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External Link Hundreds and hundreds of pages. In a new post reflecting on 2020, George R. R. Martin offers some thoughts on the pandemic, politics, and a year filled with personal losses. But GRRM points out some good things about 2020, and in particular highlights progress he made on The Winds of Winter:

I wrote hundreds and hundreds of pages of THE WINDS OF WINTER in 2020. The best year I've had on WOW since I began it. Why? I don't know. Maybe the isolation. Or maybe I just got on a roll. Sometimes I do get on a roll.

I need to keep rolling, though. I still have hundreds of more pages to write to bring the novel to a satisfactory conclusion.

That's what 2021 is for, I hope.

I will make no predictions on when I will finish. Every time I do, assholes on the internet take that as a "promise," and then wait eagerly to crucify me when I miss the deadline. All I will say is that I am hopeful.

Hundreds and hundreds of pages done, with hundreds more to go. It's not the announcement we were all hoping to hear, but it remains far better than the alternative.

Poll: Is Winter on the horizon in 2021? If seasons last for years in the world of Westeros, then we've been waiting for The Winds of Winter for what must have been a decade-long autumn. Indeed, A Dance with Dragons was released ten years ago. It surely would be wonderful to celebrate ADWD's anniversary with a followup book, yes? Our readers were mostly optimistic about 2020 (ha! in so many ways), but as of the most recent status update, we still have no hint as to how imminent The Winds of Winter is. Maybe, just maybe, 2021 will finally be the year that we see winter on the horizon. What are your hopes and expectations?

External Link TWOW inches closer, but not done yet. George R. R. Martin has offered another status report on The Winds of Winter. In short, TWOW is turning out to be a "big big book," but it isn't done yet. GRRM continues to make progress in fits and starts. In his own words:

No, sorry, still not done, but I do inch closer. It is a big big book. I try not to dwell on that too much. I write a chapter at a time, a page at a time, a sentence at a time, a word at a time. It is the only way. And sometimes I rewrite.

Of late I have been spending a lot of time with the Lannisters. Cersei and Tyrion in particular. I've also paid a visit to Dorne, and dropped in to Oldtown a time or three. In addition to turning out new chapters, I've been revising some old ones (some very old)... including, yes, some stuff I read at cons ages ago, or even posted online as samples. I tweak stuff constantly, and sometimes go beyond tweaking, moving things around, combining chapters, breaking chapters in two, reordering stuff.

None of this is even remotely new. It is how the first five books were written.

I was really on a roll back in June and July. Progress has continued since then, but more slowly... I suffered a gut punch in early August that really had me down for a time, and another, for different reasons, in early September. But I slogged on, and of late I am picking up steam again.

GRRM also briefly discusses his excitement for HBO's House of the Dragon, but opines that his other television and film projects are stuck in "development hell." You can read the whole Not a Blog entry here.

External Link GRRM details steady progress on TWOW. In a new post on Not a Blog, George R. R. Martin gives a rare update on his progress writing The Winds of Winter. The topline is: he's not done writing TWOW, the book isn't imminent, but GRRM does hope it will be finished by some time next year. The ongoing pandemic has kept GRRM in isolation and canceled his travel plans, which he says has helped him focus on the next book:

I am spending long hours every day on THE WINDS OF WINTER, and making steady progress. I finished a new chapter yesterday, another one three days ago, another one the previous week. But no, this does not mean that the book will be finished tomorrow or published next week. It's going to be a huge book, and I still have a long way to go.

He adds:

Of late I have been visiting with Cersei, Asha, Tyrion, Ser Barristan, and Areo Hotah. I will be dropping back into Braavos next week. I have bad days, which get me down, and good days, which lift me up, but all in all I am pleased with the way things are doing.

And there's this final tease, too:

Now you will have to excuse me. Arya is calling. I think she means to kill someone.

Regarding his writing pace, GRRM notes that it doesn't match what he was able to do accomplish when he was writing A Storm of Swords back in 1999 and that he's not likely to recapture that pace again. It should be obvious to us by now that the quick publications of those first few books were the aberration; lengthy waits are the rule.

Lastly, GRRM lists some other things that are occupying his time: watching television, reading, and preparing to virtually host WorldCon. He reports that adaptations of his works continue to be developed, including House of the Dragon, which is "still flying along wonderfully" despite the pandemic. For all this and more, go read the entire post in GRRM's own words.

Will Winter come at last in 2020? When it airs a new episode this Sunday, The Simpsons will have the honor of broadcasting an original episode in five different decades: the 1980s, the 1990s, the 2000s, the 2010s, and soon the 2020s. Who knows? Maybe A Song of Ice and Fire will share a similar distinction. Assuming The Winds of Winter is published at some point during the roaring 2020s, George R. R. Martin will have delivered at least one novel to tortured fans every decade since the 1990s, with at least one more to come in the series. Could 2020 finally be the year for The Winds of Winter? Surely it will be this decade, right? Have you given up on guessing altogether and/or would rather be pleasantly surprised by the sudden coming of Winter?

External Link GRRM reflects on an ending. Now that Game of Thrones is over and the adaptation has finished its story, all eyes are on George R. R. Martin. When will The Winds of Winter be released? How different will the final books be from the TV show? Well, GRRM has now chimed in about the ending, or as he calls it, "an ending." In his latest blog post, GRRM congratulates the creative forces, cast, and crew responsible for Game of Thrones, in particular singling out David Benioff, Dan Weiss, Bryan Cogman, and Richard Plepler. GRRM goes on to say that he expects this won't be the last we see of Westeros on TV, as a number of successor shows remain in development. He also has several other projects in the pipeline, including TV shows, short films, and, yes, more books.

As to the end of A Song of Ice and Fire, GRRM's comments on the books won't surprise long-time readers of his blog (or this site). He's still working on it. GRRM has repeatedly dismissed rumors that the books are already finished and he was just waiting for the TV show to end; the books are not done. He confirms that there will be differences between the books and show, noting that there are many pages of story left that never made it to the screen:

I am working in a very different medium than David and Dan, never forget. They had eight hours for this final season. I expect these last two books of mine will fill 3000 manuscript pages between them before I'm done... and if more pages and chapters and scenes are needed, I'll add them. And of course the butterfly effect will be at work as well; those of you who follow this Not A Blog will know that I've been talking about that since season one. There are characters who never made it onto the screen at all, and others who died in the show but still live in the books... so if nothing else, the readers will learn what happened to Jeyne Poole, Lady Stoneheart, Penny and her pig, Skahaz Shavepate, Arianne Martell, Darkstar, Victarion Greyjoy, Ser Garlan the Gallant, Aegon VI, and a myriad of other characters both great and small that viewers of the show never had the chance to meet. And yes, there will be unicorns... of a sort...

When GRRM's final books do come out, he wants us to decide for ourselves which of the endings is "real." And, he's right, the internet is going to argue about it.

Not a Q&A

Ever since George R. R. Martin announced the release date of Fire & Blood a couple of weeks ago, reactions to the news have ranged from supportive to... very much not supportive. On Not a Blog especially, readers have taken to the comments section to voice their opinions. Surprisingly, GRRM has responded to some of these comments directly. While he is unlikely to satisfy those who are most upset by the wait for The Winds of Winter, GRRM does his best to sell Fire & Blood, clarify what he believes to be misconceptions about his works and obligations, and even answer some speculative questions about A Song of Ice and Fire. All in all, it amounts to a fairly effective Q&A session, almost as good as one we might get were we to attend an actual convention with GRRM himself.

Of course, scouring through the comments section on Not a Blog -- any comments section really -- can be hazardous to one's health, so I've attempted to collect and collate most of GRRM's comments for you below, alongside paraphrased versions of the questions that prompted GRRM's responses. (I've also referenced the original questions, too, so feel free to read those to see the full context and color of the commenters.)

External Link Fire & Blood set to release in November. Let's get the bad news out of the way first. George R. R. Martin has confirmed that The Winds of Winter will not be released in 2018.

But we won't have to wait long to read more about the Targaryens. GRRM's latest blog post has announced the release date of his newest book: Fire & Blood. Martin's long-teased compendium about the history of Westeros' most storied family will be available November 20, 2018. You can preorder it now.


As GRRM explains, Fire & Blood will come in two volumes, the first of which will be released this November. (The second volume is still "a few years down the pike.") Here's what we can expect from Volume 1:

This first volume covers all the Targaryen kings from Aegon I (the Conquerer [sic]) to the regency of Aegon III (the Dragonbane), along with their wives, wars, siblings, children, friends, rivals, laws, travels, and sundry other matters. For those not up on your Westerosi history, that's Aegon I, Aenys, Maegor the Cruel, Jaehaerys I (the Conciliator), Viserys I, Aegon II (and Rhaenyra), and Aegon III (the regency). Oh, and there are dragons too.

Lots of dragons.

Amazon lists the page count at 640, though we caution everyone not to take that as an official number. Nevertheless, GRRM confirms that Fire & Blood, Volume 1 will be just shy of A Game of Thrones' original manuscript length. That's still quite a lot of material, all of which seems to be good fodder for any potential HBO spinoff. But how much of the new book will be brand new content? We've already been told to expect some stories that were previously published in some fashion, either in The World of Ice & Fire or as part of an anthology. GRRM elaborates:

Portions of the book have previously appeared here and there. The chapter about Aegon's Conquest was published, pretty much as written, in THE WORLD OF ICE & FIRE. The section about the reigns of Aegon's sons Aenys and Maegor came out last year as "Sons of the Dragon," in Gardner Dozois's anthology THE BOOK OF SWORDS, and an abridged version of same was in THE WORLD OF ICE & FIRE. Material from the chapters about the struggle for succession after Jaehaerys I and the Dance of the Dragons after Viserys I was published in an abridged form as "The Rogue Prince" (in ROGUES) and "The Princess and the Queen" (in DANGEROUS WOMEN), and in a much more severely abridged form in THE WORLD OF ICE & FIRE... but FIRE & BLOOD will mark the first time that full, unabridged texts of Archmaester Gyldayn's histories have been published. In addition, of course, there are hundreds of pages of new material which has never appeared before in any form, abridged or unabridged.

Fire & Blood, Volume 1 will also feature more than 75 original black-and-white illustrations from Doug Wheatley. It will be available on November 20 in both the US and the UK. Preorder it now.


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Tower of the Hand is an unofficial companion to George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series and HBO's Game of Thrones, featuring chapter and episode guides, character profiles, family trees, and much more.

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