New Info on ‘The Winds of Winter’ by George R.R. Martin

In a recent interview with SmarterTravel.com, George Martin described the plot of the beginning of the sixth novel in his A Song of Ice and Fire series, The Winds of Winter:

ST: One of the dominant themes in the first five books, in fact probably the tagline for the whole series so far, has been that winter is coming. By the end of A Dance with Dragons, winter is no longer coming, it’s finally here. What can you tell us about the book you’re writing now, The Winds of Winter?

GRRM: Well, I’ve posted a preview on my website, so you can read one chapter there, and there will be another chapter in the paperback of A Dance with Dragons when that comes out in the summer. So, you’ll get two free chapters. After that, it’s going to be awhile.

Obviously, I’m going to continue the story. There were a lot of cliffhangers at the end of A Dance with Dragons. Those will be resolved very early. I’m going to open with the two big battles that I was building up to, the battle in the ice and the battle at Meereen—the battle of Slaver’s Bay. And then take it from there.

Martin also told the interviewer a little about what he knew of certain main characters’ fates before writing the novels, and some more about what to expect in the next book:

ST: After what happened to Ned in A Game of Thrones and then Robb in A Storm of Swords, I find myself reading your books with this sort of pleasant pit of dread in my stomach.

GRRM: (Laughs)

ST: And yet, if Ned hadn’t died it becomes an entirely different series. The same with Robb. How early on did you know what was going to happen to those two characters in particular? Or were their deaths something that developed as you went along?

GRRM: I knew almost right from the beginning. I know the major beats of the story and who’s going to live and who’s going to die—the ultimate end of all the major characters. There’s a lot of fine detail that I discover along the way in the writing. For some minor characters I may make it up as I’m writing. So, if a major character is going to battle with his six friends, I don’t necessarily know what’s going to happen to all six friends when I sit down to write it. But the major players and the major lives or deaths or life-changing events have all been planned from the beginning.

ST: Along those same lines, a lot of people think you killed Jon at the end of A Dance with Dragons. You do have a history of doing terrible things to the Starks, but my gut says he probably survived. Would you care to comment on that?

GRRM: (Laughs) I will not comment on that.

ST: With Jon effectively out of the picture as Lord Commander, though—even if he lives—I’m not sure I like the Wall’s chances of holding back the Others now that winter has come. Is it safe to assume that we’ll be seeing them move south of the wall in The Winds of Winter?

GRRM: Well, I don’t want to give too much away, but you’re definitely going to see more of the Others in The Winds of Winter.

Joe Abercrombie Discusses His Next Trilogy

In the inaugural episode of the Fantasy Faction podcast, Fantasy Faction’s Marc Aplin and Paul Wiseall interviewed Joe Abercrombie, author of the First Law trilogy, two stand-alone novels in that same universe, and the forthcoming A Red Country, the final stand-alone volume before Abercrombie writes another trilogy, presumably a large-scale follow-up to The First Law.  Abercrombie mentions the interview himself on his blog.

Details on the trilogy have been thin, in no small part because Abercrombie himself doesn’t seem to know exactly where he’s going with the story, but the author game some details to Fantasy Faction in the podcast interview that I hadn’t heard before.

Abercrombie told Aplin and Wiseall that the new trilogy will probably feature a “next generation of characters” taking the major roles.  A Red Country apparently picks up about fifteen years after the end of The First Law, and the new trilogy will start five or ten years after A Red Country, meaning we can expect the new trilogy to begin at least 20 years after the end of The First Law.  The main characters from The First Law will therefore become the older generation, and will most likely appear as secondary characters (though Abercrombie notes that this is subject to change).  Jezal Luthar, for example, will likely remain in the background as “the old king,” probably much as he has done in Best Served Cold and The Heroes.

The main plot will probably be a “political civil war style plot based around the Union.”

Aplin and Wiseall tried to push him a little bit toward revealing how likely it was that characters from The First Law would return in major roles, and Abercrombie took the opportunity to discuss the “fine line,” as an author, “between giving people what they want and being bored.”  He seemed in general ready to move on from focusing primarily on the First Law characters, ready to take the series in a new direction.  But he was also definitely aware of fans’ desire to see a return to characters they know and love.

When discussion finally turned to the elephant in the room — the question of when we will find out what happened to Logen Ninefingers and if and when we will see the Bloody-Nine again — Abercrombie responded predictably (and understandably; it’s not as if we really want him to spoil the surprise): he said that he really “can’t ever answer that question [in an interview]” and that fans who want to find out should keep buying his books.  There’s an implicit promise there, and one thing I think we can be certain about is that, one way or another, Logen’s story isn’t finished.  Otherwise it would be cruel and unusual punishment for Mr. Abercrombie to keep playing coy.

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