As reported at the Tower of the Hand, Censoros, Reddit, and a host of other sites dedicated to George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire or geekery in general, a letter written by George in 1993 to his agent has surfaced on the Internet (photos of the letter tweeted by HarperCollins). Right, only a couple of days I lamented the lack of any interesting Ice & Fire-news, and now we get this. It is really nice to get some insight into how Martin originally envisioned his tale to develop. So much changed since his original conception. I know that this is how such things usually go - there's a huge difference between the early ideas and the final product, but we usually get nothing like this from George R.R. Martin, so no wonder this news sends ripples through the communal pond.
What I found more interesting than the original early conceptual ideas, however, is Martin's words to his agent, Ralph Vivinanza, perhaps especially the following:
There it is.
I suppose I don't need to say anything more than that.
There it is.
The simple answer to the question, "Why does it take so long between novels?"
Once he arrived at Feast, Martin was basically forced to outline and plan a little, in order to go ahead with his tale. This is confirmed. He needed to choose a structure, needed to pick the chapters and storylines he wanted to advance in Feast, and which to postpone to Dance, and make them all sync (more or less) -
- and, having discussed the series' ending with the creators of HBO's Game of Thrones, even more of the future of the story has been set...thus, explaining the Long Waits. It cannot be stated any simpler than this: George R.R. Martin has lost (all) interest in writing it.
Now, since plans do change, and so much of his outline in this letter has already changed, I don't feel that anything here can be taken as major revealing spoilers - i.e,, the five surviving characters back then may not be who will survive the actual books, if finished. Perhaps the notion that Tyrion Lannister will eventually ally with the Starks will come to fruition?
What is funny, in my opinion, is that these ideas, when presented like they are in this letter, don't really sound all that interesting in the sense that without Martin's prose and just a presentation of his ideas it all sounds much less awesome than the actual text in A Game of Thrones (and so on). I'm sure this Constanza-fellow scratched his head at some of Martin's explanations, WTF IS A KHAL DROGO?! know what I mean?
Now, if anyone can figure out what's behind that next-to-last paragraph...