If you’ve been spending a lot of time on Twitter (and let’s be honest, whomst amongst us isn’t), then you’ve probably seen at least one reminder that Shakespeare wrote King Lear (and Macbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra…) whilst quarantined during the plague. While responses to this have been mixed, to say the least, it seems as though the message is resonating with a certain fantasy author. In a new blog post published on Tuesday, George R. R. Martin revealed that his social distancing sessions have been nothing but productive.
“Truth be told,” he wrote, “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.”
To fans who immediately took this as a sign that Winter (that is, The Winds of) is coming: not so fast. It’s important to note that Martin has neglected to mention the specific name of the Westeros-set book he’s working on, so this could easily be another Fire & Blood situation. But it could also mean he’s making daily progress on the long-awaited sixth A Song of Ice and Fire book, so fingers crossed.
Elsewhere in the post, Martin revealed that he’s indefinitely shut down the Jean Cocteau Cinema and his non-profit, the Stagecoach Foundation, for safety reasons, but that all employees will continue to be paid. He also said he’s keeping his bookstore Beastly Books open (under careful monitoring, with precautions like disinfectants and sanitizers) until it seems like a better idea to shut it down, while the mail order service will also remain open.
Ending on a serious note, the author gave fans an update on his health and the safety precautions he’s taking during the pandemic: “For those of you who may be concerned for me personally… yes, I am aware that I am very much in the most vulnerable population, given my age and physical condition,” he wrote. “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.”
He signed off by wishing everyone to “come through this safe and sound,” attaching a 20-second hand-washing meme captioned with the Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear from Dune. Read the full blog post here.