The Game of Thrones Season 6 finale has arrived far too soon. Just 10 weeks a year doesn't feel like nearly enough time to spend with this series, since it has several dozen major characters and constant twists and turns — and just a few precious moments of dragon action each season. Since there's almost a full year to wait between seasons, will the next Game of Thrones book be out before Season 7? It's been in progress for years now, and fans have been waiting for ages to find out exactly what's going to happen next in the world of Westeros, as there are only two remaining A Song of Ice and Fire books planned to close out the series. In another 2,000 pages or so, the war for Westeros should be resolved, and with Martin's detail-laden writing style, not a single minor character's fate should be neglected.
Currently, there is no official release date for the next book, Winds of Winter. The video game website GamenGuide claims in a report that Winds of Winter will be released in January 2017, which would likely be well in advance of Game of Thrones Season 7, but you shouldn't get your hopes up about that. The site does not give any source for this information and Martin has not confirmed it. The report claims that the book is just a chapter or so away from completion, and that the next several months will be spent editing the manuscript, and I think if that were true, it's something that Martin would be excited to share himself, since he had to write a blog post in January admitting that The Winds of Winter wasn't finished yet. Of course, with six months until 2017 and Game of Thrones likely returning in the spring again, it's certainly possible that the book will be in fans' hands before then, it's just not certain.
Over the past few years, several chapters from The Winds of Winter have been released that give some hints about where the story is going. But the latest excerpt, posted on Martin's website, is from the POV of Arianne Martell, who isn't even a character on Game of Thrones.
At this point, the TV series has started to include developments that haven't been in the novels yet. For example, book readers still aren't sure what exactly happened to Jon Snow after his fateful stabbing. Many had theorized that Jon Snow would be resurrected by Melisandre's magic, but until HBO dramatized it, there was no way to even know whether or not the Lord Commander had even perished from his wounds. The details of the attack in the book were different — for example, in the book timeline, Stannis Baratheon's attack on Ramsay Bolton's Winterfell is still in progress, Sansa is nowhere near the North, and there's no Olly — but Game of Thrones seems to be moving forward into territory that will be explored in this upcoming book.
The sooner Martin's next book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series is released, the sooner fans can catch up with everything that's happened on Game of Thrones and find out what's different, what's the same, and hopefully, what's next. Let's keep our fingers crossed that part of the hiatus between Seasons 6 and 7 can be filled with reading The Winds of Winter.
Images: Helen Sloan/HBO; Giphy