In a sad but understandable post, A Song Of Ice And Fire author George R. R. Martin announced that The Winds Of Winter , his next book in the series that Game of Thrones is based off of, will be delayed. Not only is the news that the sixth sequel to the 1996 debut novel A Game of Thrones has been further delayed disappointing to book readers, but it's a big deal for fans of the show as well: While many had wondered whether the upcoming book will come before the upcoming season of Game of Thrones, we now have an answer. In his January 2 blog post, Martin revealed that finishing the book would take him months at minimum — and since the sixth season of the HBO show is scheduled to air in April 2016, it would certainly be a miraculous feat for Martin to publish the book in time.
And, no, this was not the plan all along. In fact, Martin's post revealed that many, including HBO, are disappointed in the book's unfinished status. Martin wrote that he realized he was letting many people down:
THE WINDS OF WINTER is not finished. 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.
Why is HBO so invested in when the next book comes out? Because HBO's Game of Thrones series is in danger of surpassing the show. But does that mean that — now that we know for sure the show will jump ahead of the books — the show will start to include spoilers for the books, just like the books have included some spoilers for the show in the past? Let's take a look at the evidence:
The Last Book Ended At A Similar Point To The Last Season
... at least for some characters. Most notably, both the last book and the last season ended with Jon Snow dead, which was why his fate was so mysterious. Since the show will pick up again before the novels, we'll learn many things, such whether Jon Snow survived (or if he'll be resurrected?!), on the show before we read it in the books.
George R. R. Martin Serves As A Consultant On The Show
If you're wondering whether the show has had to make up the plot of the series — a tactic that could result in it diverging further from the books than ever before — don't be too worried. Martin has played a large consulting role in the HBO series, even writing some episodes. While he won't be writing any episodes this season, he has presumably informed the show runners of major plot points in his unreleased book.
Battles That Haven't Happened In The Books Have Already Been Hinted At
SPOILER ALERT: Book readers knew the infamous Red Wedding was coming, but fans obsessed with the show might know about the Battle of the Bastards before book readers. While the battle is only foreshadowed at the end of the fifth book, hints from the GoT set have revealed it might be the climatic battle in the sixth season.
George R. R. Martin (Sort Of) Confirmed It
And now for some major confirmation: In his blog post, Martin was a little ambiguous at first, but that seemed like an evasive maneuver; he made it clear that there would at least be some spoilers on the show:
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. For years my readers have been ahead of the viewers. This year, for some things, the reverse will be true.
So yes, it looks like the show may very well end up including spoilers for the books. Mystery solved!
And don't worry, George R.R. Martin — we've all missed deadlines.
Image: HBO, Giphy (4)