So why do I ask the question, “Does GRRM owe us?” A bit of back-story is necessary before I answer it.
In 1996, Martin published the first book in a projected series of seven under the umbrella name, A Song of Fire and Ice. Titled A Game of Thrones, I was intrigued from the first paragraph: here was a whole new world called Westeros, much more medieval than fantastical, with believable characters, profanity, sex, plots, sub-plots, sub-sub-plots, and a large dose of murder and mayhem. No one, absolutely no character big or small, was exempt from Martin’s inked axe. The unpredictability of the story was one of its major strengths.
In 1999, the second book, A Clash of Kings, came along, followed closely by the third, A Storm of Swords, in 2000. Martin was on a roll and so was I, a faithful reader. Or addict, if you must know.
But the roll hit a rock and I waited for the fourth installment. All of us did, thousands upon thousands of fans, waiting for our Martin fix. We waited for five years when, in 2005, A Feast for Crows (AFFC) was published. In a different format, and with cliffhangers galore.
In the three previous books, each chapter was named for a character and it followed that character’s thread. "Cersai,” for example, followed the goings-on of the evil Queen, while the next chapter, “Arya,” concerned the exploits of a desperate ten-year-old girl. In AFFC, however, only half of the major characters were included; the other half has not been “heard from” since 2000—including the best character of all (in my opinion), Tyrion.
Martin has every right to write what he wants and in whatever format he chooses. In addition, through excerpts on his website, the next book, A Dance with Dragons (ADWD), will be the stories of the missing half. Hopefully, and with speculation on my part, they will all come together again in books six and seven (both of which have names).
The problem is, it is May 2009, and no ADWD. The release date has been changed two or three times on Amazon, with the current date set for the end of September. Porcupine poop: don’t believe it. Martin promises on his site that he will announce ADWD the minute it’s completed—a promise that is dated January 1, 2008.
Does GRRM owe us? I say yes. I have a lot of time invested in an imaginary world I care about, not to mention flipping pages of appendices to keep the characters, their alliances, and their sigils (crests) straight in my crooked mind. At the very least, I believe Martin should be upfront and tell us he’s burned out if he’s burned out. Don’t just leave the thousands of worldwide fans hanging, the fans that have fattened his purse with gold coin.
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Boy, I do carry on sometimes, don't I. But I'm an emotional guy, and you can see the cloud of powder from my powdered wig fill the air when I'm all worked up.
For those of you who say you don't read fantasy and could care less about my excellent rant, think again. How many of you have read Rowling's Harry Potter series, and how would you feel if she'd strung you along for ten years and counting to finish her seven volumes? Yes, I thought so.