The Winds of Winter
|The Winds of Winter|
|Author||George R. R. Martin|
|Series||A Song of Ice and Fire|
|Publisher||Bantam Books (US) & Voyager Books (UK)|
|Media Type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Preceded by||A Dance with Dragons|
|Followed by||A Dream of Spring|
The Winds of Winter is the forthcoming sixth novel in the award-winning epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. It will take place after the concurrent fourth and fifth books in the series, A Feast for Crows (2005) and A Dance with Dragons (2011).
The previous installment, A Dance with Dragons covers less story than Martin intended, omitting at least one planned large battle sequence and leaving several character threads ending in cliff-hangers. Martin intends to resolve these cliffhangers "very early" in The Winds of Winter, saying, "I'm going to open with the two big battles that I was building up to, the battle in the ice and the battle at Meereen—the battle of Slaver's Bay. And then take it from there."
Martin confirmed in March 2012 that the final two novels will take readers further north than any of the previous books: "What lies really north in my books—we haven't explored that yet, but we will in the last two books." He added, "you're definitely going to see more of the Others". Martin would not comment on Jon Snow's cliffhanger fate after A Dance with Dragons.
On his website, in 2013, Martin published an Arianne chapter wherein she heads for Griffin's Roost to see the young boy who is calling himself Aegon. Victarion's chapter will take off "five minutes" after A Dance with Dragons, taking place on the eve of the Iron Islanders' surprise attack on the cities in Slaver's Bay. Mago, who was killed in the first season of Game of Thrones television series, will be a recurring character in the sixth book. A sample chapter on Martin's website is written from Theon Greyjoy's viewpoint and shows his interactions with Stannis Baratheon as they are camped in the snow on his march to Winterfell. In March 2014, Martin published the chapter Mercy on his website, where Arya Stark continues her training with the Faceless Men.
George R. R. Martin confirmed the following characters to have POV chapters in The Winds of Winter:
- Aeron Greyjoy, one chapter was removed from A Dance with Dragons in June 2010, and read at Balticon 2016.
- Arianne Martell, two chapters, were removed from A Dance with Dragons in June 2010. One of them was published in Martin's website in January 2013. The second chapter has been read at WorldCon 2015, and was released on Martin's website in May 2016.
- Arya Stark, one chapter, was removed from A Dance with Dragons in June 2010. This chapter was released as a preview chapter on Martin's website under the title Mercy in March 2014.
- Barristan Selmy, two chapters were read at Boskone in February 2013. One of these was published as a sample chapter in the hardcover edition of A Dance with Dragons in 2013.
- Sansa Stark, one chapter, was removed from A Dance with Dragons in June 2010. This chapter was released as a preview chapter on Martin's website in March 2015.
- Theon Greyjoy, one chapter, appeared on Martin's website in December 2011.
- Tyrion Lannister, two chapters, one read at Miscon 2012 and one read at Worldcon 2013 and published on A World of Ice and Fire as of March 21, 2014.
- Victarion Greyjoy, one chapter, portions of one chapter were read at TIFF Bell Lightbox in March 2012 and Miscon in May 2012.
Martin confirmed he had been working on a Cersei Lannister chapter prior to leaving for Balticon in 2016. While not confirmed as POV, Bran Stark will appear in the novel. Martin has previously also teased the "Prologue" chapter, revealing the identity of a character who would make an appearance. Areo Hotah has also been confirmed to continue as a POV, though it is not clear whether the character will be a POV for The Winds of Winter, or is expected to become a POV for A Dream of Spring. Further, an image shown on John Oliver's Last Week Tonight show in June 2014 shows Martin while writing a chapter for the book, from the POV of Asha Greyjoy. And while not specifically naming her as a POV, Martin referenced Melisandre at the Guadalajara International Book Fair in 2016, when asked whether the city Asshai would appear in the sixth novel. Martin replied that, although no scenes are planned to take place in the eastern city, more information might be revealed in future books, as Melisandre, who has been to the eastern city, might "think back on some of her time in Asshai”.
The following chapters have been released as previews for The Winds of Winter (in the order of their release):
- Theon I (included in A World of Ice and Fire under "Excerpts")
- Victarion I
- Tyrion I (read at Miscon 2012, but no video or transcription was made)
- Arianne I (included in A World of Ice and Fire under "Excerpts")
- Barristan I (included in A World of Ice and Fire under "Excerpts")
- Barristan II (read at Boskone 2013, but no video or transcription was made)
- Tyrion II (included in A World of Ice and Fire under "Excerpts" as "Tyrion I")
- Mercy (included in A World of Ice and Fire under "Excerpts")
- Alayne I
- Arianne II
- The Forsaken
When asked in March 2015 whether more preview chapters might appear on A World of Ice and Fire, Martin replied "yes". However, in February 2017, Martin stated that he is not likely to read any new sample chapters at conventions, as "there comes a point when you are simply putting too much of the book out there".
Background and publication
The sixth book is going to be called The Winds of Winter, taking the title of what was originally going to be the last book of the trilogy, and later the planned fifth of six books. By June 2010, Martin had finished four chapters for The Winds of Winter, from the viewpoints of Sansa Stark, Arya Stark, and Arianne Martell. In July 2010, he added that an Aeron Greyjoy chapter had been moved from A Dance with Dragons to The Winds of Winter, accumulating to around 100 completed pages. After the publication of A Dance with Dragons, Martin announced to return to writing in January 2012, spending the meantime on book tours, conventions, and continuing his work on the long-overdue The World of Ice & Fire companion guide that he wanted to have finished by the end of 2011. He also worked on a new Tales of Dunk and Egg novella that was expected to appear in an anthology called Dangerous Women. It announced in early 2013 that Dangerous Women would instead feature a novella about the Dance of the Dragons named "The Princess and the Queen", and that the fourth Dunk and Egg novella was postponed.
In December 2011, Martin posted a chapter from The Winds of Winter from the viewpoint of Theon Greyjoy and added that another sample chapter would be included at the end of the US paperback version of A Dance with Dragons, originally expected to be released in summer 2012 (international A Dance with Dragons paper-pack releases in March 2012 had no sample chapter). Martin also read a portion of a Victarion Greyjoy chapter at Toronto's TIFF Bell Lightbox in March 2012.
In 2014, Martin decided not to make a cameo appearance in the fourth season of HBO's Game of Thrones, in order to free time for the sixth novel. For a similar reason, Martin declined to write an episode for the fifth season. In 2015, Martin cancelled appearances for the World Fantasy Convention in Saratoga and the San Diego Comicon, in order to focus on both writing The Winds of Winter, as well as on other work.
With 200 finished pages by March 2012, Martin expressed hope to finish The Winds of Winter much faster than the fifth book. He had previously gotten in trouble from fans for repeatedly estimating his publication dates too optimistically and thus decided to refrain from making absolute estimates for book six. He considered three years a realistic estimation for finishing The Winds of Winter if he could write at a good pace, but has also stated that ultimately the book "will be done when it's done". Martin does not intend to separate the characters geographically again but acknowledged that "Three years from  when I'm sitting on 1,800 pages of manuscript with no end in sight, who the hell knows".
In an interview from early April 2015 Martin declared his intent to complete The Winds of Winter before the sixth season of the TV series began in 2016. However, on January 2, 2016, Martin posted on his "Not a Blog" that, while he had hoped to be able to publish The Winds of Winter before HBO's sixth season of Game of Thrones would air, he had not been able to meet the deadlines required to reach that goal. Though Martin states that "Yes, there's a lot written. Hundreds of pages. Dozens of chapters.", he states that there are still many pages left to write, and that the book is still months away. Discussing HBO's sixth season, Martin stated that "there will be certain plot twists and reveals in season six of GAME OF THRONES that have not yet happened in the books", but also expressed that it is a case of "yes and no" when wondering whether the TV series will reveal plot points from the books.
The case of GAME OF THRONES and A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE is perhaps unique. I can't think of any other instance where the movie or TV show came out as the source material was still being written. So when you ask me, "will the show spoil the books," all I can do is say, "yes and no," and mumble once again about the butterfly effect. Those pretty little butterflies have grown into mighty dragons. Some of the 'spoilers' you may encounter in season six may not be spoilers at all... because the show and the books have diverged, and will continue to do so.
In May 2017, Martin confirmed that several "successor shows" set in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire were being developed by HBO. He later stated that he is not likely to be writing episodes for television shows until The Winds of Winter is "done and delivered", including the successor shows. Shortly before the start of the seventh season of Game of Thrones in July 2017, Martin was asked about the differences and similarities between the storylines of the TV show and the books. Martin stated,
"WINDS will be different in some ways, but will parallel the show in others. At this point, there are probably a dozen characters who are dead on the show but alive in the books, so it would be impossible for the two to remain the same. (Also, of course, there are characters in the books who have never even existed on the show, like Victarion Greyjoy, Jon Connington, Penny, Arianne Martell... )"
On July 22, 2017, Martin reported to still be "months away" from finishing the book. Writing that the first volume of Fire & Blood, which has largely been written, might be published in late 2018 or early 2019, Martin expressed uncertainty about whether The Winds of Winter might be published first, stating that "[..] I do think you will have a Westeros book from me in 2018... and who knows, maybe two. A boy can dream..." On April 25, 2018, however, Martin posted an announcement on his Not a Blog on the release date of Fire & Blood, stating simultaneously that "winter is not coming" in 2018,
When asked for an update on the book in April 2019, Martin commented that there was still no release date, but that "it has been going very well lately". In May, he jokingly posted on his Not a Blog that "if I don't have The Winds of Winter in hand when I arrive in New Zealand for worldcon, you have here my formal written permission to imprison me in a small cabin on White Island, overlooking that lake of sulfuric acid, until I'm done".
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