A Dance With Dragons, the latest book in George R.R. Martin's beloved A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy epic, was released a month after the finale of Game of Thrones Season One. That was nearly a decade ago on July 12, 2011. And as the show became a global phenomenon, passed the material in Martin's five of seven planned novels, and the story concluded with eight seasons of Game of Thrones—fans have been waiting for the sixth book Winds of Winter.
And, finally, for the first time, there's light at the end of the tunnel. George R.R. Martin has given an actual, tangible window for when he'll finish the book. This comes after years, of vague updates from the author, of assurances that he's slowly writing, of fears of writer's block. But, he has finally updated his readers that he hopes to have the book done next year. As Martin wrote on his blog:
If nothing else, the enforced isolation has helped me write. I am spending long hours every day on THE WINDS OF WINTER, and making steady progress. I finished a new chapter yesterday, another one three days ago, another one the previous week. But no, this does not mean that the book will be finished tomorrow or published next week. It’s going to be a huge book, and I still have a long way to go. Please do not give any credence to any of the click-bait websites that like to parse every word of my posts as if they were papal encyclicals to divine hidden meanings.
I was heartbroken when CoNZealand was forced to go virtual due to the pandemic and I had to cancel my plans (exciting plans) for a long trip down to Wellington with Parris and my minions… but there is definitely a silver lining in that cloud. The last thing I need right now is a long interruption that might cost me all the momentum I have built up. I can always visit Wellington next year, when I hope that both Covid-19 and THE WINDS OF WINTER will be done.
I know it doesn't sound like much, but, to be clear this is the most optimistic announcement Martin has made about the book in nearly a decade.
He also gave fans a sense of what he's writing:
In between tapings, I return to Westeros. Of late I have been visiting with Cersei, Asha, Tyrion, Ser Barristan, and Areo Hotah. I will be dropping back into Braavos next week. I have bad days, which get me down, and good days, which lift me up, but all in all I am pleased with the way things are doing.
I do wish they would go faster, of course. Way way back in 1999, when I was deep in the writing of A STORM OF SWORDS, I was averaging about 150 pages of manuscript a month. I fear I shall never recapture that pace again. Looking back, I am not sure how I did it then. A fever indeed.
This is a man who writes famously slow. He began writing Game of Thrones in 1991, and nearly 30 years later we're still anxiously awaiting his conclusion. For a little context, it took Martin six years to write A Dance With Dragons, and at the time he said he might write the next one even faster, estimating it might take him three years. Well, he was wrong.
But, in his defense, it takes time to write the most famous fantasy series since Lord of the Rings. This is a guy who has written thousands of years of Westeros history—give him a break.
We'll get Winds of Winter—let's just hope humanity is still around to read it.
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