enough, GRRM offered the barest hint of an update yesterday, in response to a comment on his blog post about the NFL playoffs and the Golden Globes. A reader thinks a statement on The Winds of Winter's status would help reassure anxious fans. GRRM replies:

You really think statements like that would make a difference? Ah, you sweet summer child. I have years of experience with this that tells me otherwise.

But okay, I will try it your way.

Not done yet, but I've made progress. But not as much as I hoped a year ago, when I thought to be done by now.

I think it will be out this year. (But hey, I thought the same thing last year).

So an optimist might say The Winds of Winter is close enough to done that we'll see it this year. The cynical take is that we've heard all this before. (And I say both are right.) I know we don't need another thread to debate this, but allow me to present one more piece of evidence in 2017's favor: Culturess dug up an old graphic from the Washington Post that plots the release timelines of major fantasy books, including A Song of Ice and Fire, based on a page-by-page count. And this four-year-old WaPo chart projected 2017 as TWOW's release year all along. So there you have it.


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Tower of the Hand is an unofficial companion to George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series and HBO's Game of Thrones, featuring chapter and episode guides, character profiles, family trees, and much more.

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