[THIS POST, AND SOME LINKS, MAY CONTAIN GAME OF THRONES SPOILERS]
Author George R.R. Martin updated his LiveJournal page today with a post regarding the status of the latest Game of Thrones book. In the lengthy and frank blog post, Martin says he has missed multiple deadlines for The Winds of Winter, the sixth entry in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. As such, that “almost certainly” means The Winds of Winter will not be out before the sixth season of HBO’s TV show airs in April.
“The book is not done, not delivered. No words can change that. I tried, I promise you. I failed,” Martin said. “I blew the Halloween deadline, and I’ve now blown the end of the year deadline. And that almost certainly means that no, The Winds of Winter, will not be published before the sixth season of Game of Thrones premieres in April (mid April, we are now told, not early April, but those two weeks will not save me).
“Even as late as my birthday and our big Emmy win, I still thought I could do it,” he added. “But the days and weeks flew by faster than the pile of pages grew, and (as I often do) I grew unhappy with some of the choices I’d made and began to revise… and suddenly it was October, and then November… and as the suspicion grew that I would not make it after all, a gloom set in, and I found myself struggling even more. The fewer the days, the greater the stress, and the slower the pace of my writing became.”
Martin says he’s always had problems meeting deadlines. He would rather write at his own pace and deliver the product when it’s done–and the best that it can possibly be. The delay is no doubt a letdown for fans. Martin would not commit to any firm date or window for when The Winds of Winter will be done.
“I won’t make excuses. There are no excuses. No one else is to blame,” he said. “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.”
“You can blame my age, and maybe that had an impact too” — Martin
Martin went on to say that he understands your disappointment and notes that his editors, publishers, agents, translators, and HBO are all disappointed, too. “But no one could possibly be more disappointed than me,” he said. Also in the blog post, Martin confirms he’s written “a lot” of The Winds of Winter–he said he’s finished “hundreds of pages” and “dozens of chapters.” However, there are still more chapters to write, which Martin says could take multiple months or longer, while re-writes could also slow things down.
So why the delay? The 67-year-old Martin didn’t have a firm answer, really, saying it was probably a combination of things.
“You can blame my travels or my blog posts or the distractions of other projects and the Cocteau and whatever, but maybe all that had an impact… you can blame my age, and maybe that had an impact too,” he said. “But if truth be told, sometimes the writing goes well and sometimes it doesn’t, and that was true for me even when I was in my 20s.”
Because The Winds of Winter won’t be out until after Game of Thrones seasons six debuts in April, there will be certain plot twists and reveals in the new season that haven’t yet happened in the books. This is a pretty substantial change from how things worked in the past.
“For years my readers have been ahead of the viewers,” Martin said. “This year, for some things, the reverse will be true. How you want to handle that… hey, that’s up to you. Look, I read Andy Weir’s novel The Martian before I saw the movie. But I saw the BBC production of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell before I finally got around to reading Susanna Clarke’s novel. In both cases, I loved the book and I loved the adaptation. 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.”
These aren’t exactly perfect examples, however, Martin added.
“Of course, there’s an aspect to our situation that did not apply to either the Weir or Clarke cases,” he said. “Those novels were finished before they were optioned, adapted, and filmed. The case of Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire is perhaps unique. I can’t think of any other instance where the movie or TV show came out as the source material was still being written. So when you ask me, ‘Will the show spoil the books,’ all I can do is say, ‘Yes and no,’ and mumble once again about the butterfly effect. Those pretty little butterflies have grown into mighty dragons. Some of the ‘spoilers’ you may encounter in season six may not be spoilers at all… because the show and the books have diverged, and will continue to do so.”
Once Martin finishes The Winds of Winter, he will write the seventh planned entry, A Dream of Spring.
In other news about the fantasy series, Telltale’s video game franchise is unsurprisingly getting a second season, CEO Kevin Bruner confirmed in November. The sixth and final episode in the first season, The Ice Dragon, was released on November 17.