George R.R. Martin, as many of you know, is the creator of the series A Song of Ice and Fire, which consists of four of the best fantasy novels I've ever had the pleasure of reading. Due to the impending release of his next book, I've been inspired to write about why I'm really, really mad at Martin.
To begin, I'll quote Martin's blog entry:
"As for me, I am getting back to work. There's good news on that front too -- A DANCE WITH DRAGONS is half-done!!!"
-George R.R. Martin, May 29th, 2005
Let me just point out that this was written just after A Feast for Crows was released. In 2005. In 2005, the next book (A Dance with Dragons) was, to quote, "half-done"(!!!) Through my expert use of math, I've deduced that it has taken around six years to write the next book. It has taken six years for the next installment of this book. And I take issue with this.
Which isn't to say I'm not going to read it, because I've been looking forward to it for at least four of those six years (The first book was recommended to me by a friend my freshman year of college.) I understand that it's quite the process to write a book, especially one as monstrous as Dance with Dragons. I don't really even have a problem with his work ethic (which author Neil Gaiman defended quite eloquently and succinctly in his blog: http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2009/05/entitlement-issues.html.)
No--my only issue with Martin is that, deep down inside, I'm still five years old. And like any five-year-old, I enjoy a good story more than anything else. To my five-year-old self, a good story is like a playground; I can spend hours swinging from the monkey-bars of syntax, playing tag with the characters and winding my way through the Plot Pipes. George R.R. Martin's series is no different, except for the fact that it's bigger and better than most other playgrounds. It's like one of those playgrounds that covers a good quarter of a city block, from the days before brightly colored plastic and rounded safety-corners. One of the playgrounds that rises above the gravel like a mountain, where you can get lost for hours climbing through the scaffolding or exploring the concrete tube tunnels that wind their way for what seems like miles beneath the splintering wood and scorching-hot tin of the best gosh-darn playground ever.
And, like any other self-respecting five-year-old at the best playground ever, I never want to leave. My parents could be promising three pounds of mint chocolate chip ice-cream and clawing at my ankles as they drag me bodily from the covered slide, but still I would hang on until my skinny arms were reduced to limp noodles.
To extend this metaphor far, far beyond the point at which it maintains coherency, George R.R. Martin is like the curator of the playground, who has decided that it would be so much cooler with an ultra-double-super-slide. So he's closed down the playground for renovation. And now all I want to do is go back and play on that playground.
This is where the metaphor breaks down: see, unlike a playground under construction, I can still go back and re-read the previous books in the series. And I have. At least twice. But I keep hearing so much about this ultra-double-super-slide that the rest of the series just makes me want to experience it firsthand that much more.
These books are like candy. These books are like waking up on Christmas morning to a living-room full of presents. These books are awesome.
What I'm trying to say with all of this, is that George R.R. Martin has created something that I enjoy so much that I find myself angry he's taken so long to give me more of it. The story that Martin has created in A Game of Thrones and the subsequent books is so viscerally real and so much fun that the world has been twisting its hands for six years waiting for the next one to come out. And, like any five-year-old hiding in a college graduate's body, it is very difficult for me to wait for that long.
But! The good news? The next book comes out on the twelfth of July.
And I am so excited.