To George R R Martin and his fans: Calm down!

Published: July 14, 2014

Martin was asked to answer on the speculations regarding his health and inability to finish the book series. His answer was rather precise - the middle finger. PHOTO: REUTERS

Martin was asked to answer on the speculations regarding his health and inability to finish the book series. His answer was rather precise - the middle finger. PHOTO: REUTERS Martin was asked to answer on the speculations regarding his health and inability to finish the book series. His answer was rather precise - the middle finger. PHOTO: SCREENSHOT

Being an avid fan of the Game of Thrones books and series, the latest headlines that have been circulating online via international publications had me in a spin. The headlines and the article content articulated how fans globally have been worried over George R R Martin’s health and age, and how that might result in him not being able to complete the series. Moreover, when is the sixth book, The Winds of Winter, going to be released?

In an interview for the Swiss DailyTages-Anzeiger, Martin was asked to answer on the above speculations, and well, the answer was rather precise. It was the middle finger.

As a fan of his work, such news didn’t perturb me personally. However, what it did do was garner my attention. The reason for that were the unsuitable headlines that stirred an outrage. As a writer myself, I can relate to why Martin gave the response that he did. Deadlines, just don’t work out for writers, especially those who are “creating” a work of art that has become a global phenomenon. But then again, I’m nowhere close to being near Martin’s league of expertise to empathise to such a degree.

Yet, ethically speaking, is it right to ask your favourite author about how long will it take him to complete the series that you love, for fear that he might die before he finishes it? I think, not.

Martin as quoted from the interview stated:

“I find that question pretty offensive, when people start speculating about my death and my health, so £#@$ you to those people.”

And then raises that “tall-man” finger, just to make the message clearer.

Mr Martin, after having personally viewed that specific interview, I as a fan would like to say, please mind your attitude towards people who have made you who you are. Yet, I apologise for other fans to have asked such a demeaning question. But give the headlines a rest and focus on your series, and let “Winter” come already, without it coming and going! (Fans of the series can relate to my plight).

Martin’s official spokeswoman has denied that the comments were made by him by saying,

“The comment and gesture were in no way aimed at George R R Martin’s fans but at an interviewer sticking a microphone in his face and asking a rude and morbid question about his health. George would never disrespect his fans – he loves them, and he loves their passion.”

Well, if you see the clip of the interview, I don’t hear any improper question, instead a very straightforward one. Perhaps, the spokesperson needs to be more apt in responding to documented proof.

The fact that Martin had previously taken a hearty stance with his fans prior to the books becoming a television phenomenon is something to think about. In 2009, fans of the books were eagerly demanding to know why he hadn’t completed A Dance with Dragons. To this he replied saying that his fans didn’t like the thought of him enjoying football, that they despised his previous works and didn’t like him travelling off for vacations. He admitted that he had been wasting time when he should’ve been putting his head to wrap up the much awaited fifth book. Fans lashed out at him saying that he was “lazy”.

To this, I personally think that the fans are being a little too demanding and unrealistic. To be able to create such a legendary work of fiction requires time. So give it a rest, unless you really don’t want “Winter” to come and stick around!

In July 2011, when the thousand-paged book, A Dance with Dragons came out, the embargo was broken fortuitously with about 180 copies of the book being shipped off by Amazon to Germany. This accounted for many spoilers springing up all over the internet and caused yet another outrage by Martin who literally threatened to chop off the head of the culprit. He wasn’t happy with what had happened and reported that his publishers were enraged. Martin’s precise words for the offender if found were,

“I’d mount his head on a spike.”

Alright then, Mr Martin what happened wasn’t right, but how about maintaining “class and composure” as a popular writer?

In an interview not too long ago, when asked about the release of his sixth book, Martin snapped once again saying,

“I can’t write more than one word at a time… I know my working methods. I don’t work when I travel, I don’t work in hotels, I don’t work on airplanes, I don’t work on trains. I work at home.”

Here, again, I understand his conundrum because as a writer, I would need personal space and creativity flowing out of me to pen down a piece of epic fictional work. What I don’t understand, however, is public outrage from a known personality. It is just not acceptable.

Now to make matters worse, for those who are impatiently waiting for his sixth book, The Winds of Winter, although a fan website has claimed that Martin is totally devoted to writing the book and that it is due to be released in October or November 2015, but according to the maestro’s recent blog post, he has eloped for yet another vacation spree.

As hilarious as it all sounds, I think that too much of an uncalled for hype has been generated around it all. Whatever sort of publicity this is, it has worked. So let’s just enjoy the 10 episodes that we get to see annually and wait for the writer to give his best work in all due time.


Zara Hafeez

Zara Hafeez

A digital marketer, writer, a history buff, volunteer for humanitarian causes for The James Caan Foundation, UNICEF Promise for Children, among others and a tea-aholic. She tweets as @zara_hafeez (

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