Martin staying in Westeros to finish book

Author George RR Martin won't be finishing off his next book in New Zealand.
Author George RR Martin won't be finishing off his next book in New Zealand.

Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says he won't be travelling to Middle Earth to finish his long-awaited next novel.

But he's challenged New Zealand's national airline to fly fantasy fans over instead.

In an online message written in Valyrian - a fictional language from Martin's popular fantasy series - Air New Zealand offered to fly the American author to NZ "on us" to get some inspiration to finish his long-overdue sixth novel, The Winds of Winter.

In a tongue-in-cheek video accompanying the offer, the airline talked up "an epic trip" and even noted NZ was "responsible for the best ideas Australia has ever had".

Replying on his website, Martin said he was tempted but had already visited New Zealand on a number of occasions, listing in detail his adventures there.

He would be staying in Westeros to finish his book.

"I fear that New Zealand would distract me entirely too much," Martin said.

New Zealand became a pilgrimage site for fantasy fans after serving as the backdrop of the Lord of the Rings film series, and Martin noted he had visited Hobbiton during one trip.

"My minions have a video of me attempting to do a haka that they periodically use to blackmail me," he wrote.

But while he didn't take up the offer, the author called on the airline to instead fly a few dozen fans to Wellington next year for the World Science Fiction Convention - where Martin will be toastmaster for the renowned Hugo Awards.

"As it happens, I do have enough money to make it to New Zealand on my own ... but there are many American writers, fans, and artists who do not," he said.

In a statement, Air New Zealand said it was "stoked" to get a reply - and a promise Martin would have the book in hand when he visited in 2020 - but didn't say whether it would heed Martin's wishes.

The fifth instalment of Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series - which inspired the hit HBO show Game of Thrones - was released in 2011 and fans have long held their breath for what is planned to be the sixth of a seven-part epic.

Australian Associated Press