While we felt as though the writing was starting to be on the wall for some time regarding the release of George R. R. Martin’s The Winds of Winter, it has unfortunately been confirmed as of this weekend: There will be no book in the hands of A Song of Ice and Fire fans prior to “Game of Thrones” season 6 airing on HBO this spring.
As Martin puts it himself in a lengthy post on his official Livejournal page, there is one simple reason for it: He’s still not finished with the book. Ultimately he doesn’t blame anyone for the slow progress on the book beyond himself:
“The book is not done, not delivered. No words can change that. I tried, I promise you. I failed. I blew the Halloween deadline, and I’ve now blown the end of the year deadline. And that almost certainly means that no, THE WINDS OF WINTER will not be published before the sixth season of GAME OF THRONES premieres in April (mid April, we are now told, not early April, but those two weeks will not save me). Even as late as my birthday and our big Emmy win, I still thought I could do it… but the days and weeks flew by faster than the pile of pages grew, and (as I often do) I grew unhappy with some of the choices I’d made and began to revise… and suddenly it was October, and then November… and as the suspicion grew that I would not make it after all, a gloom set in, and I found myself struggling even more. The fewer the days, the greater the stress, and the slower the pace of my writing became.”
Martin said to those fans who would be upset over the news that there would of course be reasons to check out the book even if you have already seen the show. Many characters are still alive in the books that are not on the show, just as there are TV show characters flourishing who have been in the books for some time. Therefore, even some “spoilers” from the show may not necessarily play out the same way in the material. The paths have in so many ways diverged.
Ultimately, Martin is just having to deal with the aftereffects of his own talent in so many ways. He’s created material that is beloved, and as a result of that fans are impatient for more. While he dealt with this somewhat with A Dance of Dragons, this is really the first book that he has faced this sort of extraordinary pressure with the show finally catching up with the books.
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