Although that was certainly the plan of George R.R. Martin and his publisher (not to mention our hope), we won’t read Book 6 ahead of Season 6 of Game of Thrones. In the last of a series of yearender posts on his Not A Blog, GRRM tackles the issue.
Cold, hard facts: The Winds of Winter is not finished, although a lot has been written. Says Martin: “But there’s also a lot still left to write. I am months away still… and that’s if the writing goes well”.
He reveals that he was first planning to be done by Halloween, and then by the end of the year, which would still give the publishers enough time, with an accelerated turn-around schedule (similar to when A Dance with Dragons was done). Clearly, that did not work out.
But I won’t make excuses. There are no excuses. No one else is to blame. Not my editors and publishers, not HBO, not David & Dan. It’s on me. I tried, and I am still trying. I worked on the book a couple of days ago, revising a Theon chapter and adding some new material, and I will writing on it again tomorrow. But no, I can’t tell you when it will be done, or when it will be published. Best guess, based on our previous conversations, is that Bantam (and presumably my British publisher as well) can have the hardcover out within three months of delivery, if their schedules permit. But when delivery will be, I can’t say. I am not going to set another deadline for myself to trip over. The deadlines just stress me out. I am going back to my stance from last March, before all this. It will be done when it’s done. And it will be as good as I can possibly make it.
Hear Marko Roar: Interestingly, the rumours and optimistic musings that we may yet get to read the next book before April were not unfounded, but the plans fell through as they are wont to do. Will the show “spoil” the novels? Well, that’s inevitable, at least when it comes to the plot’s major beats (which matter most), and we have been preparing for it mentally for a long time. Still, due to the divergences between the books and the adaptation (George goes into more detail on the matter in his post), there should be a whole lot to enjoy and I am looking forward to Winds just as much as I always have.