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Game Of Thrones' George R.R. Martin Defends Winds Of Winter Novel Delay While Discussing Everything Else He's Been Working On

The Night King Game of Thrones
(Image credit: HBO)

Author George R.R. Martin is responsible for creating the world and lore of Westeros that dominated pop culture during Game of Thrones, thanks to his A Song of Ice and Fire novel saga. Unfortunately for fans of that saga, Martin hasn't published a new entry since shortly after Game of Thrones premiered in 2011, and there is no sign of when the sixth book – called The Winds of Winter – will be ready. Martin is keeping very busy, however, and he has come out to be defend how long it's taking and drop some details about his other projects.

Martin took to his Not A Blog website to reflect on 2021, saying that he "blinked and it was gone" and there's not much that he's going to mourn about the year. It was, as fans of course noticed, another year without The Winds of Winter, and Martin addressed the delays on the book: 

I did, however, get a lot of work done in 2021. An enormous amount of work, in truth; I seem to have an enormous number of projects. (I am not complaining. I like working. Writing, editing, producing. There is nothing I like better than storytelling). I know, I know, for many of you out there, only one of those projects matters. I am sorry for you. They ALL matter to me. Yes, of course I am still working on The Winds of Winter. I have stated that a hundred times in a hundred venues, having to restate it endlessly is just wearisome.

George R.R. Martin was quite clear that he's still working on The Winds of Winter, and his word choice indicates that he's more than a little tired of being asked about it. Of course, considering that A Dance with Dragons was the last A Song of Ice and Fire installment and was published in July 2011, and Game of Thrones ended back in May 2019, it's not surprising that fans are anxious to get the next book. Martin has made it clear that his plans don't exactly match what happened in the show in the seasons after it outpaced the source material. Nearly eleven years is a long time to wait, particularly when the author previously had goals of being finished much earlier.

That said, he's keeping very busy with other projects set in or adapting the A Song of Ice and Fire universe, so it's not like he has completely abandoned the world he built that turned Game of Thrones into such a massive hit. He went on in his post to confirm the progress that he has made on The Winds of Winter over the past couple of years, and elaborate on expanding the world of Westeros:

I made a lot of progress on Winds in 2020, and less in 2021… but ‘less’ is not ‘none.’ The world of Westeros, the world of A Song of Ice & Fire, is my number one priority, and will remain so until the story is told. But Westeros has become bigger than The Winds of Winter, or even A Song of Ice & Fire.

The author went on to detail into some of his ASOIAF-related projects that keep him from putting all of his focus into The Winds of Winter, including the second volume of Fire & Blood to follow the first that inspired HBO's upcoming House of the Dragon, more Dunk & Egg novellas, an illustrated coffee table book, a book that's "a Who's Who in Westeros," and the "successor shows."

George R.R. Martin admitted that the shows that will continue the Game of Thrones universe on TV have taken "a ton" of his time and attention over the past year, and he is "deeply, heavily involved in every one of the new shows." With developing projects ranging from live-action series for HBO to animated series for HBO Max, there are a lot of works that Martin has a hand in. And that has meant The Winds of Winter is still not quite ready for readers.

Martin didn't give a new goal release date for the sixth ASOIAF book – which may be for the best, if he can't be 100% hopeful about hitting the deadline – or any of the other projects, but House of the Dragon will coming to HBO before the end of the year. Martin announced that the first Game of Thrones spinoff had wrapped filming with a "Targaryen Thursday" celebration back in February, saying that it was unlikely the show would be ready by spring but "could be" by summer. 

For now, you can always revisit the eight seasons of Game of Thrones (including the divisive series finale) with an HBO Max subscription, and find upcoming viewing options on our 2022 TV schedule.

Laura Hurley
Laura Hurley

Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.