Game of Thrones creator, George R. R. Martin, says he intends to release the series' long-awaited next book, The Winds of Winter, by summer next year and lists exactly what fans can do to him if he doesn't meet that target. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels have always enjoyed a dedicated and passionate following but the mammoth success of HBO's Game of Thrones has elevated the books to the very top of the fantasy fiction pile. While many authors would seek to cash in on this success, Martin's last book in the series was released in 2011, shortly after Game of Thrones first premiered and before the phenomenon had really taken hold. Since then, impatient fans have been eagerly awaiting the story's continuation.
While the Game of Thrones story may be progressing slowly in the literary world, the TV incarnation has just completed its eighth and final season. The show overtook its source material out of necessity several years ago and has since, with George R. R. Martin's input, been composed almost entirely of original story. Unfortunately, this led to no small amount of controversy. Game of Thrones was, for most of its tenure, one of the most critically revered TV shows in recent memory and could do virtually no wrong. Since overtaking the books however, the series has been considerably more divisive and the final season proved particularly polarizing, with an online petition even requesting a remake of season 8 with different writers.
Writing on his own personal blog, George R. R. Martin has now given a rough time frame for when he hopes to have The Winds of Winter on shelves. At the start of his post, the author confirms that he'll be in attendance at the World Science Fiction Convention in Wellington, New Zealand in summer 2020, and later goes on to say that he sincerely hopes to have The Winds of Winter in-hand when he arrives, even going so far as to map out a punishment if he fails to meet the deadline. Martin states:
"As for finishing my book… I fear that New Zealand would distract me entirely too much... But I tell you this — if I don’t have THE WINDS OF WINTER in hand when I arrive in New Zealand for worldcon, you have here my formal written permission to imprison me in a small cabin on White Island, overlooking that lake of sulfuric acid, until I’m done. Just so long as the acrid fumes do not screw up my old DOS word processor, I’ll be fine."
For some, the prospect of waiting another year for The Winds of Winter may prove daunting but, given how long has already passed since the release of the last A Song of Ice and Fire book, it's certainly reassuring to have a rough release date in mind from the author himself. Of course, Martin's creative process takes a distinctly "it's done when it's done" approach and while he sounds utterly determined to stick to his goal in this latest blog post, further delays could still be on the cards if the writing doesn't go as smoothly as hoped.
Given the divided critical reaction to the final Game of Thrones season, there is arguably even more attention now placed on the continuation of the books. Many viewers felt that the show's ending was rushed and sacrificed character development for rapid plot progression, making some of the twists and turns feel illogical and confusing. Those detractors will now be turning their attention fully towards the A Song of Ice and Fire novels in a quest to find out the true, author-envisioned ending to this epic tale.
Source: George R. R. Martin/Official Website