Fans of the A Song of Ice and Fire series, aka Game of Thrones in book form, have been (impatiently) waiting for the penultimate book in the storyline since volume number five was released over seven years ago.

And while they all understand that good things take time, the wait can be a little hard to swallow when its writer George R.R. Martin seems to be devoting more of his time to assorted side-projects like Fire and Blood, the newly-finished history of House Targaryen, rather than just getting on with the long-awaited Winds of Winter.

Speaking to EW, Martin addressed the anger he feels from his most hardcore fanbase, who would have rather have finished the story through the books, than have it spoilt by the TV show, which is now far outpacing its written inspirations.

“I know there are a lot of people out there who are very angry with me that Winds of Winter isn’t finished,” he began. “And I’m mad about that myself.”

“I wished I finished it four years ago. I wished it was finished now. But it’s not. And I’ve had dark nights of the soul where I’ve pounded my head against the keyboard and said, ‘God, will I ever finish this? The show is going further and further forward and I’m falling further and further behind. What the hell is happening here? I’ve got to do this.’”

“I just got the [Fire and Blood] copy and… It’s been a long while since I had a new Westeros book and nobody knows that as well as I do. I know that just as much as the angriest of my hardcore fans. And I have continued to publish other things.

“It’s not like I’ve been on a seven-year vacation. I have Wild Cards books coming out every six months. But not like this, one that’s entirely my writing. So to finish a book that I’m proud of and excited by was emotionally a big lift for me.”

It’s understandable that Martin may need a bit of an emotional boost mid-way through  such a long writing project, one that began decades ago – and he deserves the chance to spend some time enjoying his relatively newfound mainstream acclaim.

But for those who feel the latter seasons of the show have become a bit sloppy and rushed compared to his expertly-woven narratives, let’s just hope that his little writing break propels him to new heights of creativity – and a finished Winds of Winter.

For fans of the series, we also have the upcoming Game of Thrones prequel series, The Long Night, to look forward to. There’s no official trailer yet, so instead, here’s a little something else to set the scene:

Watch ‘The Long Night’ and ‘The Wall’:

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