We know A Song of Ice and Fire writer George R.R. Martin has been working on the series' upcoming sixth novel, The Winds of Winter — the amazing excerpt released in April is proof — but progress has sadly been slower than fans would have hoped. Martin kicked off the new year with bad news: He revealed on Livejournal on Jan. 2 that the book is not yet finished and, having missed both a Halloween and a year-end deadline, it will "almost certainly" not arrive as expected before the premiere of Game of Thrones Season 6 in mid-April.
Unfortunately for readers, Martin says he has simply been too busy this year to get the work done on schedule. (He did publish a collection of novellas this fall, after all, not to mention travel and fulfill other obligations.) Still, he knew it would be a bitter pill to swallow and was upfront about it in his post. "Believe me," he wrote, "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."
As much as we're all disappointed, though, that sadly won't speed along the tome's publication. And after missing his previous deadlines, Martin was reluctant to provide a new one, so there's no clear picture of when we can expect The Winds of the Winter to be released. "It will be done when it's done," he wrote. "And it will be as good as I can possibly make it."
For many, the news is a nightmare come true. Although there are certainly differences between the TV series and the books that inspired it, the delay means spoilers are coming for readers come spring. "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," admitted Martin. To make that reality more palatable, he reminded fans that readers have been ahead of viewers for years, and now it's simply a reversal.
As a reader, I can see where that isn't much of a silver lining, but I will agree with another piece of his wisdom: "It does not need to be one or the other. You might prefer one over the other, but you can still enjoy the hell out of both." There's no changing the fact that the show is coming before the book, so we might as well make the best of it.
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