As you’ve no doubt heard by now, J.K. Rowling yesterday posted a new, 1,500 word Harry Potter story on Pottermore, the series’ subscription-only web platform. “Dumbledore’s Army Reunites” is written as a newspaper article by the books’ resident tabloid hack Rita Skeeter, and finds Rowling’s teenage heroes now in their mid-30s and attending the Quidditch World Cup. Naturally, Rowling’s avid fans got a wee bit excited and, even though you might expect the site to brace itself for the inevitability that every one of its subscribers would instantly want to read the first new material in the series for seven years, Pottermore crashed soon after the story went live. The site is now fully operational again, however, so fans can read the story over and over as they wait in line at Universal Studios’ new Diagon Alley attraction, which coincidentally (ahem) also opened yesterday.
That’s certainly one way to placate a rabid fanbase, but it doesn’t appear to be George R. R. Martin’s way. In a video interview with Swiss daily newspaper Tages-Anzeiger that has since gone viral for reasons that will become clear immediately, Martin doesn’t take too kindly to a question hinting at some readers’ anxiety that the 65 year old author will die before he finishes his Song of Ice and Fire series (fans of Martin’s who can take all the graphic violence he can throw at them but faint dead away at the merest hint of a curse, avert thine eyes): ‘Well I find that question pretty offensive frankly, when people start speculating about my death and my health, so fuck you to those people.’ As he says it, he laughs and gives the fans in question the finger, which has also led to this GIF, so you’re welcome.
Martin does also address those concerns in a more measured fashion, saying: ‘I can’t write any more than one word at a time and I know myself, I’m 65 years old now, I’ve been writing professionally since 1971. I know my working methods. I don’t work when I travel, I don’t work in motels, I don’t work in airplanes, I don’t work on trains, I work at home when I have a nice, big uninterrupted block of time in which I can really lose myself in my work, and it’s worked for me my entire adult life, I’m not gonna change it now because some people are too impatient to wait for the next book.’
He added: ‘Lately I have been slowing down. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’m getting older. I think it’s partly that but I think it’s also partly that the series is so much more successful that there comes demands that come with the success, there’s the television show which demands a certain amount of my attention, there’s all the other spin-off things, the games. The work of writing, the writer’s work is not just limited to writing his books. In the modern age there’s all these other obligations.’
So in other words, the next book will get here when it gets here. Or in other, other words… well, did you see the GIF?
He was chief hack and music editor of webzine Brazen from 2006 to 2010, and hosted Left of the Dial on Subcity Radio from 2008 to 2011.
He can be heard semi-regularly on the podcast of Scottish cultural blog Scots Whay Hae ('20th best website in Scotland!' - The List), and in 2011 founded Seen Your Video, a film and music podcast and blog based in Glasgow. He has a Masters degree in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow that will never have any practical application. You are on a hiding to nothing if you follow him on Twitter expecting any kind of hot publishing scoop.