George RR Martin
George RR Martin, author of the "Song of Ice and Fire" fantasy series that is the basis of the television series "Game of Thrones," gestures during his masterclass at the Neuchatel International Fantastic Film Festival (NIFFF) in Neuchatel, July 10, 2014. Reuters/Denis Balibouse

Another year is about to go by, and there’s still no announcement about the release date of “Winds of Winter.” What is taking George RR Martin so long to complete the book? A fan theory explores a possible reason for the delay.

In a new Reddit thread, a fan has compiled a list of quotes by Martin to make a case for the possible reason for the delay of the book. The theory claims that the author is obsessed with giving out details about the actions of his characters, making sure all plot holes are filled. Then there’s the question of the ending he’s planning.

The fan has compiled quotes that have to do with Martin’s critique of JRR Tolkien’s work. In a way, “A Song of Ice and Fire” is inspired by the “The Lord of the Rings” novels, but the newer series is different in its approach to storytelling.

The theory points out that Martin, just like his fans, is interested in showing details. The author had said in one of the interviews that Tolkien never dwelled into details like whether Aragon's standing army or his taxation policy.

Another distinction between the two authors is that Martin doesn’t focus on the main events. There has been a War of Five Kings, but the story focuses more on the individual characters rather than the main event. This approach may continue until the end, with the author explaining how things will be after the final war against the Night King.

“Winds of Winter” is the penultimate book in the series. That means the author has very little room to manoeuvre. It will be difficult to fill too many plot holes in the last book in the series, so the author has to make sure he starts tying up the loose ends. All of this could be causing the delay in finishing the novel.