To say 2020 was a difficult year would be a staggering understatement. In the midst of worrying about social distancing, recession, the elections, and various coups and humanitarian crises breaking out all over the world, people struggled to find the mental space to focus on work. But one person for whom the year turned out to be surprisingly productive is Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin. In a blog post on his website, Martin revealed that he has made a great deal of progress on finishing the second-to-last novel in his best-selling series, The Winds of Winter.

"I wrote hundreds and hundreds of pages of The Winds of Winter in 2020. The best year I've had on WOW since I began it. Why? I don't know. Maybe the isolation. Or maybe I just got on a roll. Sometimes I do get on a roll."
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As popular as the Game of Thrones novels have been, the series has also taken a long time to come to a conclusion. Martin wrote the first book in the series in 1996. Given the complexity of the world he had created, and his various other responsibilities, the author has had a tough time keeping to a fixed schedule for releasing each new installment in the books.

Fans were hoping that George R.R. Martin would be able to finish The Winds of Winter by 2020, as he had promised, even going so far as to state that fans can put him in jail if he does not produce the book in time for New Zealand's WorldCon 2020. When the book failed to materialize on that date, many fans jokingly demanded that Martin turn himself in to the police.

But although he was not able to finish the book last year, it seems Martin did make solid progress on the project. The celebrated author cautioned in his blog for fans not to start thinking that the novel is nearly finished since there is still a great deal of work to be done, and there should no more be a repeat of fans demanding he be jailed if another deadline is missed.

"I need to keep rolling, though. I still have hundreds of more pages to write to bring the novel to a satisfactory conclusion. That's what 2021 is for, I hope. I will make no predictions on when I will finish. Every time I do, assholes on the internet take that as a "promise," and then wait eagerly to crucify me when I miss the deadline. All I will say is that I am hopeful."

For many fans, a major part of the appeal of The Winds of Winter is to try to forget about the much-criticized final season of the Game of Thrones tv show. Hopefully, Martin's books will provide a more fitting end to the stories of the various characters from the series that fans have fallen in love with over the years. His news comes direct from the author himself at