It seems like any discussion involving George R.R. Martin and A Song of Ice and Fire (the fantasy series upon which HBO’s Game of Thrones is based) will inevitably circle around to the slow pace at which Martin is finishing his series and the likelihood of him dying before A Song of Ice and Fire is complete.

Since that sort of speculation seems to be increasing in fervor as Game of Thrones is rapidly catching up to Martin’s novels, George, who is only 65 years old, hasn’t been too pleased with people speculating about when he’s going to kick the bucket:

“I find that question pretty offensive, people speculating about my death and my health,” he said, in an interview with the Swiss newspaper Tagesanzeiger, “So fuck you to those people.”

He then gave “those people” the middle finger. No, the above image isn’t photoshopped.

And while Martin has every right to be upset with people who bash him when he’s seen in public instead of chained to a desk figuring out ways to kill all the characters you actually care about, the more pressing problem for book readers of the series is that the HBO show will very likely give people an ending to Martin’s story before he does.

Martin has acknowledged that he needs to pick up the pace of his writing:

“I need to write faster,” Martin recently admitted to Mashable. But he was also quick to note that nothing’s guaranteed. “I make no promises. I found out long ago that when you look at the overall task, the cathedral you have to build, it looks so daunting that you just give up and sit down and play a video game.”

[Gawker] [TheVerge]