Game of Thrones may have ended in mid 2019, but its source material, the Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin, has not, though the relative silence around it might make one think otherwise. There has been barely any progression in the novel series since the HBO series began, with both the TV series and the 5th novel releasing in the same year. The TV show passed the novels' story progression in Season 5, making fans put a lot of pressure on George R.R. Martin for the release of the 6th book in the series, The Winds of Winter. You can’t rush genius though, amirite?
George R.R. Martin seems to be getting tired of the impatience that fans exude when it comes to this novel series, and he got a little snippy in his more recent The Winds of Winter update, although hopeful otherwise. Though Martin doesn’t typically like discussing his progress on his novels, he has released a little bit of an update on his blog. Martin says that 2020, although an awful year, was a good one for writing and he has made some significant progress and is hopeful for this year too. In the author's own words:
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.
Fans of the series have been waiting what seems to be a lifetime for the Ice and Fire series to be completed. A lot of time typically passes between the books, but there should be some arbitrary limits. It’s been ten whole years already since the release of the last book, A Dance with Dragons, and around six years between that and its predecessor, A Feast for Crows. And now, after the success of Game of Thrones, there are even more fans waiting for another novel to drop. At least the author seems to be huge and confident steps in the right direction, even if there are apparently many more steps to go.
You have to give the man some credit, though: George R.R. Martin has created an entire world with a ton of hugely popular characters. His novels are also huge, with the last two expected to be over 3,000 pages. Martin also had a significant hand in HBO’s Game of Thrones, and has also working on other projects in the meantime, so the larger gap between the newest novels is not exactly unwarranted. It's just not warmly welcomed by the fandom.
Although Geroge R.R. Martin has not given us an expected release date – it’s entirely possible he won’t drop any specifics until the books are inches away from being dropped onto shelves – we may not have to wait until the novel drops before we can dive back into the world he created. The prequel to the Game of Thrones TV show, House of the Dragon, has also taken some hopeful steps forward recently. Even if Martin takes another few years to finish The Winds of Winter, heaven forbid, Westeros may still be within reach for fans.