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When will George RR Martin’s The Winds of Winter come out? [Updated]


The Winds of Winter is one of the most anticipated novels of all time, so when might it finally release?

Buy George RR Martin's latest book

Buy George RR Martin's latest book

George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire is one of the most popular fantasy series ever, with the first 5 books selling almost 100 million copies. It also spawned the mega-hit TV series Game of Thrones as well as House of the Dragon, which recently wrapped up its first season.

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Thrones concluded in 2019, having chronologically surpassed Martin's published material several years prior. The show's final season was poorly received, heightening the anticipation for the sixth book in the series, The Winds of Winter.

So when will readers finally get to see what happens to Daenerys, Jon, Tyrion, Arya and all their other favourite characters in prose form? Let's examine when The Winds of Winter may finally hit bookstores.

The story so far

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If you've been living under a rock the size of King's Landing, A Song of Ice and Fire follows a struggle for power between several noble families for the Iron Throne of the mythical continent of Westeros. It's an incredibly sprawling story, featuring no less than 24 point-of-view characters, but here are the very broad strokes.

Spoilers for A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones below

Robert Baratheon is the king of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, having usurped the Mad King Aerys Taragryen 14 years before the beginning of the first novel, A Game of Thrones. When the Hand of the King (read: the guy making decisions while Robert devotes himself to life's pleasures) dies, he recruits his old friend and war buddy Lord Eddard Stark to take up the role.

Robert is married to the conniving Cersei Lannister, who kills Robert when he gets a bit too close to figuring out that he isn't the father of Cersei's children; her twin brother Jaime is. When Eddard goes public with this information, he too is executed. This kicks off a war between Cersei's son King Joffrey, Robert's brothers Renly and Stannis, Eddard's son Robb, and Lord Balon Greyjoy of the Iron Islands, who jumps at the chance to stage another rebellion.

The 2 other major plots of the series follow Eddard's bastard son Jon Snow joining the Night's Watch in Westeros' far north and contending with a number of existential threats. The most significant of these is the Others, a race of ice warriors whose sole intent is to invade the Seven Kingdoms. Meanwhile, Aerys' daughter Daenerys plots to reclaim her family's throne, while travelling through the eastern continent of Essos.

A Song of Ice and Fire publication history

The Winds of Winter publication history
For long-time fans of the books, wait times are nothing new. Martin published the series' first 3 books in the span of just 4 years, and managed to cover an incredible amount of plot in that time.

A scrapped time jump delayed the publication of book 4, A Feast for Crows, until it was finally released in 2005. It received far more mixed reviews than its predecessors, due to a slower pace as Martin transitioned the epic story into a new direction. A bunch of major characters were also conspicuously absent. (The intended fourth volume grew too large in the writing, prompting Martin to split the cast into 2 separate books.) In an author's note in Feast, Martin stated that book 5, A Dance with Dragons, would be published within a year.

This was the first of many overly-ambitious claims from Martin, as it ultimately took 6 years to release Dance in 2011, the same year that HBO's TV show first aired. Martin admitted the novel didn't cover as much plot as he had intended, but was once again optimistic that the next volume wouldn't take long. Well, it's been 11 years, and no release date has been set.

So what's taking so long?

The Winds of Winter

Martin has cited a number of reasons for his slow progress. He has done a great job expanding the world of Westeros, introducing new characters and building an incredibly realistic-feeling universe, but has admitted to struggling with the fact that it's now time to bring the story back together to a satisfying conclusion. Fans have also accused Martin of spreading himself too thin over myriad Ice and Fire projects, textual and audio-visual.

With 11 years of work behind him, surely The Winds of Winter must be just around the corner, right? Well, Martin proclaimed to have made excellent progress on the story during the beginnings of the COVID pandemic.

But in a recent blog post, Martin stated "I made a lot of progress on Winds in 2020, and less in 2021… but 'less' is not 'none'."

In reference to the other Westerosi projects Martin has a hand in, he said "...for many of you out there, only one of those projects matters. I am sorry for you. They ALL matter to me."

This is a marked shift in tone, and has led many fans to think the book may still be a way off.

Winds of Winter release date

According to several online reports, The Winds Of Winter has an estimated publication date of November 2023. However, this date appears to have sprung from a joke on Reddit, which noted it would be possible to develop, write, film, and air the entirety of Game of Thrones in the time between the fifth and sixth books if the latter comes out on 13 November 2023. In other words, this date is completely bogus.

As it stands, Martin has not offered an official date or even a ballpark guess. You can expect him to make an announcement on his blog on the day that he hands in the finished manuscript to his publisher.

Update: 26/10/2022

George RR Martin has dropped a significant update regarding his progress on The Winds of Winter during a livestream with publisher Random House.

I think I'm about 3 quarters of the way done, maybe. But that's not 100% done. So, I have to continue to work on it.

"I've given up on making predictions [of when it will be finished]. Because people press me and press me; 'When's it going to be done?'

"I've never lied about these predictions … But I guess I overestimate my ability to get stuff done and underestimate the amount of interruptions."

Hurrah! This is arguably the most concrete confirmation of progress Martin has ever given, lending hope to the idea that we may indeed see The Winds of Winter in the near future.

It's also nice to get a simple, human explanation for the delays. While this is a billion-dollar franchise we're talking about, at the end of the day the book's release date comes down to 1 man and his struggle to finish off a series he loves.

Update: 9/12/2022

Martin has returned to the public eye with a humorous interview featuring an animated host and James Patterson.

You can check out the surreal video above. For die-hard Thrones fanatics, there's 1 section that will really stick out.

After telling Patterson that he has completed approximately 1,100-1,200 pages, Martin asserts that he "needs another 400, 500 pages."

If you take the most optimistic view of this statement (1,200 pages done, 400 to go), this tracks perfectly with his earlier statement that he is "about 3 quarters of the way done, maybe."

Alternatively, a more dour reading (1,100 pages done, 500 to go) would place his progress closer to 2 thirds of the way to completion.

Either way, getting a raw number on the amount of pages left to be completed does feel like a refreshing step in the right direction.

Update: June 2024

It appears George R R Martin inadvertently set himself a publication deadline while discussing unrelated projects on his Not A Blog website.

In a post about the upcoming HBO series The Hedge Knight (AKA Dunk & Egg), Martin mentioned that he plans to write additional stories for the show, but only after he finishes writing The Winds of Winter:

The show will make its debut next year… and if it does well, THE SWORN SWORD and THE MYSTERY KNIGHT will follow. By which time I hope to have finished some more Dunk & Egg stories (yes, after I finish THE WINDS OF WINTER).

Assuming HBO produces one season of Dunk & Egg per year, this gives him a hard deadline of 2027 to hand in the Winds manuscript and begin working on new Dunk & Egg stories.

Of course, this is entirely dependent on The Hedge Knight being successful and renewed for more seasons, but at least Martin has some extra motivation to get moving now.

A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones merch

Love the world of Westeros? There's all kinds of amazing merch to get your hands on while you wait for The Winds of Winter.

<em>A Song of Ice and Fire</em> boxed set
A Song of Ice and Fire boxed set

Catch up on the tale so far with this boxed set on all 5 published books.

Buy now for $70.35 (was $99.99)

A Game of Thrones: The Illustrated Edition
A Game of Thrones: The Illustrated Edition

This deluxe hardcover version of the first book in the series features illustrations in every chapter including full-page artwork.

Buy now for $61.57 (was 75.34)

<em>World of Ice and Fire: The Untold History</em>
World of Ice and Fire: The Untold History

This lavishly illustrated coffee table book charts the history of Westeros and the lands beyond with more than 170 full-colour paintings, maps and family trees. A must for any fan of the books.

Buy now for $37.33 (was $49.99)

<em>Game of Thrones:</em> The Poster Collection
Game of Thrones: The Poster Collection

This stunning poster collection features 40 of the most iconic images from the unforgettable series.

Buy now for $17.19 (was $35)

<em>Monopoly Game of Thrones</em> edition
Monopoly Game of Thrones edition

The fast-dealing property trading game lampooning the brutality of unchecked capitalism meets the amoral and savage world of Westeros. It's a match made in heaven.

Buy now for $49.95 (was $64.95)

Customisable <em>Game of Thrones</em> portrait
Customisable Game of Thrones portrait

This is your chance to have your head attached to some of the series's most iconic characters sitting atop the all-important Iron Throne.

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