A Song of Ice and Fire creator George R.R. Martin isn’t overly affected by technological trends; he still writes his Song of Ice and Fire novels on a DOS word processor, for Pete’s sake. Since 2005, he’s also maintained a personal blog on LiveJournal, called Not a Blog, where he wrote about his interests (a lot of stuff about football and the Hugo Awards), and occasionally about his work on ASOIAF, like when he announced back in January of 2016 that The Winds of Winter still wasn’t finished, or when he posted insights into his process while working on A Dance with Dragons.
One possibility is that Martin wants more control of his own content, particularly with The Winds of Winter getting closer to a release. But there’s another, more interesting possibility: fear of Russian interference.
Let me explain. As io9 summarizes, LiveJournal was purchased by Russian company SUP Media back in 2007, a couple years after Martin started blogging on it. Nearly a decade later, in December 2016, the company’s servers were moved to Russia. Then, around this time last year, LiveJournal’s terms of service were updated to ban “political solicitation” and “perform[ing] any other actions contradictory to the laws of the Russian Federation.” In other words, the service was being brought into compliance with Russia’s internet laws, which have a history of extreme censorship. For example, conversations about issues related to the LGBTQIA community are basically banned, as are certain expressions of political speech, as when Russia cracked down on the spread of an image of Russian president Vladimir Putin in heavy makeup.
Martin talks about politics from time to time, so he may have wanted to shift to a platform with fewer restrictions.
Also, under the new terms of service, any blog that gets over 3,000 views per day is required to register as a media outlet, which exposes it to yet more restrictions. And we checked Not a Blog 100 times a day for possible updates on Winds, so we’re pretty sure it crosses that threshold, although the rule doesn’t apply to paid, permanent accounts. And none of this gets into concerns about privacy. As an American living on American soil, Martin wouldn’t be as at risk of blowback as LiveJournal users in Russia, but he could still could have had his account deleted.
Whatever the reason, Martin’s blog has a new home on the net. With any luck, he made the change in preparation for some Winds of Winter-related announcement.