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


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20 hours ago, EggBlue said:

at this point, I don't think he can let it go. it would've been a different matter if he had started cutting off his little worldbuilding materials here and there .. but now, if he does , the quality and style of his books simply won't match and the series as a whole won't be the best version of itself.

I think he does work on this project and he does want to finish it. I believe he sees this series as his legacy. he's had good books before , he's won awards for them but he must know this one could make him immortal in the world of fantasy literature. yet, if it stays unfinished, how longer would we be here talking about it? ... I think he is investing on Asoiaf long term.. he probably doesn't see himself in a rush as long as he finishes it before.. um.. he dies.. so , he works on it little by little the way he wants with his own perfectionism [disorder:)].. and he could linger it for almost two more decades ( let's say he'll be healthy enough to write till he's 93:)) and still don't mind.

I don't know, I think there is scope to curtail the world building. There is a lot of detail that can be skipped. I am eager to know of the land beyond the wall, but it does not need to be as expansive as Essos. I think a little bit of restraint would make the books better and not seem as verbose. And we certainly don't need too many more new characters. That space in text can be used to explore more character development with ones we know about.

I can completely understand not wanting to rush, but 2.5 decades is a pretty long time. Readers are justified to feel frustrated. And GRRM is entitled to work on whatever the hell he feels like or nothing at all. But I think the time taken to finish the books (if they are finished) will be factored in while judging the series in the world of fantasy literature. 

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3 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

It’s crazy to think just how much faster characters used to move in the books. Tyrion in AGOT started in Winterfell, went north to the Wall, came all the way down to the Trident, was abducted and dragged to the Eyrie, stood trial, encountered the clans in the Vale, went back to the Riverlands, fought in a battle, and then was named acting Hand. 

Arya spent AFFC and ADWD mopping floors.

Feast has some of my favorite chapters of the series. But the pace was excruciatingly slow.

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12 minutes ago, Apoplexy said:

Feast has some of my favorite chapters of the series. But the pace was excruciatingly slow.

Oh, I agree. It’s my favorite of the five main books, and I think it has the best prose. But the story is moving at a turtle pace now, which is why I expect that the series will need another 3-4 books to finish it.

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8 hours ago, BlackLightning said:

Nah.

A Dream of Spring is definitely going to be the most challenging book for him to write. And it's also going to be the biggest.

You know how much stuff needs to be resolved or addressed in A Dream of Spring? All of the magic and associated magical mysteries and prophecies needs to be made plain or definitively implied.

All of them. You can't have a fantasy series incorporating the use of magic without you fully explaining how that magic system of the series works. And to be honest, there are at least four different magic systems in A Song of Ice and Fire

JK Rowling had a much, much simpler magic system and even she found Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows difficult to write. And Deathly Hallows wasn't even all that good.

And then there are all of the character arcs. I don't see barely any POVs dying in Winds (maybe only Aeron, Barristan and/or Theon if that) but Dream is going to make the Red Wedding look like a classy tea party. We'll probably only end the novel with only Sansa, Arya and Bran as POVs.

Going from ~17 to 3 in a span of a book? It's going to be a bloodbath. They are all POVs for a reason so they have their own story arcs in addition to the actual plot that they are telling. All that needs to be resolved either when they die or shortly thereafter...in someone else's chapter. And we're not even talking about all of the other non-POV characters.

Then there are all of these lingering mysteries that we have been grappling with. Ignore the mysteries that we got in Feast and Dance. Let's talk about the ones we have had since A Game of Thrones? Namely....

  • What happened at the Tower of Joy?
  • What happened at Starfall?
  • What really happened in Sunspear when Jon Arryn visited and how did that affect what would happen in Braavos?
  • Remember the stag that killed the mother direwolf? What killed the stag?
  • What did Bran see in the Heart of Winter?
  • Why was Bran chosen?
  • Why was Dany able to bring back dragons and no one else? And why was she able to do it on accident with no training?!
  • Why did Drogo want Dany so much?
  • What is Varys up to? Where the hell did Varys come from?
  • How did wights end up at the Wall and why?
  • Why was there a Faceless Man in the Black Cells? How they hell did he/she get caught?

And Dream is probably going to be more of a horror story. Which means he's going to have to nail the tone in every single chapter from cover to cover.

Agreed.

I think writing the last quarter of Dream will be easy. But the first three quarters? Forget it.

all valid points. I thought Winds should be harder since I believe most of the mysteries from the past should be resolved in Winds - like Varys or Others' agenda and origin-  while Dreams should be dedicated to resolving the current storyline - like the showdown between our heros and the Others and the last part of game of thrones.. .. and unfortunately, I don't see Martin planning on addressing all the mysteries he has set up ( for example Sunspear and Jon Arryn .. or how Arryn and Stan figured out the twincest)  . I just hope he at least puts his efforts on the  ones that effect the story (like tower of joy and its kingsgaurd , Quithe , Heart of Winter, Bran , Dany ,Varys,...) 

 

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13 minutes ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

Oh, I agree. It’s my favorite of the five main books, and I think it has the best prose. But the story is moving at a turtle pace now, which is why I expect that the series will need another 3-4 books to finish it.

There are just too many loose ends to finish the series in two books in addition to the pace. If that's what is taking so long, trying to squeeze the story in two books, just increase the number of books. There is nothing special about the number seven outside of westeros.

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1 hour ago, Apoplexy said:

I don't know, I think there is scope to curtail the world building. There is a lot of detail that can be skipped. I am eager to know of the land beyond the wall, but it does not need to be as expansive as Essos. I think a little bit of restraint would make the books better and not seem as verbose.

yes , I guess that'll work that way. but even like that, the details it requires are A LOT..

1 hour ago, Apoplexy said:

 

And we certainly don't need too many more new characters. That space in text can be used to explore more character development with ones we know about.

I completely agree. the characters he brought up in Feast and Dance are more than enough. though , I understand the need of new characters after the actual players he had died in SoS , he should have introduced them sooner ...maybe he could introduce them instead of all the running Arya had in Clash and Storm!

1 hour ago, Apoplexy said:

I can completely understand not wanting to rush, but 2.5 decades is a pretty long time. Readers are justified to feel frustrated. And GRRM is entitled to work on whatever the hell he feels like or nothing at all. But I think the time taken to finish the books (if they are finished) will be factored in while judging the series in the world of fantasy literature. 

definitely . that just seems to be the way he thinks... I mean .. now that he has already passed 20 years , why not 20 more if it means it'll be satisfactory! that's just bad for us who will have to read the books with our future kids!! ... I'd go even further than justified to be frustrated and say -in a way- Martin does owe his fans something. I don't say fans have the right to attack him or something but the time and money they have invested on the books mean something.

27 minutes ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

Oh, I agree. It’s my favorite of the five main books, and I think it has the best prose. But the story is moving at a turtle pace now, which is why I expect that the series will need another 3-4 books to finish it.

yeah but there are still ways he can work it out. (I'm desperate to think that! there's no way he can work on 3-4 books!) .. for instance Asha's chapter (sacrifice)  was about a month after her previous chapter or Arriane's (the princess in tower) was after a relatively long time.. same with Griffin Reborn that he skipped the little fights ... maybe he wants to go back to his original idea of few months between chapters little by little... how else can the long night be actually long?

edit. also, the next books should each be the size of Feast and Dance combined. those two weren't complete on their own after all... don't know if that works in the publishing industry but if the page number becomes too much he should just publish them as two books but simultaneously.

Edited by EggBlue
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Personally I think there will be a time skip between dany taking mereen and entering westeros. we'll get some fragments here and there of how she sailed west (probably freeing volantis and all). But if she spends time freeing the slaves in the west then she would be spending months doing that...by the time shes in westeros faegon would be on the throne for a long time.

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10 minutes ago, EggBlue said:

I completely agree. the characters he brought up in Feast and Dance are more than enough. though , I understand the need of new characters after the actual players he had died in SoS , he should have introduced them sooner ...maybe he could introduce them instead of all the mopping and running Arya had!

He really should have! That would have moved things ahead and maybe we would be further along in the story.

And maybe it's just me, but I found all the greyjoys annoying as hell. One of the problems for me was that the new characters were not as compelling as the ones that died. 

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1 minute ago, Apoplexy said:

One of the problems for me was that the new characters were not as compelling as the ones that died. 

I understand what you're saying but don't you think you are being unfair?

The new characters have only been around for a book (give or take) whereas we spent three books with the old characters that died.

Give them a chance.

Granted, the pacing has been slow for the new characters and it's been a very long time since their introduction (and the sparse appearances they had after their intros) which interrupts the bonding process...but, hey. I'd say wait until the end of Winds.

16 minutes ago, Falcon2909 said:

Personally I think there will be a time skip between dany taking mereen and entering westeros. we'll get some fragments here and there of how she sailed west (probably freeing volantis and all). But if she spends time freeing the slaves in the west then she would be spending months doing that...by the time shes in westeros faegon would be on the throne for a long time.

I actually would prefer it to be that way.

And it won't be for too long. Six months max.

 

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1 hour ago, BlackLightning said:

I understand what you're saying but don't you think you are being unfair?

The new characters have only been around for a book (give or take) whereas we spent three books with the old characters that died.

Give them a chance.

Granted, the pacing has been slow for the new characters and it's been a very long time since their introduction (and the sparse appearances they had after their intros) which interrupts the bonding process...but, hey. I'd say wait until the end of Winds.

The greyjoys are a tedious read for me. The characters in the first three books were super interesting to read from the get go, whether I liked the characters or not. So i'm not sure Winds will change anything. But of course I could be wrong and GRRM might just bring out a completely different side of them in winds. Having said that, had the books begun with characters like the greyjoys, I probably would not have read all the books.

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On 12/21/2021 at 11:46 AM, BlackLightning said:

You can't have a fantasy series incorporating the use of magic without you fully explaining how that magic system of the series works.

Tolkien didn't really explain any magic system, and GRRM has explicitly cited that example as a reason to keep his own magic mysterious and mostly out of the way.

Quote

JK Rowling had a much, much simpler magic system and even she found Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows difficult to write. And Deathly Hallows wasn't even all that good.

I stopped reading that series midway through, but her pace was nothing like GRRM's, going merely from a one-year gap between books to two-year gaps for the last two (and a maximum of three years anywhere in the series), finishing the whole thing in roughly a decade.

Quote

What really happened in Sunspear when Jon Arryn visited and how did that affect what would happen in Braavos?

Is that really necessary?

Quote

What killed the stag?

The mother direwolf. It's normal for wolves to attack herbivores rather than the other way around, but in this case she was fatally injured while attacking.

Quote

Why was Dany able to bring back dragons and no one else?

It's far less obvious than the previous question, but I suspect it's related to that taking place after The Others returned.

Quote

What is Varys up to? Where the hell did Varys come from?

Didn't we already get explanations? You might not find them satisfactory, but the series could end without adding anything and those would have already been explained.

15 hours ago, EggBlue said:

now that he has already passed 20 years , why not 20 more if it means it'll be satisfactory! that's just bad for us who will have to read the books with our future kids!!

He's not going to take another 20 years and actually finish. If there's that much delay, it means we're never going to get his ending.

14 hours ago, BlackLightning said:

The new characters have only been around for a book (give or take) whereas we spent three books with the old characters that died.

People can compare the new characters to how compelling the old characters were in just A Game of Thrones.

Quote

hey. I'd say wait until the end of Winds.

That a big wait you're recommending :)

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21 hours ago, EggBlue said:

yeah but there are still ways he can work it out. (I'm desperate to think that! there's no way he can work on 3-4 books!) .. for instance Asha's chapter (sacrifice)  was about a month after her previous chapter or Arriane's (the princess in tower) was after a relatively long time.. same with Griffin Reborn that he skipped the little fights ... maybe he wants to go back to his original idea of few months between chapters little by little... how else can the long night be actually long?

edit. also, the next books should each be the size of Feast and Dance combined. those two weren't complete on their own after all... don't know if that works in the publishing industry but if the page number becomes too much he should just publish them as two books but simultaneously.

Agreed.

Personally, I just think he should write without thinking about getting it all into 2 books. We all know 2 books would not end this story in a satisfying way and he must know that too... If he writes without thinking about this, then some pressure would get off his shoulders and we could have better books. And besides, I think he would just need at least one more book (the size of Dance too of course, which could be divided into two volumes if necessary). It would be enough imo and it could change the ending from something rushed and unsatisfying to something more cohesive and up to par with the previous books. Like we had the war of the five kings - with everything that happened in between - in 3 books, so I think 3 books for the second war with the Others and the convergence of storylines, including Dany's in Westeros, would be enough.

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On 12/21/2021 at 11:46 AM, BlackLightning said:

And then there are all of the character arcs. I don't see barely any POVs dying in Winds (maybe only Aeron, Barristan and/or Theon if that) but Dream is going to make the Red Wedding look like a classy tea party. We'll probably only end the novel with only Sansa, Arya and Bran as POVs.

Going from ~17 to 3 in a span of a book? It's going to be a bloodbath. They are all POVs for a reason so they have their own story arcs in addition to the actual plot that they are telling. All that needs to be resolved either when they die or shortly thereafter...in someone else's chapter.

 

By my count there are 20 POV characters still alive (21 if you count Lady Stoneheart). One of the reasons for the brisker pace of the first book was that the story was only being told through 8 POV characters. I think Martin could get back to a better paced story just by streamlining the number of POV characters without necessarily giving up major storylines. Here are some obvious contenders.

Victarion - He doesn't actually have much of a personal character arc going on. He's given us a POV into the events of the Ironborn and Euron, but we could get that through Aeron's chapters. Once he makes it to Meereen he's just another set of eyes in Essos. He could be killed early on without adversely affecting the overall story.

Jon Connington - We haven't spent much time with him. So far, he's been a set of eyes for the events surrounding Aegon. We could get that from Arianne's chapters, assuming she meets up with him which seems likely. We've also gotten some of his reminiscences and regrets about the past which could be the foundation of a solid character arc. However, we haven't spent much time with him and I don't think anyone is deeply invested in his story yet. Besides, if Quentyn can be abruptly bumped off then so can Connington.

Aero - He is literally just a fly on the wall. The issue here is whether Martin is interested in us having eyes on Doran, specifically, or if we just need eyes on the actions of House Martell. If it's the later then we'll have plenty of opportunities for that with the Sand Snakes showing up in King's Landing without needing Aero.

Ser Barristan - I like him but Daenerys's storyline was working for 4 books without his POV. Also, Tyrion has finally made it to Meereen so we have another set of eyes for the events of Slavers Bay. He could be given a noble death early on.

I was tempted to add Melisandre to the list, but she might actually move the story along quicker. Martin will be forced to address the magical elements of the story more directly if he sticks with her.

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