George R.R. Martin reveals that The Winds of Winter is still not finished and he’s not sure when the book will be released but he knows it won’t be before Game of Thrones season 6 debuts on HBO….
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
George R.R. Martin has been working tirelessly on the sixth novel in his Song of Ice and Fire series that serves as the inspiration to HBO’s hit show Game of Thrones, but despite a lot of writing done in 2015, the book is still not complete and he’s unsure when it will be delivered.
Martin broke the news to his fans late Friday night with a blog post where he revealed that the plan was to have The Winds of Winter finished by Halloween and then released ahead of Game of Thrones season 6, which will come out in April.
Unfortunately, Martin says delays continued to plague his writing and deadline after deadline passed and as 2016 begins he still hasn’t finished The Winds of Winter.
“The Winds of Winter is not finished,” Martin wrote. “Believe me, it gave me no pleasure to type those words. You’re disappointed, and you’re not alone. My editors and publishers are disappointed, HBO is disappointed, my agents and foreign publishers and translators are disappointed… but no one could possibly be more disappointed than me. For months now I have wanted nothing so much as to be able to say, “I have completed and delivered THE WINDS OF WINTER” on or before the last day of 2015.
“But the book’s not done. Nor is it likely to be finished tomorrow, or next week. Yes, there’s a lot written. Hundreds of pages. Dozens of chapters. (Those ‘no pages done’ reports were insane, the usual garbage internet journalism that I have learned to despise). But there’s also a lot still left to write. I am months away still… and that’s if the writing goes well. (Sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn’t.) Chapters still to write, of course… but also rewriting. I always do a lot of rewriting, sometimes just polishing, sometimes pretty major restructures.”
Martin understands the frustration fans and readers have while waiting for The Winds of Winter to be finished — it’s now been nearly five years since the last book A Dance with Dragons was released — and his goal to stay ahead of the television series will not happen this year.
When Game of Thrones began, Martin already had several books completed with A Dance with Dragons released shortly after the show launched but five years later as the television series continues to churn out episodes every April, the writer behind the source material for the show has slowed considerably.
The Winds of Winter is expected to be the penultimate book in the Song of Ice and Fire series and Martin has admitted in the past that with each passing page and chapter, the novels tend to get more in depth and longer in overall length.
Obviously, Martin is disappointed to share the news about the novel but he makes no excuses and no promises about the future of The Winds of Winter or the fact that parts of the book may be spoiled by Game of Thrones season 6.
Up till now, book readers have known at least the majority of the stories that have taken place on the TV series, but now Martin knows he’s not going to get the new novel released before Game of Thrones embarks on a new season that goes far and beyond his currently published work.
“There are no excuses. No one else is to blame,” Martin said. “Not my editors and publishers, not HBO, not David (Benioff) & Dan (Weiss). It’s on me. I tried, and I am still trying. I worked on the book a couple of days ago, revising a Theon chapter and adding some new material, and I will writing on it again tomorrow. But no, I can’t tell you when it will be done, or when it will be published. Best guess, based on our previous conversations, is that Bantam (and presumably my British publisher as well) can have the hardcover out within three months of delivery, if their schedules permit. But when delivery will be, I can’t say. I am not going to set another deadline for myself to trip over. The deadlines just stress me out. I am going back to my stance from last March, before all this. It will be done when it’s done. And it will be as good as I can possibly make it.
“I know what the next question will be, because hundreds of you have already asked it of me. Will the show ‘spoil’ the novels? Maybe. Yes and no. Look, I never thought the series could possibly catch up with the books, but it has. The show moved faster than I anticipated and I moved more slowly. There were other factors too, but that was the main one. Given where we are, inevitably, there will be certain plot twists and reveals in season six of GAME OF THRONES that have not yet happened in the books.”
Martin notes that there are many parts of the show that have gone away from his novels and ways his novels will go in different directions from the TV series.
At the same time, Martin did spend about two weeks with the Game of Thrones show runners a summer ago to give them the outline of the rest of his story along with the conclusion so they would have an idea where every character would end up and how the series would presumably end.
Obviously, Benioff and Weiss along with the writers on Game of Thrones could change directions but it’s not likely the story will deviate that much from Martin’s source material so chances are season 6 will end up spoiling at least parts of The Winds of Winter.
“So when you ask me, “will the show spoil the books,” all I can do is say, “yes and no,” and mumble once again about the butterfly effect,” Martin said. “Those pretty little butterflies have grown into mighty dragons. Some of the ‘spoilers’ you may encounter in season six may not be spoilers at all, because the show and the books have diverged, and will continue to do so.”
As far as the immediate future goes, Martin is going to continue to work on The Winds of Winter but he’s no longer making promises he cannot keep. The book will be finished when he’s done writing it and not a moment sooner but clearly he’s disappointed that he wasn’t able to complete the novel before Game of Thrones season 6 begins.
“I’ll keep writing. Chapter at a time. Page at a time. Word at a time,” Martin said. “That’s all I know how to do.”