Game of Thrones fans hoping for the sixth book of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series to come soon: Don't hold your breath. The novel's release has been delayed repeatedly, so much so that the HBO series already aired an episode with the same title as the book, The Winds of Winter.
Martin clearly isn't bound to deadlines, though his books do have meticulous details that help give his world of Westeros the necessary context and realism. How does someone so detail-oriented miss deadlines like this?
Perhaps the best way to describe Martin's writing process is to look back at his adolescence — a letter to an idol, actually — to see just how far back these quirks reached.
A 16-year-old Martin wrote a fan letter, posted to Imgur, addressed to two comic book legends: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. As he praises Lee and Kirby for their work, he also explains a repeated flaw in their comics: the inexplicable ways in which characters can resurface without context.
"I regret to inform you that I found one flaw in this otherwise perfect masterpiece, a flaw that is, regrettably, very common with you," Martin wrote. "When we last saw the Red Ghost in Fantastic Four #13 he was stuck on the moon being chased around by three super-powered apes livid with hatred and waving Mr. Fantastic's paralyzer ray at him. Now suddenly you bring him back in full control of his apes without one single word of explanation."
Martin's enthusiastic critique is clear: These twists are cool, but just let the readers know how it unfolded in the future.
"I'll wish you good luck on all forthcoming books, but Stan, don't pull out any more returning villains out of your hat," Martin concludes. "Next time, tell us how they remade the scene — OK? OK!"
Read Martin's letter to Lee and Kirby below.