Truly, what sweet, summer children among you thought that George R. R. Martin would be close enough to finishing The Winds of Winter in time for a 2015 release? It will not come to pass (it is known).
In a surprise to almost no one, Martin’s publisher HarperCollins told The Guardian that Martin is not finished with the sixth installment to his A Song of Ice and Fire series, the basis for HBO’s Game of Thrones (whose new fifth season trailer you can check out here).
Jane Johnson of HarperCollins said,
“I have no information on likely delivery. 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.”
Or as Neil Gaiman would put it, “George R. R. Martin is not your bitch.”
Sure, but …
Martin himself blogged about a recent “12 Days” countdown he had not leading up to Winds of Winter news:
“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.”
In the meantime, three prequel novellas will be available later this year in a new anthology. A Knight of Seven Kingdoms will include The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword, and The Mystery Knight as part of an illustrated edition.
Again, quoting Johnson,
“The novellas are illustrated in black and white line drawings throughout by Gary Gianni in classic style. It will be a truly lovely book, and I adore these clever, funny stories. They give fascinating insights into the ongoing story, from the point of view of Ser Duncan the Tall, a hedge knight, and his squire Egg – who may be rather more than he first seems. The short novels have been previously published in separate anthologies but never put together before, and this will be a particularly beautiful edition.”
As for what this Winds of Winter news means for the Game of Thrones TV series, well, those of us who have read the books and watched the show know how much the show has been increasingly diverging from the books in significant ways. The fact that, in practical terms, there’s no way now that the book series will finish up before the TV show seems to suggest an escalation of that divergence, as show creators D.B. Weiss and David Benioff forge their own path when it comes to the future of Westeros.
Is this a good or bad thing? Will it come close to what Martin has planned? Will book readers get annoyed by TV spoilers now? Is he laughing as he drinks our tears? Will we all be dead before the final books come out?
For more on Game of Thrones, check out today’s Season 5 developments: