Does The Last Game Of Thrones Book Have Any Chance Of Releasing Before The Show Ends?

Back when Game of Thrones premiered on HBO in 2011, defying both the odds and the network’s wariness, author George R.R. Martin was a few months away from releasing the fifth novel in his Song of Ice and Fire series, and it seemed almost impossible for the TV series to be able to catch up to the source material. But here it is, five years and five seasons later, and Martin has yet to release another novel. So is there any way for the author to wrap up his written series before the TV show ends and spoils everything left? Sure, and even George R.R. Martin thinks it could happen.

Here’s what he had to say on his blog to a fan who asked if the last novel A Dream of Spring would be released before the show ended.

If the show runs ten seasons, maybe.

Had George R.R. Martin answered the rest of his fans’ questions in a manner that seemed flippant or humorous, perhaps this semi-prediction would feel more disingenuous. But while Martin can definitely be a joker, it sounds like more of a sincere answer than something merely meant to placate. After all, he didn’t have to answer it all if he didn’t want to, and I’m sure it’s an inquiry he gets flooded with on a daily basis. So that got us wondering just how likely that scenario is.

Game of Thrones Season 6, which features elements from the still-unpublished Winds of Winter (and other novels), will premiere on HBO next month, likely ending at some point in late June or early July. The finale will almost definitely air before Winds of Winter is released, since there’s still no publication date yet. And there’s still one more book left for Martin to write after that, assuming he’s not secretly writing one with his left hand and the other with his right.

At this point, HBO has not put in a renewal for Game of Thrones, although tomorrow morning’s sunrise isn’t as likely as Season 7 happening next year. It was revealed that negotiations were being made to try and secure a two-season renewal from HBO, putting Game of Thrones on the air until at least 2018. Martin, who knows better than anyone the speed at which he puts things together, clearly doesn’t think that just two more seasons give him enough time to burn through the Dream of Spring manuscript. HBO presumably would be fine with keeping the ratings-grabbing Game of Thrones on the air as long as possible – hell, even Entourage got eight seasons – so it’s not at all out of the question for the live-action fantasy epic to make it to Season 10 and possibly beyond, assuming showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have stories to write about.

And beyond Martin, the person who knows his process best is probably Benioff and Weiss, who have been working with the non-prolific author during the show’s run. It’s been almost five years since the release of the last book, it was over five years between Books 4 and 5, and it was exactly five years between Books 3 and 4. He was positively a speed demon before that, as he published the second book less than three years after A Game of Thrones came out in 1996, and A Storm of Swords came out less than two years after Book 2. But given how gigantic these final two volumes will be, there’s no telling how long it would take him to put the rest of it together, especially if he’s got other projects taking up his time.

Season 10 likely wouldn’t air until 2020, assuming there aren’t any giant hiatuses, and while four years is a long enough time to assume that just about anything could happen in a creative sense, it’s nearly impossible to be optimistic about the chances of A Song of Ice and Fire concluding before the HBO drama does. But it’s absolutely possible, and until 2021 gets here, nothing is going to stop us from thinking it isn’t.

So while we don’t know when Winds of Winter or A Dream of Spring will make their way to readers’ hands, we do know that George R.R. Martin is busy putting together twists that the show can’t possibly do. And if he wanted to drop the biggest twist of all – that he’s already finished writing everything – then I bet fans would be pretty happy to hear it. What do you guys think?

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Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.