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COVID-19 silver lining: Will George R.R. Martin finish Winds of Winter?

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed millions of people into self-isolation, disrupting many lives and postponing events throughout the tech and entertainment industries.

There may be a silver lining for one of the most popular entertainment properties in the world, however. Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin may get around to finishing The Winds of Winter, the long-awaited next book in the saga that inspired HBO’s Game of Thrones. As he self-quarantines during the pandemic, Martin finally seems to have the time to devote to the sixth and penultimate novel in the popular series.

In a post on his website, Martin provides an update on the state of his many projects. The post is an ardent reminder that Martin has much more on his plate than The Winds of Winter, despite that fans likely wish he would just finish the follow-up to 2011’s A Dance with Dragons.

Although Martin never explicitly states he plans to finish The Winds of Winter, he does say he’s writing daily and the list of closures and hiatuses seems to indicate he will have significantly more time on his hands.

Meow Wolf , the interactive art museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico, has been closed down, as has Martin’s movie theater, the Jean Cocteau Cinema. His nonprofit, the Stagecoach Foundation. is also on hiatus. His bookstore, Beastly Books, remains open and continues to operate its mail-order service, but has canceled events.

Martin, 71, is also a member of the most at-risk demographic for catching coronavirus, the virus that causes COVID-19. He acknowledges this in his post.

“For those of you who may be concerned for me personally,” he writes, “yes, I am aware that I am very much in the most vulnerable population, given my age and physical condition.  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.”

Martin contends that times feel more and more like a science fiction novel but not “the sort of science fiction novel that I dreamed of living in when I was a kid.”

While there is little positive to take from a world in self-isolation to fend off a disease that has already afflicted thousands and killed hundreds more, the arrival of a long-awaited entry to a beloved book series might just be the silver lining we need.

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