The old saying goes that you should never write a cheque your ass can’t cash, and it would appear that George RR Martin has finally written himself a gargantuan IOU that his prodigious anoos could never dream of fulfilling.

With Game of Thrones done and dusted for good, the pressure of finishing the book series the TV show long overtook is right back on. Even half-fans know the long-running joke is Siberian permafrost will fully melt before Martin manages to churn out The Winds of Winter, but Martin appears to have backed himself into a tight corner thanks to one of his near-endless blog posts.

The story goes that Air New Zealand recently posted a video message to Martin, inviting him to Aotearoa where they would put him up in a peaceful, secluded location where he can be free of the various distractions preventing him from finishing the book.

In the blog post Martin declined the offer, claiming that New Zealand would “distract me entirely too much,” because apparently this dude’s optimal work space is a four-foot walled-up cube buried fifteen feet below the ground.

He did, however, offer up an ultimatum: If Winds of Winter is not completed and released by the time he arrives in New Zealand for an already-planned trip in August 2020, then the country has permission to imprison him.

As for finishing my book… I fear that New Zealand would distract me entirely too much. Best leave me here in Westeros for the nonce. But I tell you this — if I don’t have The Winds of Winter in hand when I arrive in New Zealand for Worldcon, you have here my formal written permission to imprison me in a small cabin on White Island, overlooking that lake of sulfuric acid, until I’m done. Just so long as the acrid fumes do not screw up my old DOS word processor, I’ll be fine.

So there you have it. The rational read of that is that George RR Martin will take up New Zealand’s offer of a writing sanctuary if the book is not done by August next year.

But the more alarmist reading is that if George RR Martin doesn’t disembark a plane in Wellington carrying literal armloads of books he will be arrested on-site and thrown into a volcano lake by Kiwi authorities.

Either way, progress.

Source: GeorgeRRMartin.com
Image: Getty Images / Amy Sussman