Game of Thrones fans may be in some luck as series creator George R.R. Martin has revealed that The Winds of Winter may finally be on its way towards publication in 2018. Starting with the publication of the first book in the series in 1996, Martin has been hard at work on his A Song of Ice and Fire epic fantasy cycle for some 20-plus years now. But with the added impetus of the HBO original series currently in its second-to-last season, the American writer may have to speed things along a little if he hopes to compete with the franchise’s small screen adaptation.

Following the premiere episode of season 7 this month, Game of Thrones has been up by 50 percent in ratings over last season, and has already seen fit to feature another shocking death scene with the premiere of “Stormborn” last night. Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are at the very top of their game in terms of crafting a fitting conclusion to the critically acclaimed fantasy series. Nevertheless, series creator George R.R. Martin still holds the ultimate clout as the author of the original novels upon which the hit HBO show is based – and the latest word has the next book in the series, The Winds of Winter, closing in on a publication date.

Related: Game of Thrones Comic-Con Trailer

In a post published to his personal blog, Martin has come forward to offer some hope for longtime Game of Thrones fans in regards to which of his many works will be published next. After discussing his two volume Fire and Blood series – which will detail the histories of the Targaryen kings of Westeros – Martin offered a definitive statement on the status of The Winds of Winter as follows:

And, yes, I know you all want to know about The Winds of Winter too. I’ve seen some truly weird reports about Winds of Winter on the internet of late, by ‘journalists’ who make their stories up out of whole cloth. I don’t know which story is more absurd, the one that says the book is finished and I’ve been sitting on it for some nefarious reason, or the one that says I have no pages. Both ‘reports’ are equally false and equally moronic. I am still working on it, I am still months away (how many? good question), I still have good days and bad days, and that’s all I care to say. Whether Winds or the first volume of Fire and Blood will be the first to hit the bookstores is hard to say at this juncture, but I do think you will have a Westeros book from me in 2018… and who knows, maybe two. A boy can dream.

George R R Martin Game of Thrones The Winds of Winter George R.R. Martin Says Winds of Winter May Finally Arrive in 2018

Granted, everything Martin says about the publication of The Winds of Winter should be taken with a grain of salt, as many rumblings regarding its ultimate publication have been frequently exaggerated. Then again, maybe Game of Thrones fans have little to worry about, and the next installment in Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy cycle will finally see release next year.

Either way, fans will have Fire and Blood and the fantasy anthology The Book of Swords – including an original Martin story about the reigns of Aegon the Conqueror’s two sons, Aenys I Targaryen and Maegor the Cruel – to sate their appetites in the meantime.

Next: Who Died in This Week’s Episode of Game of Thrones?

Game of Thrones continues next Sunday with ‘The Queen’s Justice’ @ 9pm on HBO.

Source: George R.R. Martin

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