HBO is set to order a pilot for a House Targaryen spin-off series, making yet another Game of Thrones project that author George R.R. Martin is involved with - all while there's still no sign of The Winds of Winter's release date. The prequel is reportedly going to chronicle the Targaryens' history, using Martin's Fire & Blood book as a basis, with the A Song of Ice and Fire scribe developing it alongside Ryan Condal (Colony).
Since A Dance With Dragons was published in 2011, Game of Thrones has started and ended its run. Martin himself worked on the series in its early years, contributing one script per season and serving as a consultant, before moving away to focus on his own work. He's written several other works in that time, but he's also become increasingly in-demand in the TV realm as a writer and executive producer, and as HBO looks at life without Game of Thrones, Martin is a key part of keeping Westeros on screens.
Martin will co-write the pilot for the Game of Thrones prequel with Condal, with the series likely to center around the Targaryen Civil War known as The Dance of the Dragons, which takes place roughly 170 years before the events of Game of Thrones. This is an area of Westeros history Martin has been increasingly keen on exploring, with 2018's Fire & Blood just the first in what's planned to be a two volume account of the Targaryen dynasty. Of course, it also means more writing that isn't The Winds of Winter, the sixth book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series that fans have been waiting eight years and counting for. While a Targaryen prequel should be exciting, it might also mean another frustrating delay for the next novel, making Martin's involvement a double-edged sword.
Martin had initially hoped to have The Winds of Winter published in 2016, and then 2017, and with so many delays he's now stopped making any predictions, and it'll be done when it's done. Although the novel is apparently his priority, Martin has admitted he's struggling to write The Winds of Winter, and taking on so many other projects probably doesn't help in that regard. He's already working on one Game of Thrones prequel, which isn't called The Long Night (yet), having co-wrote the pilot alongside Jane Goldman and is helping to develop that show. HBO have at least one more Game of Thrones prequel in active development too. When the spin-offs were first announced, Martin was also working on one alongside Carly Wray (Mad Men), so he may be involved in some capacity with that as well.
Martin is also collaborating on the video game Elden Ring with FromSoftware, executive producing an adaptation of Nnedi Okorafor’s novel Who Fears Death for HBO, and his Wild Cards series is being developed into multiple TV shows by Hulu, on which he will also serve as an executive producer (although his deal with HBO prevents him from working in a day-to-day capacity there). That's a lot of irons in the fire even without the latest Game of Thrones prequel (which Martin had previously been developing with Bryan Cogman), and means the wait for The Winds of Winter likely just got that little bit longer.