The first time I heard of Game of Thrones, I was sitting in my glass cubicle in a hallway-of-a-building on the outskirts of Lynn. My coworkers had been complaining about books one afternoon, and though I usually avoided most conversations in that office, books I could do. They were talking about some author who had taken a ridiculously long time (six years) to come out with the newest novel in a series called “A Song of Ice and Fire.” In 2011, they were finally getting the next look into this fantasy world they described to me as dragons and kings and all those things I honestly didn’t ever really look for in a book, but if they were this excited, I may as well try it. On the other hand, growing up while JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter was an absolute killer (I had each one pre-ordered and delivered the day it came out). Starting something that wasn’t finished, and was started when I was eight, and hadn’t been finished when I was then twenty-three, my hopes to be left content with an ending seemed futile. And just for the record, I am now thirty, Mr. Martin, and you have two books left.
Which brings me to my point, which is why everyone is so upset about the end of the TV show that no one has been able to hide from in ages. I haven’t watched it yet, no sucky season for me right now. I’m back on season five or so because when we knew winter was coming, we stopped The Office reruns and started from the beginning. But even without watching it yet, and just seeing the internet explode with unamused rage at what appears to be one of the most catastrophic ends to so much hype it actually amuses me. But I blame Mr. Martin, and I can because I’m a writer that says she’s going to write a few books…and has not. I can because I appreciate memes like this one. I blame him for letting people not wait until he wrote the damn ending.
Look at the facts, I’ve watched all of the seasons except for the final one. It’s an addicting show. Mostly, I believe, because of the mental gymnastics it takes to hold characters and storylines in place and once you do, they all slowly die and new ones show up so its all very complicated and bloody and you have to pay attention. If Rami sneezes I’ve missed half of the discussion of some secret plan that’ll last through the entire subplot for the next few episodes. Over these seasons, you get to love people and hate others. You get excited to watch, and it turned into a thing. It’s a subculture.
So when it apparently all went to hell, I can only see one possibility of how: no one had the ending, and no one has the ending yet. Not even Mr. Martin, who obviously helped in the creation of the TV series, but still hasn’t written the end. In his own words on his Not a Blog, George tells us in absolute writer-fashion when we’re trying to avoid getting to something we know we should have already:
“And I’m writing. Winter is coming, I told you, long ago… and so it is. THE WINDS OF WINTER is very late, I know, I know, but it will be done. I won’t say when, I’ve tried that before, only to burn you all and jinx myself… but I will finish it, and then will come A DREAM OF SPRING.
How will it all end? I hear people asking. The same ending as the show? Different?
Well… yes. And no. And yes. And no. And yes. And no. And yes.”
No one can replace a writer’s mind when they are in the mood to write. Not even the best screenwriters – because it isn’t theirs. Books hold so much more than a screen can ever capture because it can consume you in a way that a movie never will. Real readers know that, and real writers know that. So regardless of how the next two books are written, or when they will be, if they will be, I’m almost positive they’ll be better than whatever tragedy just fell upon all of your tv sets. And if he hadn’t been procrastinating, or maybe those reckless characters he created just would’ve just settled a bit in his head, maybe we would’ve already had an ending, and maybe your finale watch party would’ve been a little more cheery. Writing isn’t easy. How this man had all of that mess inside his incredible imagination is baffling to me. I’d take years to write something like that too. Probably longer.
Moral of the story?
If you believe in authors, you reap the benefits. If you push people to write, your Sunday evenings can have a new meaning that you very much appreciate. If you respect writers, they will finish things more, so you can have more stories, more excitement, and no one will have to patch up the ending.
Yes, I’ll watch the terrible end of The Game of Thrones, but I’ll really now be waiting for those last two books, and, as Mr. Martin himself instructs: “How about this? I’ll write it. You read it. Then everyone can make up their own mind, and argue about it on the internet.”
I can’t wait to join in on that argument, and I wonder how many people will read the books, and how many more years will we wait?