I worry that George R.R. Martin will die before finishing his Song of Fire and Ice series, and yes, that’s not a nice thing to think.

George R.R. Martin is the author of the popular Song of Fire and Ice series which you may know better as Game of Thrones.


He’s currently writing the sixth of that was originally going to be seven books in the series, though he recently hinted that there may be an eighth.

Martin is 65 years-old. He’s not exactly the picture of health.

It took him six years to write the most recent book in the series, A Dance with Dragons, and it has taken him 15 years to write the five books written so far.

At this pace, he will complete the final two books by the time he is 72 years-old, and if there really is an eighth book planned, he will be close to 80 when he finally wraps the series.

For these reasons, I have decided to wait to read the books, fearing his demise before the series is complete.

This is not an entirely unfounded position. Stephen King’s Dark Tower series (which you should all read immediately) was nearly cut short when King was hit by a van and nearly killed in 1999 with three books to go.

When I first heard about the accident, my first thoughts went to The Dark Tower’s Roland and his ka-tet. As saddened as I was to hear about King’s death (it was originally announced that King had died in the accident), I was equally distraught over the idea that Roland’s journey to The Dark Tower would never be realized.  

Perhaps fearful that he may never finish the series if he didn’t work quickly,  King promptly completed the final three books in the series  in 2004 (publishing one in 2003 and two in 2004).

Then he added a book for good measure in 2012.


So yes, I worry about Martin’s ability to complete his masterpiece. He’s not a young man, and he seems to require about five years to finish a book. I was nearly left hanging in the midst of a masterpiece once before. I don’t want that to happen again.

Apparently I am not alone in this sentiment. Others have expressed this concern openly and often. Martin recently addressed the many people who have expressed concerns over his ability to complete the series before his demise:

“I find that question pretty offensive, when people start speculating about my death and my health. So f**k you to those people.”

He added a middle finger for good measure.

I deserve the rebuke. He’s right. It’s not exactly polite to speculate about an author’s longevity. If I were him, I’d be angry, too.

But when you want to stick it to someone like me, there are four words even more satisfying than simple vulgarity:

“I told you so.”

Finish the books, George. Make me look like a fool for ever doubting you.

Every death in A Song of Ice and Fire, displayed in rainbow-like horror

I have yet to begin reading the Game of Thrones series (actually called A Song of Fire and Ice). I’m watching it on HBO, but I’m afraid to begin reading the books. The author, George R.R. Martin, is 65 years old and has written five novels in the series since 1996, with six years elapsing between the last two books. He has two more books to write in order to complete the series, reportedly more than 1,000 pages each, and I refuse to start reading until they are finished.

We nearly lost Stephen King in a car accident before he was able to finish the Dark Tower series (an event that ultimately plays a role in one of the final novels in that series). I can’t imagine how I would’ve felt, never knowing the fate of Roland and his ka-tet. It would’ve been devastating.

Similarly, I can’t afford to invest that much time and energy in series of novels of this size without a guarantee of them ever being finished.

I realize that 65 isn’t as old as it once was, but the guy took six years to write the last book. There’s no telling how long these last two books will take.

I look forward to the day that Martin pens his final novel and I can begin reading. Until then, HBO is doing a fine job.

I wish I could credit the person who took the time to do this, but this photograph was sent to me without credit. It’s a stack of the five books currently written in the Song of Ice and Fire series, with a post-it note marking the death of every character.

The HBO series has already taught me not to get too attached to any character, but this seems a little excessive.