The truly wonderful thing about Martin’s writing pace is that it gave me the time to find about 10 other authors to wash the taste out of my mouth from those books. I got into fantasy fiction because GOT was popular and I wanted to read before I watched. I was not prepared for the dismal and depressive world (with the 16,619 trees that George likes to tell me about the limbs on every one of them). I found Micheal Sulivan, Joe Abercrombie, Matthew Stover (who does GrimDark both more depressingly and more powerfully uplifting at the same time than Martin) and new guys like Brent Weeks.
Thanks Martin for helping to elevate fantasy fiction to the mainstream and then leaving your soul-deadening books behind you so we could all move on!