Well there are no twists or spoilers here: Author George R. R. Martin has announced that, once again, the sixth novel in his A Song of Ice and Fire series, The Winds of Winter, will not be released in 2018. Fans have been anticipating the penultimate book of the series that Game of Thrones is (or at least was) based on since the release of Martin’s fifth book in the series, A Dance with Dragons, in 2011. Though Martin has had some famously long waits between the releases of his Ice and Fire novels, Winds of Winter will most definitely take the lemon cake.
On his blog, Martin revealed that one of the many projects he’s been working on instead of The Winds of Winter (which also includes some potential Game of Thrones spinoffs), Fire & Blood, will come out this year.
“It’s a hefty book, almost a thousand manuscript pages (okay, 989, if you want to be precise),” he wrote. “That’s not quite as long as ‘A GAME OF THRONES’ or any of the later volumes in ‘A SONG FOR ICE AND FIRE,’ but there’s a lot of reading there, and I hope you’ll enjoy it. This first volume covers all the Targaryen kings from Aegon I (the Conquerer) to the regency of Aegon III (the Dragonbane), along with their wives, wars, siblings, children, friends, rivals, laws, travels, and sundry other matters. For those not up on your Westerosi history, that’s Aegon I, Aenys, Maegor the Cruel, Jaehaerys I (the Conciliator), Viserys I, Aegon II (and Rhaenyra), and Aegon III (the regency). Oh, and there are dragons too.”
As for whether that could be fodder for another Game of Thrones series, Martin wrote:
“As most of you know, HBO is presently developing a number of different prequels to ‘GAME OF THRONES.’ I know I am going to be asked whether those shows are going to be based on material from ‘FIRE & BLOOD.’ It’s a logical question. The only answer I can give is… ah, well, no one is sure yet, and anyway, I am not allowed to say. So let’s move that to the side.”
There’s plenty to speculate on as to why Martin would be holding off on finishing the Winds of Winter, but the most likely could be that he’s waiting for the HBO series to conclude first (which it will do next year). In the last season and a half, Game of Thrones has gone past Martin’s published books and forged its own way, for better or worse. Though showrunners Dan Weiss and David Benioff have said that Martin shared his endgame with them, which they are building to, there are plenty of ways for Martin’s stories to continue to differ from the show (as has already been the case in the series so far). It’s also possible that Martin could change his endgame, or other major parts of his books, in response to the show.
We will find out in the next 10 to 20 years, maybe. Although we’re already at the point where fans should be asking “if” instead of “when.”
Game of Thrones returns for its final season in 2019.