Much as we like to needle George R.R. Martin for taking his sweet time, the man is unfathomably busy. So much so, in fact, that he admits to no longer watching the HBO series based on his work, even if the two Game of Thrones have long since gone “their separate ways.”

Martin had no new updates on The Winds of Winter release date in conversation with Metro, though he did reiterate that “about twenty” characters killed off in the show will play a role in the next volume from the Song of Ice and Fire saga. It was Season 6 that started the biggest breaks from his work, with Season 7 barrelling at breakneck speed toward an endgame, timelines be darned, and Martin now reveals that he stopped watching the HBO series due to writing and touring.

At the very least, Martin defended Winds of Winter taking longer to write than most of his other books:

I did not start to write slower over the years. I was working on the first book for six year and four years on the second one. Fantasists who release their novels every year, do not offer books of large volume. These are not 1.5k pages like mine, but, for example, 500. In addition, I have not become younger. Age does not add enthusiasm.

The book is still projected to debut in 2018, while Game of Thrones will air its seventh season finale, “The Dragon and the Wolf,” this coming weekend. Perhaps Martin will tune in, if HBO spends another of those three twists gifted to them.

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