A Song of Ice and Fire author George RR Martin’s propensity for taking ages to release each subsequent book of the series has long since ceased to be a joke for fans. 2016 came and went without the sixth book, The Winds of Winter, but Martin thinks–once again–that this is the year it finally comes out.
On Martin’s blog, a fan requested a status update and suggested any statement would placate fans. Martin was more than a little dubious of that claim, responding, “You really think statements like that would make a difference? Ah, you sweet summer child. I have years of experience with this that tells me otherwise. But okay, I will try it your way.”
He then offered some glimmer of hope for fans: “Not done yet, but I’ve made progress. But not as much as I hoped a year ago, when I thought to be done by now. I think it will be out this year.”
To properly manage expectations, he punctuated his response by pointing out this isn’t the first time he’s felt that way. “But hey, I thought the same thing last year,” he concluded.
The Winds of Winter missing out on a 2016 release was significant for longtime fans. While the Game of Thrones TV adaptation had already surpassed the books in some storylines, it was 2016’s Season 6 that meaningfully advanced the story well past where it stands in the books. That came as a real disappointment to people who hoped, after investing two decades in the books, to be able to experience the story for the first time through the novels. Given the popularity of the show, avoiding spoilers (like the fate of Hodor or Jon Snow, for instance) has proven to be a herculean task.
Martin sounded more than a little crestfallen last January, when he said he had “failed” by missing multiple deadlines. He placed the blame exclusively on himself and described the stress of writing.
“But the days and weeks flew by faster than the pile of pages grew, and (as I often do) I grew unhappy with some of the choices I’d made and began to revise…” he wrote last year. “[A]nd suddenly it was October, and then November… and as the suspicion grew that I would not make it after all, a gloom set in, and I found myself struggling even more. The fewer the days, the greater the stress, and the slower the pace of my writing became.”
Shortly thereafter, he revealed he was “astonished” by the positive feedback he received in the wake of that announcement. He’s been mostly quiet about the status of the book ever since.
As currently planned–and this has been known to change previously–The Winds of Winter will be followed by a seventh and final book, A Dream of Spring. Meanwhile, Game of Thrones will potentially wrap up with two more, abbreviated seasons, though prequels or spinoffs of some sort may follow in the future.