Game of Thrones might be ending its run on television, but there are still many stories left to be told in Westeros — and no, we're not talking about those potential Game of Thrones prequels that have been in development at HBO for what feels like years.
Well before Game of Thrones ever hit the small screen, George R. R. Martin was writing his Song of Ice and Fire series of novels, from which the show is adapted. And in case you've forgotten, he's still not exactly done writing the series... even though Game of Thrones is about to end. There are currently five released books in the Song of Ice and Fire series: A Game of Thrones (1996), A Clash of Kings (1998), A Storm of Swords (2000), A Feast for Crows (2005), and A Dance with Dragons (2011). There are supposedly two more books coming, and they are titled: The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring. Martin has long teased these upcoming books, and even mentioned that he's busy writing them. So where the heck are they?
There's been renewed discussion about the books, obviously in light of the HBO show ending. Even though we'll technically know who ends up on the Iron Throne in the end (since the show and the books do mostly mirror each other, though they have forked at different plot points before), Martin has always promised to finish writing them, and eventually release them.
But in saying that, the promise of The Winds of Winter has been floating around for almost a decade now. Way back in 2011, Martin told The Atlantic, "It will be done when it's done," and he hasn't really given any definitive sort of date since then. At one point Martin said that he was determined to finish the next book before the release of Season 6 of Game of Thrones... but that was back in 2016. It's now 2019, and there are no new books.
Adding fuel to the book speculation earlier this week, Martin joked to Variety, "I started doing a trilogy called Game of Thrones. Now my trilogy is seven books — if I finish the last two." This, of course, sent fans into a spiral as they thought he would never finish them. Then later, rumors started flying that Martin had, in fact, finished the books after a former Game of Thrones actor mentioned he knew they were done. But that's unfortunately not true.
Taking to his blog, in hopes of clearing up some confusion, Martin wrote, "The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring are not finished. Dream is not even begun; I am not going to start writing volume seven until I finish volume six. Why would I sit for years on completed novels? Why would my publishers — not just here in the U.S., but all around the world — ever consent to this? They make millions and millions of dollars every time a new Ice & Fire book comes out, as do I. Delaying makes no sense. Why would HBO want the books delayed? The books help create interest in the show, just as the show creates interest in the books."
With all that being said, is there any sort of answer hidden in here about the release of the next book? Unfortunately, no. Martin claims to still be writing with no end date in sight, and even after he's finished, the book still has to go through the publisher before it even hits publication and then later bookshelves. Even if he were to finish writing the book today, we still probably wouldn't see it for at least two years.
Honestly, at the rate television reboots are happening these days, we might see a new version of Game of Thrones before we ever see the conclusion of Martin's book series.
The series finale of Game of Thrones airs Sunday, May 19 at 9/8c on HBO.