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What has been the Meereenese’s knot in The Winds of Winter for the book taking so long?


Odej
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Which arc do you guys think has given Martin trouble finishing book six?

a) King’s Landing with the Faith, Lannisters, Tyrells, Sand Snakes.

b) Aegon's campaign hitting the arch above.

c) Dorne and its relationship to Aegon's campaign.

d) Essos: the war in Meereen. Dany and the Dothrakis.

e) The North and the Winterfell succession.

f) The Eyrie and a link between it and the Northern arc.

g) A real development of the Others after five books.

h) The Citadel.

i) Euron’s apocalypse

j) Creative block. There are too many plots and Martin doesn’t know how to deal with all of them.

k) Another reason.

Edited by Odej
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I think the closest is probably J (along with focusing on so many other non-WoW things), although I wouldn't describe it as a creative block which to me implies he would be struggling for inspiration. I think there are just so many moving parts that it is tricky to bring them altogether while maintaining the integrity of the story, the timeline, and most importantly, that the characters continue to act in character. And then if he gets an idea and wants to change something he has an awful lot of other things he needs to change as well.

I do really appreciate the effort he puts in, other writers, like the show writers, would just write some nonsense rather than try to solve a problem properly. But I would dearly love to know how and why years ago he thought the story would be completed in months. Twice.

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I tend to believe that most of the larger plotlines have been wrapped up. GRRM apparently was pretty happy overall with how Winds was progressing last summer. I think that was due to some larger issues with the story being resolved in a way he found satisfying. I think the most troublesome storyline now that GRRM may be having trouble with is the fAegon storyline. How does one tell the story of fAegon's rise and set the stage for his fall in the space of a single book, without having that become as involved and time consuming as the Meereenese Blot? It is a veritable black hole of potential time sucks. If any plotline is giving GRRM headaches, I think it's fAegon.

Edited by Nathan Stark
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I think it's a mix of J, all the rest, and the current climate. Shit's (pardon my French) wild now, and he could be afraid of the fans not liking it and ASOIAF being called a relic from another time, criticized by reviewers and critics (The true idiots will say we should understand that GRRM's work is a relic and disrespectful and creepy and all that...... but here's the thing: "We understand nothing of the sort.") 

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My personal theory is that GRRM wrote the first draft, didn’t like it, and decided to start over. It would explain why he thought he could finish in a few months in 2015 but still had “hundreds of pages left to write” at the beginning of this year.

I get the impression that the farther away he gets from King’s Landing, the harder the story is.

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1 hour ago, Jaenara Belarys said:

I think it's a mix of J, all the rest, and the current climate. Shit's (pardon my French) wild now, and he could be afraid of the fans not liking it and ASOIAF being called a relic from another time, criticized by reviewers and critics (The true idiots will say we should understand that GRRM's work is a relic and disrespectful and creepy and all that...... but here's the thing: "We understand nothing of the sort.") 

I think there is zero chance of fans not liking . And George R. R. Martin has always aspired to write what he likes, not what might be popular at the moment. I trust George to be true to the story and to himself, and I think most readers will appreciate that as well.

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There are probably going to be a lot of major character deaths in Winds of Winter.

He needs to set these deaths up to have the disastrous impact they deserve, ensure that they are most untimely by our reckoning.

But he needs to ensure they don't die before they have been to the places they need to visit, seen the people they need to see, sired the heirs they needed to sire, discovered the secrets they needed to discover, sent the messages they needed to send.

Otherwise, mysteries like Ned's promise to Lyanna and what happened at the Tower of Joy and (especially) why, are going to be 'resolved' the way the mystery of the dragonbone dagger was resolved- with a character who was out of the loop deducing it from whatever they could recall.

Or worse, whatever they were told/saw in a dream/learnt from a tree or a crow. Worst case of all: told by a raven who was skinchanged by a guy that was shown a dream by a tree. I would honestly rather L+R remained in its current state than have it 'resolved' by dreams and portents.

My guess is he has to time the killing of Tyrion, Dany, Jaime,Cersei, Brienne, Stannis, Sansa, Arya,Rickon and Bran so that Penny, JonCon, Illyrio, Jorah, Asha, Sam, Arianne,Nym, Hota and Barristan can know enough to carry the narritive load for A Dream of Spring.

Eta: Or maybe he has too many paid gigs with deadlines due to find time to finish Winds in 2022.

Edited by Walda
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I think it's mostly just the magic-heavy stuff that he'll be having trouble with. Winds will almost certainly be a far more magic-heavy book than any others in the series, and the supernatural is a realm where Martin hasn't focused thus far, and I think he's probably facing challenges with making it as interesting and nuanced as the political storylines. I'd almost be willing to bet money that he's specifically stuck with the Others, with not wanting to make them cartoonish villains that are uninteresting. 

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I personally think it is a mix of things.

Firstly, I agree with what @The Bard of Banefort is saying. With what he has said over the years, I believe George either finished or was close to finishing Winds at a certain point, but was not satisfied with the result. I think he was unsatisfied with the quality of the storytelling and did not like how the story flowed. I believe George does know how most main characters will end up by the end of Winds- what they must do, things they must see. But the execution of the way there may have lacked the quality he desired. Perhaps it felt too cheap or rushed in certain places. 

Pressure has a lot to do with it as well, I feel. The amount of fans he has now and the TV show (both it's rise in popularity and the downfall) contributes to the pressure and desire to release a good, polished story. There is a lot of pressure on him to release the real story of the series. This, in turn, could fuel his potential tendency to re-write and correct things and being constantly unsatisfied with the quality of his work.  Sometimes, writers and aspiring writers have periods where they hate everything they write and think it is all bad and worthless. Perhaps this is the case.

If there are some plotlines giving George a hard time, I would have to say it's the Others, mostly because they appear to be very one-dimensional villains (unless George adds something to them). The various smaller details and very small characters could be adding to the time it has taken to publish Winds as well.

These are just my two cents.

Edited by Raven Princling
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I think he's dissatisfied with what he's written and he can't leave it alone or trust it enough to forward to the publishers. The show's ending was horrible, but I suspect that there was a lot of his ending in there and that's creating problems for him.  Let's be honest, the guy's had time to write the book twice, maybe 3 times and furthermore he thought he could see the finish line 6 years ago so I don't think that word volume is the the problem. I think he discards more than he keeps and he's probably thrown out a good novel or two since October '15.

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No one who ever read the series can deny this is a complicated plot.  I have read that Martin finds Bran hardest to write and I would hope that somehow equals a deep dissatisfaction with the way he story has been told by others.   Was listening to Radio Westeros last weekend when yolkboy pondered aloud about the possibility of catch up in the form of flashbacks which translates to me as a rewrite.   He scrapped the 5 year gap because he didn't want the story told in flashbacks.  As much as we have whined and expressed our dissatisfaction with the other telling our intrepid author may have decided he would not allow his opus to go down because someone else was unable to see his vision through his narrative.   I think he's polishing all of it--every plot, character and twist. 

There is much to tie up and intersect in TWOW, but this is not the end of the story.   I never imagined The Others would be a precursor to Kings Landing.   Kings Landing is more along the lines of the Scouring of the Shire in my mind--smaller scale corruption.  I don't think we will see the Battle for Dawn yet either.   I wouldn't mind skipping Dani's captivity with the Dosh Kahleen for a satisfying ending to Stannis Baratheon.  We need our primary characters addressed and their current perils to be resolved causing as many characters as possible to move and perhaps even arrive in the North for that battle with the Others in A Dream of Spring.    There are parts we can do without and every single 1 of our theories can't be correct.   Any character or characters could be wiped out in a page from Martin.   They could all die in Mereen, at Storm's End, Kings Landing, in the Riverlands, at Winterfell or The Wall.  The longer this takes the less concerned I am with all the side trips.  

TWOW Chapter 1 Jon Connington

Dang it.  They're all dead. Now what am I gonna do?  

Chapter 2 Asha

Dang it.  They're all dead.  But I'm not!  

Chapter 3  Daenerys

Jahgo meet my baby, Drogon.  Buzz the hell off.

 

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On 11/26/2021 at 12:08 AM, WhatAnArtist! said:

I think it's mostly just the magic-heavy stuff that he'll be having trouble with. Winds will almost certainly be a far more magic-heavy book than any others in the series, and the supernatural is a realm where Martin hasn't focused thus far, and I think he's probably facing challenges with making it as interesting and nuanced as the political storylines. I'd almost be willing to bet money that he's specifically stuck with the Others, with not wanting to make them cartoonish villains that are uninteresting. 

I definitely agree with you about the Others and magic in general. I put the Faceless Men in the same category. They haven't been mentioned in this thread yet but I think Martin is struggling with them too. This whole magic topic is why I actually got angry at the end of A Feast for Crows when Martin suddenly introduced that the Citadel was behind the death of dragons and the end of magic. Think of how big a topic and storyline that is. That's another book right there. So instead of starting to address the magical elements already in the story and figuring out how to tie the many storylines back together, he decided to introduce a new major storyline involving magic but, again, with only hints about what is actually happening.

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k) Lack of interest and motivation to finish. From George's blog I get the impression that his day job is now being a TV producer and story consultant. He's working on many, many projects at the same time. His posts about those projects often mention how extremely busy he is, but are also full of genuine enthusiasm (unlike his now very rare mentions of TWOW). It is a job that's clearly both hard but also very rewarding for him. I hope I'm wrong, but I honestly don't see how he will ever finish ASOIAF while also working on literally scores of other, more fun and rewarding projects at the same time.

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On 11/25/2021 at 6:36 PM, Walda said:

My guess is he has to time the killing of Tyrion, Dany, Jaime,Cersei, Brienne, Stannis, Sansa, Arya,Rickon and Bran so that Penny, JonCon, Illyrio, Jorah, Asha, Sam, Arianne,Nym, Hota and Barristan can know enough to carry the narritive load for A Dream of Spring

The blatant killing of all these POVs would make no sense in the story. Plus, all the secondary characters seem much more likely to die than the POVs you mentioned.

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On 11/25/2021 at 7:19 PM, HoodedCrow said:

Even if he writes the same plot points as the abomination, I will feel happy and cleansed because the characters will make sense.

I think reaction to the TV show likely created rewrites, though I don't believe large plot points will change, but how they get there will. The others likely will not be disposed of in one giant battle at winter fell, a terrible idea by the way, which minimized the impact and importance of Bran and Jon. He has a lot of complicated things. I think Arya and Bran are supposed to be older. He's mentioned there was a planned five year gap somewhere, but that had to be scrapped because it didn't fit with other plot lines. Well that creates its own  problems. I think that like his outline stated he wants to put Jon with Arya, but she's too young for that plot line,  so either there still needs to be a five year gap somewhere or the plot has to be scrapped. Those are hard choices, not to mention how to get Jamie out of the pickle he's in. Personally Dany's plot is fairly simple. the two biggest problems is they have to substantially develop the others, get Bran back to the wall, and make everyone, including Jon aware of who his parents are. To me this has to happen in this book to properly set up the climax with Dany and Aegon. 

Edited by remiel6
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