Fans of Game of Thrones are certainly used to waiting. The first book in the epic fantasy series by George R. R. Marting, A Game of Thrones, was released in 1996. Despite the acclaimed HBO series already telling its own full tale of A Song of Ice and Fire, Martin’s books are not finished. And now, the second to the last book in the series, The Winds of Winter, is delayed once more.
Since the first release in 1996, there has been A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings in 1998, A Storm of Swords in 2000, A Feast for Crows in 2005, and A Dance With Dragons in 2011. Two more are planned: The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring. That makes the last book published nearly ten years ago.
Much of that surely had to do with the HBO series that debuted in 2011. Its controversial last episode was May of 2019, and the ending was overall considered a disappointment to fans. Perhaps that is why Marin has stated the book delay has to do with rewriting the ending. The author has mentioned that the ending for the television show will not necessarily be the same as the book and that the show’s writers surpassed his storyline and were not “completely faithful” to what he’d had planned.
The show’s ending may or may not end up shaping what Martin has in mind for the books. But they are certainly eagerly anticipated. On his blog in 2019, Martin stated the final two books will total more than 3,000 pages, which is a massive amount considering A Dance With Dragons has 959 pages on its own. The book also introduced multiple other characters and plot lines that never made an appearance in HBO’s series. This certainly will impact the next two books, and perhaps even directly shape the ending.
In 2018, Martin did release Fire & Blood, which told the history of House Targaryan. It’s uncertain if more prequels will be written before the time The Winds of Winter is published. But, if there is any lesson to be learned from HBO’s ending, it’s that taking the time to get it right is worth it.