As the entertainment industry grapples with the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus, extreme measures are being taken all around the world and celebrities are finding themselves with a lot of time on their hands as they sit in isolation to prevent its spread. One of those is none other than A Song of Ice and Fire creator George R.R. Martin, who took to his blog to write about what's been going on in the world and how he's responding to it. Martin confirmed that his businesses the Jean Cocteau Cinema and the Stagecoach Foundation have shut down for the time being (with all staff still being paid) and that he's at home working on the long fabled Winds of Winter novel.
"For those of you who may be concerned for me personally… yes, I am aware that I am very much in the most vulnerable population, given my age and physical condition," Martin wrote. "But I feel fine at the moment, and we are taking all sensible precautions. I am off by myself in a remote isolated location, attended by one of my staff, and I'm not going in to town or seeing anyone. Truth be told, I am spending more time in Westeros than in the real world, writing every day. Things are pretty grim in the Seven Kingdoms… but maybe not as grim as they may become here."
"Some days, watching the news, I cannot help feeling as if we are all now living in a science fiction novel," he added. "But not, alas, the sort of science fiction novel that I dreamed of living in when I was a kid, the one with the cities on the Moon, colonies on Mars, household robots programmed with the Three Laws, and flying cars. I never liked the pandemic stories half so well…Let us hope we all come through this safe and sound. Stay well, my friends. Better to be safe than sorry."
Martin has been writing The Winds of Winter for many years at this point with several updates along the way making the completed novel seem close to release only for the book to never appear. The novel marks the sixth book in the "A Song of Ice & Fire" series and would be the penultimate chapter in the story overall.
Much of the plot of later seasons of Game of Thrones seemingly revealed what will happen in the story since the TV series outpaced the books, but co-showrunner David Benioff previously told EW that it wasn't the case since the books and the show were telling two very different stories.
"People are talking about whether the books are going to be spoiled — and it's really not true," Benioff said ahead of the sixth season's premire. "So much of what we're doing diverges from the books at this point. And while there are certain key elements that will be the same, we're not going to talk so much about that — and I don't think George is either. People are going to be very surprised when they read the books after the show. They're quite divergent in so many respects for the remainder of the show."
Check back here for more updates on The Winds of Winter as we learn them.
(Cover photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)