There’s a nursery rhyme, isn’t there, about George R.R. Martin, the friendly-train-driver-faced author of the A Song Of Ice And Fire books that form the basis for the hit TV show Game Of Thrones. You always hear kids singing it while playing, like, hopscotch and shit. It goes like this:
George R.R. Martin
Is real good at startin’
Books that take ages
With too many pages
But folks get irate
When his books come out late
So he really oughta
Write quicker and shorta.
(NB. That is not a real nursery rhyme.)
Fans of the books have been eagerly awaiting The Winds Of Winter, the sixth novel in the ASOIAF series, for years - the last volume, A Dance Of Dragons, was published in 2011. Every year or so, there’s a flurry of excitement that it might be on the way, for real this time, before an update on Martin’s LiveJournal (yeah, LiveJournal, bonkers) regrettably informs the world that it’s still an age away.
Earlier this year he announced that a book was coming out… but it wasn’t that one. Volume one of Fire and Blood, coming out in November, is instead a companion to the world of the novels. It was meant to be some text accompanying a visual companion to the world he’d created, but he accidentally wrote hundreds of thousands of excessive words, the ninny, so this is what’s happening instead.
The book’s tagline says it all: “100 years before A Game Of Thrones, dragons ruled Westeros.”
In February Martin wrote: “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.”
But a new update has suggested that, rather than being a strictly-for-the-hardcore extra, a reference work supplementary to the important stuff, it could be essential reading for fans of the TV show.
There are up to five prequel shows in development by HBO at the moment. They’re all shrouded in secrecy, but HBO president Casey Bloys revealed that none of the plans involve characters currently seen in the show, but that “there may be bloodlines”.
The natural question then, is, given that it might include familiar bloodlines and Martin’s just written a book that heavily features one particular bloodline, will one of the shows be based on the Targaryens?
Martin declined to answer properly, in a way that pretty much says “Yeah, it is, one of them is about the Targaryens”. Here’s his answer:
“As most of you know, HBO is presently developing a number of different prequels to Game of Thrones. I know I am going to be asked whether those shows are going to be based on material from Fire and Blood. It’s a logical question. The only answer I can give is… ah, well, no-one is sure yet, and anyway, I am not allowed to say. So let’s move that to the side.”
That’s a yes, isn’t it, you question-non-answering, wrong-book-writing, right-book-not-writing, too-into-incest, Santa-esque, probably-great-at-cuddling megabillionaire? You’d say no otherwise.
This means we’re going to have to read it in November, doesn’t it? Damn it, George.
(Pics: Getty, HBO)