I hereby begin the first session of The Winds of Winter Support Group. Welcome everyone. I am Mr. Blue, I will be leading this first session.
So, a little bit about myself, I first picked up A Song of Ice and Fire in 2003. I remember waiting for the release of A Dance with Dragons and how long that seemed. Now we gather, nine years after that book was published, to wait for The Winds of Winter. I have officially been waiting for an A Song of Ice and Fire book to be released for seventeen years of my life.
I know lots of you have been reading the series longer than me. Can all those who have been waiting for an ASOIAF book for more than twenty years please stand and receive a round of applause.
*the room claps sadly while fighting back tears*
Truly incredible. My heart goes out to all of you. I want to begin this first meeting by addressing THE question. I think it’s important we start with this particular question because it hangs heavy over any meeting like this… “Will we get to read The Winds of Winter?”
*room mumbles and grumbles*
Yes. I know. I know. In light of GRRM’s announcement that he will finish the book by the end of the year 2021 we all prefer the more comfortable question of “When will The Winds of Winter be released?” but we should start our support to each other by addressing the toughest question first.
Would anyone like to share their feelings on this subject? No? Okay, I can share.
Despite the recent announcement, I’m not sure we will ever get to read The Winds of Winter. The chances certainly don’t look great. GRRM has had every motivation and opportunity to release the book in the past decade. Would’ve been great to release before the HBO series caught up to what was written in the books…. would’ve been awesome to have it before the final season… would’ve been perfect timing to be able to read it after the series ended, when everyone was clamoring for a better envisioning of the story.
It sure feels like if he didn’t get it written for those momentous occasions, he is certainly lacking motivation to do so now when the dust has settled, and he has already made this much money.
Also, the wait between books is growing longer and longer as his story is getting bigger and bigger. There is always the possibility that all of the storylines and characters have created a Gordian Knot of a plot, and even the author is unable to untie it and reveal the story within. This is likely if you consider that GRRM has started and completed numerous other projects during the wait for Winds of Winter. I acknowledge all of these things when I say I choose not to believe GRRM.
*room starts to get angry*
Listen! Listen! We are here to support each other! We need to acknowledge the situation! And in my heart of hearts I still believe that we will get to read Winds of Winter someday! And hopefully it is at the end of 2021.
*room murmurs in agreement*
However… this is a support group designed to help us deal with the wait. And having been someone who logged onto GRRM’s blog over and over again to see if he had announced his next book, having been someone who believed, not one…not two… not three… but who knows how many projected publication dates, I have to say…even though it pains me to say it… that when it comes to GRRM books and his projected timelines, hope is not your friend.
Hoping and waiting and looking forward to getting your hands on a copy of that precious novel- imagining yourself standing in line for hours for the books release, picturing yourself, with a cleared schedule, doing nothing but devouring the novel, will do nothing but lead you to despair my friends.
I offer you another route. One that is hard to grasp but infinitely more friendly to your psyche. Expect nothing. Hope for nothing. Instead assume that the book does not exist and will not be made available…ever. This strategy has helped me overcome the last seventeen years of waiting, and I know it can help you to.
*members of the group rise and leave*
I understand, and I don’t blame you. But I know that if we stop expecting The Winds of Winter, then we can finally be at peace. We can move on to other things, maybe not better things, but newer things. And then, if someday, a day that we no longer can dare to hope for, if GRRM were to stop all of his seventeen other projects and release the book, we can all join together in surprise and happiness and read the book together, free from the bondage of waiting.
There a couple things, however, that one must do in order to be able to adopt this method of waiting. The first, and maybe the most difficult, is to come to grips with the end of the TV show.
*almost the entire room leaves*
It happened! We have to accept it. It wasn’t perfect. It had many flaws. But we have AN ending. Only by accepting this truth can one be freed from the bondage of waiting for The Winds of Winter as a pseudo-savior from the laziness of the last season of storytelling.
The second thing you must do, as I have already mentioned, is to find new stories. Watch new shows, watch great films, read terrific books. If you need a new high fantasy series, ask a nerdy friend. I personally recommend the Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever trilogy and two series that I read upon GRRM’s recommendation The Long Price Quartet and The Sundering books. You can also read Dune in preparation for the upcoming film. All of these stories will help us deal with a new reality that is not predicated on the release of The Winds of Winter. A healthier reality.
Some people dare to hope, which is very brave. But in the face of this obstacle, I dare not to hope. I dare to let go and enjoy my life without the projected timelines of a book we may never read hanging over my head.
I thank you for joining me for this first session of The Winds of Winter Support Group. If any of you are willing to come back please let me know on your way out and we may have a second meeting sometime in the future.
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