George R.R. Martin is the author of the popular Song of Fire and Ice series which you may know better as Game of Thrones.
He’s currently writing the sixth of that was originally going to be seven books in the series, though he recently hinted that there may be an eighth.
Martin is 65 years-old. He’s not exactly the picture of health.
It took him six years to write the most recent book in the series, A Dance with Dragons, and it has taken him 15 years to write the five books written so far.
At this pace, he will complete the final two books by the time he is 72 years-old, and if there really is an eighth book planned, he will be close to 80 when he finally wraps the series.
For these reasons, I have decided to wait to read the books, fearing his demise before the series is complete.
This is not an entirely unfounded position. Stephen King’s Dark Tower series (which you should all read immediately) was nearly cut short when King was hit by a van and nearly killed in 1999 with three books to go.
When I first heard about the accident, my first thoughts went to The Dark Tower’s Roland and his ka-tet. As saddened as I was to hear about King’s death (it was originally announced that King had died in the accident), I was equally distraught over the idea that Roland’s journey to The Dark Tower would never be realized.
Perhaps fearful that he may never finish the series if he didn’t work quickly, King promptly completed the final three books in the series in 2004 (publishing one in 2003 and two in 2004).
Then he added a book for good measure in 2012.
So yes, I worry about Martin’s ability to complete his masterpiece. He’s not a young man, and he seems to require about five years to finish a book. I was nearly left hanging in the midst of a masterpiece once before. I don’t want that to happen again.
Apparently I am not alone in this sentiment. Others have expressed this concern openly and often. Martin recently addressed the many people who have expressed concerns over his ability to complete the series before his demise:
“I find that question pretty offensive, when people start speculating about my death and my health. So f**k you to those people.”
He added a middle finger for good measure.
I deserve the rebuke. He’s right. It’s not exactly polite to speculate about an author’s longevity. If I were him, I’d be angry, too.
But when you want to stick it to someone like me, there are four words even more satisfying than simple vulgarity:
“I told you so.”
Finish the books, George. Make me look like a fool for ever doubting you.