The release date for George R. R. Martin's The Winds of Winter has been up in the air for the past seven years. The sixth entry in his Song of Ice and Fire series, The Winds of Winter has faced several delays and missed numerous deadlines, prompting fans of the series to wonder when exactly the book will be released.
Expected to be the penultimate entry in the series (following A Dance with Dragons and preceding A Dream of Spring), The Winds of Winter will satisfy the Stark motto that "Winter is coming," spending a significant amount of time in the North, while also finding a majority of the series characters in "very dark places," according to an interview Martin gave with EW. And even though Game of Thrones has already tackled the events following A Dance with Dragons, the HBO series has taken extensive creative liberties in terms of derailing their narrative from the books. However, despite the fact that Martin recently confirmed that finishing The Winds of Winter is his "top priority," there is still no official release date.
As of now, The Winds of Winter release date has experienced frequent changes. At one point in time, Martin had expected the book to be published in 2016. That date was then pushed to 2017, and Martin later stated on his live journal that the book may have a shot at being released in 2018, only to walk his statement back, insisting that it would be pushed back yet another year, saying, "No, winter is not coming… not in 2018, at least. You’re going to have to keep waiting for The Winds of Winter."
Some Chapters For The Winds of Winter Have Already Been Released
Over the past few years, Martin has released kernels of information pertaining to The Winds of Winter, but nothing official in the way of a release date. In fact, as far back as 2011, the year in which A Dance with Dragons was published, Martin had been releasing excerpts of the novel, which Reddit's A Song of Ice and Fire page has compiled, beginning with a chapter centered on Theon Greyjoy's perspective; and following A Dance of Dragons' publication date, he released a total of seven chapters from The Winds of Winter, including the book's first two chapters (both of which are focused on Arianne Martell), as well as chapters centered around Arya Stark, Sansa Stark, Barristan Selmy, and Tyrion Lannister.
Martin's also read some chapters aloud at public events, but hasn't released their full text. They included perspectives based around Victarion Greyjoy and Aeron "Damphair" Greyjoy, as well as additional chapters for Tyrion and Barristan.
Why The Winds Of Winter Has Been So Delayed
As frustrating as it might be for fans to wait nearly a decade for A Dance of Dragons follow-up, Martin has been exceptionally busy since its publication. Considering the fifth book in the series was released only three months prior to the premiere of HBO's Game of Thrones series, Martin has become wrapped up in additional duties. Having penned three episodes for the series ("Blackwater", "The Bear and Maiden Fair", and "The Pointy End"), served as consultant on the series, and now doubling his duties as executive producer for the upcoming Game of Thrones prequel spinoff series pilot, his schedule is considerably fuller than it was when he was writing the first five novels (prior to The Winds of Winter, the longest gap between his books was the five years between A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons).
Since A Dance with Dragon's release, Martin has published The Wit and Wisdom of Tyrion Lannister (a collection of quotes), The Princess and the Queen (novella), The Rogue Prince (novella), The World of Ice & Fire (reference book), The Ice Dragon (children's novel, republished), A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms (collection), and The Sons of the Dragon (novella). In 2018, he will publish the reference book/novella collection Fire & Blood.
What Is The Winds of Winter's Projected Release Date?
While there's currently no way to confirm a release date for The Winds of Winter, there are, at the very least, some clues from Martin that might offer something. On his live journal on July 22, 2017, Martin had expected to possibly release Fire & Blood and The Winds of Winter at around the same time. Obviously, those plans have changed, but considering that he seemed hopeful about The Winds of Winter's release as far back as last year, and given that Fire & Blood will hit shelves this November, fans may well see a glint of hope for its release in early 2019. Though, at this rate, Martin may as well wait for HBO to finish the series before readers get their hands on his book.