It’s a topsy-turvy time right now, as the human race attempts to get its collective shit together—never our strong suit, as a species—in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus. Beloved institutions are shuttering, jobs are being lost in unimaginable droves, and the whole world feels like it’s spinning ever more swiftly off its axis. In times like this, then, it can be comforting to cling to some bastion of normalcy—those reliable things that will never change, no matter how much self-quarantining we all decide to do. Things like the sun coming up, and the laughter of children, and the sound of George R.R. Martin lying that he’s definitely going to get the Winds Of Fucking Winter finished any minute now, just you see.
This is per Consequence Of Sound, reporting on the latest update from the Westeros creator’s Not A Blog blog. Most of the post is concerned with the status of Martin’s various businesses in New Mexico—including the closing of his Jean Cocteau Theater and non-profit, Stagecoach Foundation. But he does dip into his own status (healthy, happily), as well as what he’s been up to during this time of viral-imposed isolation: “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.”
Which is exactly the sort of comforting report that Martin has been issuing about the sixth A Song Of Ice And Fire book for literally the last nine years, ever since A Dance With Dragons arrived on bookshelves back in 2011. In the past, Martin has lied about finishing Winds in relation to all sorts of things, including his need to hide out from watching football games—no longer a problem—in order to maintain his focus. Not that he hasn’t published plenty of stuff in the meantime (including another ASOIAF book, Fire & Blood, which is being used as the basis for a new HBO series), but Winds Of Winter has become something of a now-welcome sticking point for the great author, a comforting reminder that for as strange as the world keeps getting, at least one thing we all assumed would never happen has still reassuringly refused to come to pass.