07 Sep Is George R.R. Martin Pulling a Kanye?
The wait for the sixth book in George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series, A Song Of Ice and Fire has been somewhat similar to the various stages of the grieving process. As part of the community of book readers, I think it’s safe to say to say the majority of us are somewhere between anger and acceptance, which are steps 3 and 7 respectively in the process. Most of us have moved past that white-hot rage of wanting to send death threats to Martin’s house and are now a lot closer to a feeling of shimmering hope after seeing the way season six of Game of Thrones played out.
The latest installment in the anticipation saga for The Winds of Winter came on Tuesday when Martin’s long awaited novel received an international serial number indicating that it was registered by his publisher. While there was nothing to show for it online in the states, the French Amazon displayed a release date of March 9th, 2017 for The Winds of Winter, and the Internet promptly lost their collective shit with excitement. Martin’s UK publisher HarperCollins stated that “nothing has been finalized regarding the publication or the date,” and his US publisher Penguin Random House confirmed this later by telling Entertainment Weekly, “any on-sale dates currently listed online for the novel are incorrect. Once we have a publication date for The Winds of Winter, the world will know.”
We’ve seen this before with Martin’s novels, and whether that posting was a mistake by some Amazon intern or a true, bonafide leak doesn’t really matter at this point. Those dates used as placeholders are often arbitrary and pushed, and the book still needs to be put into production (bound, shipped, etc.) once Martin turns his story in; however, this news does give us a ballpark timeframe in which we can expect TWOW, and that small morsel of information has me salivating for the new book once again.
I caught up in the A Song Of Ice and Fire series before season four of Game of Thrones aired on HBO, so I’ve been in a state of “wake me when it gets here” for a while now. The book was initially planned for the end of 2015, but the release date was delayed and the TV show ended up passing its source material despite starting later in the year than ever. It’s been over six years since A Dance With Dragons was released and the time between books has only increased since Martin’s A Game of Thrones was published back in 1996; but, with the excitement continuing to mount with each passing day, I’m wondering if George R.R. Martin is pulling a Kanye.
Consider this for a minute, Kanye West first started hyping what would later be known as The Life of Pablo way back in December of 2014. We were supposed to get the prolific hip hop artist’s seventh proper studio album sometime that following year in 2015, but West continually pushed back his highly anticipated record into 2016 and made a complete and utter mess out of the rollout with short-lived promotions, botched deadlines, and misinformation. That mess, whether a beautiful mistake or meticulously planned, created this mad hysteria around the project that likely contributed to its immediate success, and George R.R. Martin could presumably benefit from a similar tactic.
This rollout approach has become a lot more common in today’s musical climate as artist such as Frank Ocean and Travis Scott recently continued working and revising through their given deadlines without a word. As the release dates came and went, the absence of the new projects created another narrative around the forthcoming material, and the buzz around their art only continued to grow. It’s kind of brilliant in an evil genius sort of way, but it takes a certain level of status and artistry to pull this off. I think Martin has reached this level as a writer and would actually benefit from an intentionally chaotic release. To this point, his sample chapters from Winds have served as one-off singles, he’s altered his schedule and ignored deadlines, and of course, he has the constant hype-machine of the TV adaptation to stay fresh in everyone’s minds.
You know, I’d been saying I wanted George to pull a Beyonce and just drop the book overnight while no one was paying attention, but if you ask me, the way it’s played out thus far feels a lot more Ye than B.