Obviously wealth isn't a guarantee of anything; if you have a sudden massive heart attack (Smith, Gandolfini) or a pulmonary embolism as a cancer complication (Farina) treatment options are limited. My point is that for treatable, non-sudden illness, wealth opens a great many doors. It won't necessarily save you; Robert Jordan didn't even make it to the median life expectancy for someone with his illness. But let's not pretend that naming a few rich people who died young disproves a connection between wealth and longevity. Or, for that matter, that being visibly overweight automatically creates a major health risk. If we want to be morbid about it, anyone can die at any time with no warning. I also doubt that, after committing twenty years of his life and counting to this project, he'll suddenly get bored because a stripped-down version of the story is told in another medium.
But if people would rather be pessimistic, I'm fine with that; I've spent the past two years encouraging people not to imagine that The Winds of Winter
would come out before 2015. Even then, though, I don't see any reason to doubt the quarter-done claim; he had enough pages, including drafts, for that to be true at this time last year. I don't know whether "a quarter done" is based on his usual measure of (nominally) finalized chapters only. He consistently misestimated how much time it would take him to complete Feast
, which is why he stopped making such estimates, but he's never made an exaggerated claim about how much was done that I know of.
The quarter-done quote, by the way, came at a TV show red-carpet event in mid-March, and Martin didn't start work on The Winds of Winter
until early 2012. So it's more like 1/4 in 1.25 years, discounting the stuff left over from Dance
. At that pace, Winds
would take about as long to finish as Dance
, which had even more leftovers to start with. To be frank, though, even that's misleading, since much of Martin's work in 2012 was on finishing his contribution to the world book, for which he produced about 250,000 words, five times what was originally intended, so much that even after splitting some of it off into a novella for his Dangerous Women
anthology, more had to be put aside for use in a possible future encyclopedia-type volume.