Dear God in Heaven, Do We Have a Release Date Yet For ‘Winds of Winter’?
With fans still (somehow) patiently waiting eleven years later, The Winds of Winter has secured itself as one of the most anticipated book installments in recent history but the question remains: will it ever see the light of day? Longtime fans of A Song of Ice and Fire currently have House of the Dragon to look forward to every week but the much-awaited penultimate installment of the original Game of Thrones series has been the subject of many memes, rants, and pleas through the years. The internet rumor mill has been abuzz with talk of an alleged publication date but how accurate is it?
A Brief Publication Timeline
Martin first delved into the world of ice and fire back in the 1990s with the release of the first book, A Game of Thrones. He managed to write and publish the first three books in a span of four years, which is an astounding and impressive pace (given the length of each novel). The first real wait came for A Feast for Crows, the series’ fourth book, which came out in 2005 (or five years after the third novel A Storm of Swords). At the time of publication, Martin promised that the next one—A Dance of Dragons—would come out within the same year. It wasn’t released until 2011. This should have been the first signs of our collective impending doom, really.
As we all probably know by now, A Song of Ice and Fire is more than just the narrative as we see in HBO’s adaptation of Game of Thrones. The primary series has since spanned various graphic novels, companion guides, novellas, and as of this writing, various spinoffs which are currently in development. In other words, George R.R. Martin is quite the busy man.
In a recent July interview with The Hollywood Reporter, during press tours and promotion for House of the Dragon, the author shared his ultimate vision for a larger and expanded A Song of Ice and Fire universe.
“The MCU has The Avengers, but they also have something offbeat like WandaVision. That’s what I hope we can do with these other Game of Thrones shows, so we can have a variety that showcases the history of this world. There are only so many times you can do a competition for the Iron Throne.”
He further goes on to add that unlike the late visionary behind Marvel, he hopes to play a more active role when it comes to Thrones’ ever-expanding universe, “He [Stan Lee] had no power, no influence. He wasn’t writing any stories. He couldn’t say, ‘Don’t do this character.’ He was just a friendly person they brought to conventions and who did cameos. To be sidelined on the world and characters that you created, that would be tough.”
Given the length of each book and the effort and time that goes into each of Martin’s other projects, one can only presume how difficult of a balancing act this must be for him. In another interview, this time with Vanity Fair, the 73-year-old (who also recently contracted COVID) shared that, at this point, he was done giving readers an exact timeframe, stating:
“I’m making progress, but I’ve given up on any hope of predicting the end. Every time I do, I don’t make it and everybody gets mad at me, and there’s no sense. It’ll be done when it’s done. Hopefully, COVID won’t kill me, so we won’t have that issue. I do find it a little grisly, people speculating online about what’s going to happen to the rest of the books when I die. I don’t like to speculate about that. I don’t feel close to dying.”
Despite its secured place in the hallowed halls of pop culture history, Game of Thrones’ legacy is sadly marked with the negative reviews it received upon the airing of its final season. Martin himself has expressed his own regrets at not having made the books stay ahead of the HBO adaptation. More recently, he directly addressed, in a blog post, the big differences readers may expect with the supposed last two books.
“What I have noticed more and more of late, however, is my gardening is taking me further and further away from the television series. Yes, some of the things you saw on HBO in GAME OF THRONES you will also see in THE WINDS OF WINTER (though maybe not in quite the same ways)… but much of the rest will be quite different. And really, when you think about it, this was inevitable. The novels are much bigger and much much more complex than the series. Certain things that happened on HBO will not happen in the books. And vice versa.”
Updates from Martin
We have yet to receive an exact date from Martin or his publisher—and like he previously mentioned, I don’t think we’ll be hearing an exact date anytime soon—so we can all probably cast aside any rumors we’ve been hearing alleging that Winds will be coming out either November of this year or in 2023. In the same blog update, Martin also further shared that he has been continuously writing and taking his time with what appears to be a Tyrion chapter.
“Even saying that I am working on a Tyrion chapter, as I did last week, gives away the fact that Tyrion is not dead. Reading sample chapters at cons, or posting them online, which I did for years, gives away even more. I actually quite enjoyed doing that, until the day came that I realized I had read and/or posted the first couple of hundred pages of WINDS, or thereabouts. If I had kept on with the readings, half the book might be out by now,” he wrote.
Eleven years is a long time. In fact, it only took the brilliant scientists of NASA approximately eight years to put a man on the moon after JFK upped the stakes in the Space Race back in 1961. But as they say, good things come to those who wait. Let’s hope that the same can be said for both Winds and A Dream of Spring.
(featured image: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
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