February 2, 2015
Winter is coming…but not this year
by Nick Davies
George R.R. Martin has earned quite the reputation for frustrating his fans with the ever-increasing delayed gratification in his A Song of Ice and Fire series. Originally intending to write a trilogy when he started in the mid-1990s, Martin has expanded the series to seven books as he keeps adding characters and plot lines (even hinting at a possible eighth), and the wait for him to finish writing each book seems to get longer with every installment.
Readers have been waiting for a new book since 2011—when book #5, A Dance with Dragons, published and the HBO adaptation Game of Thrones debuted and brought Martin lots of new fans. Now, Alison Flood reports for The Guardian, the author has confirmed that he doesn’t have any plans to have the next book, The Winds of Winter, completed any time in the immediate future.
Martin took to LiveJournal (as is his wont) to address speculation, based on a recent “12 Days of Christmas” promotion, that the new book was coming soon:
Somehow, from somewhere, the rumor arose that the “12 Days” were actually a countdown… not to Xmas, but to the publication of THE WINDS OF WINTER, or the announcement of its completion and/ or pub date.
Sorry. Not true. Look, I’ve said before, and I will say again, I don’t play games with news about the books. I know how many people are waiting, how long they have been waiting, how anxious they are. I am still working on WINDS. When it’s done, I will announce it here. There won’t be any clues to decipher, any codes or hidden meanings, the announcement will be straightforward and to the point. I won’t time it to coincide with Xmas or Valentine’s Day or Lincoln’s Birthday, the book will not rise from the dead with Jesus on Easter Sunday. When it is done, I will say that’s it is done, on whatever day I happen to finish.
I don’t know how I can make it any clearer.
That blog post is from December, and Flood writes that Martin’s publisher—Jane Johnson of HarperCollins—recently confirmed that The Winds of Winter would not be published this year. She says that she has no information about an expected delivery date and defends Martin, pointing out that “These are increasingly complex books and require immense amounts of concentration to write. Fans really ought to appreciate that the length of these monsters is equivalent to two or three novels by other writers.”
For those who are still eager for a piece of the Westeros universe, Johnson points out that 2015 will see the release of A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, a collection of three prequel novellas that have previously only been published in anthologies. The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword, and The Mystery Knight are set a century before the events of A Song of Ice and Fire, and “give fascinating insights into the ongoing story.” This is the first time the three short books—all told from the perspective of one knight, Ser Duncan the Tall—will be published together. Johnson promises a “particularly beautiful edition,” illustrated with black & white line drawings by Gary Gianni. The newly complied trilogy is due out in October.
Nick Davies is a publicist at Melville House.