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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 TWOW still months away, more GRRM works to come. Earlier tonight, George R. R. Martin gave us a rare update on his writing progress. Let's begin with The Winds of Winter, which probably has the most interest among our readers, but gets the least substantial update here. According to GRRM, the next novel of A Song of Ice and Fire is still "months away," but it's neither as far nor as close as some reports seem to indicate. In short, GRRM doesn't yet know when TWOW will be finished and he warns us not to trust anyone who says otherwise.

GRRM does believe that we'll get at least one original work from the world of Westeros in 2018, whether it be The Winds of Winter or a brand new history book (or possibly both). The history book in question is Fire and Blood, a more detailed examination of the Targaryen kings. GRRM explains that the previously-announced book will now actually come in two volumes:

We have so much material that it's been decided to publish the book in two volumes. The first of those will cover the history of Westeros from Aegon's Conquest up to and through the regency of the boy king Aegon III (the Dragonbane). That one is largely written, and will include (for the first time) a complete detailed history of the Targaryen civil war, the Dance of the Dragons. My stories in DANGEROUS WOMEN ("The Princess and the Queen") and ROGUES ("The Rogue Prince") were abridged versions of the same histories.

No publication date has been set yet, but it's likely that we will get the first volume of FIRE AND BLOOD out in late 2018 or early 2019. The second volume, which will carry the history from Aegon III up to Robert's Rebellion, is largely unwritten, so that one will be a few more years in coming.

Finally, GRRM promises us one new short story in 2017. As revealed earlier this year, it's called "Sons of the Dragon" and is a prequel of sorts to "The Princess and the Queen" and "The Rogue Prince." "Sons of the Dragon" chronicles:

the reigns of Aegon the Conquerer's two sons, Aenys I Targaryen and Maegor the Cruel, for those who cannot get enough of my entirely fake histories of Westeros. That one has never been published before in any form, though I did read it at a couple of cons.

Look for "Sons of the Dragon" in The Book of Swords, a new anthology that also features original stories from a dozen other authors, edited by Gardner Dozois. The Book of Swords is scheduled for release on October 10, 2017. You can pre-order it now from

GRRM thinks TWOW will be out this year. There has been a lot of discussion lately -- here and elsewhere -- about whether George R. R. Martin "owes" us an update on The Winds of Winter. I'm sympathetic to both sides of this argument, though there's really only one update that I personally want to hear from GRRM. Anything less than an official announcement of TWOW's imminent release will only serve to upset most people. Social media will blast news of an "update," fans will get excited only to realize that he's saying nothing new, and the cycle of suffering begins once again.

Sure enough, GRRM offered the barest hint of an update yesterday, in response to a comment on his blog post about the NFL playoffs and the Golden Globes. A reader thinks a statement on The Winds of Winter's status would help reassure anxious fans. GRRM replies:

You really think statements like that would make a difference? Ah, you sweet summer child. I have years of experience with this that tells me otherwise.

But okay, I will try it your way.

Not done yet, but I've made progress. But not as much as I hoped a year ago, when I thought to be done by now.

I think it will be out this year. (But hey, I thought the same thing last year).

So an optimist might say The Winds of Winter is close enough to done that we'll see it this year. The cynical take is that we've heard all this before. (And I say both are right.) I know we don't need another thread to debate this, but allow me to present one more piece of evidence in 2017's favor: Culturess dug up an old graphic from the Washington Post that plots the release timelines of major fantasy books, including A Song of Ice and Fire, based on a page-by-page count. And this four-year-old WaPo chart projected 2017 as TWOW's release year all along. So there you have it.

Will the Winds blow in our favor in 2017? Happy New Year! I for one am ready to put the last year behind me. One guaranteed way for 2017 to improve upon 2016 would be for a certain author to announce that a certain book is finally done. But will it happen this year? If not 2017, then when do you think we will see The Winds of Winter? Or do you now think George R. R. Martin would be better off waiting to release the final books of A Song of Ice and Fire until after Game of Thrones has completed its run in a couple of years?

External Link Characters to be in 'very dark places' in TWOW. As we reach the end of another calendar year without The Winds of Winter -- it's been confirmed that work will continue on TWOW into 2017 -- we do have some hints on what we can expect from the final books of A Song of Ice and Fire. George R. R. Martin says it won't be pretty:

"There are a lot of dark chapters right now in the book that I'm writing," Martin said. "It is called The Winds of Winter, and I've been telling you for 20 years that winter was coming. Winter is the time when things die, and cold and ice and darkness fill the world, so this is not going to be the happy feel-good that people may be hoping for. Some of the characters [are] in very dark places."

He added, "In any story, the classic structure is, 'Things get worse before they get better,' so things are getting worse for a lot of people."

You can hear more from GRRM in his Q&A at last weekend's Guadalajara International Book Fair.


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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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