"No, winter is not coming… not in 2018, at least."
And with those words, posted on George R.R. Martin's blog Wednesday, go the hopes of a few million Martin fans who had expected the next volume in his “A Song of Ice and Fire” – upon which HBO's “Game of Thrones” is based – to appear this year. “The Winds of Winter” is that next projected volume which Martin now says “you're going to have to keep waiting for.”
He did not say for how long either.
Instead, Martin said he'll publish an illustrated “imaginary history” of the Targaryen kings entitled “Fire & Blood” this November. Characteristically, that bit of news came with its own set of tantalizing possibilities, which the novelist also addressed on his blog:
“As most of you know, HBO is presently developing a number of different prequels to GAME OF THRONES. I know I am going to be asked whether those shows are going to be based on material from FIRE & BLOOD. It’s a logical question. The only answer I can give is… ah, well, no one is sure yet, and anyway, I am not allowed to say. So let’s move that to the side.”
About five “GoT” prequels are in development at HBO, and a very busy Martin is working on one of those, too.
Meanwhile, whenever it does actually arrive, “The Winds of Winter” is a lock to become a vast bestseller as well as cultural phenomenon, if only because its TV sibling – “Game of Thrones” – wraps in 2019.
Like “Does Jon Snow Live?,” the fate of “Winds” has generated its own vast spread of gossip, speculation, innuendo and hype. Martin spoke to this last summer, when he first announced “Fire & Blood:”
“I know you all want to know about THE WINDS OF WINTER too. I've seen some truly weird reports about WOW on the internet of late, by 'journalists' who make their stories up out of whole cloth. I don't know which story is more absurd, the one that says the book is finished and I've been sitting on it for some nefarious reason, or the one that says I have no pages. Both 'reports' are equally false and equally moronic. I am still working on it, I am still months away (how many? good question), I still have good days and bad days, and that's all I care to say.”
By the way, “Winds” will not wrap “A Song,” which began in 1996 with first volume, “A Game of Thrones.” The final volume is “A Dream of Spring” – and don't even bother asking Martin about that.