George R. R. Martin Addresses Rumors That 'Winds Of Winter' Is Finished

There are rumors going around that Winds of Winter, the sixth book in the A Song Of Ice And Fire series (the basis for the HBO hit Game of Thrones) is complete, and just waiting to be published. George R. R. Martin responded to those rumors this week, telling fans not to believe rumors, ever -- but he stopped short of actually denying the claim.

It began, it seems, in a Reddit AMA. Director and producer Jack Bender was asked if he'd gotten to read an advance copy of Winds of Winter, and he responded with a single word: Yes.

Many took this as confirmation that Winds of Winter is complete, ready to be shipped to the public, and simply being held back for whatever reason -- to enhance anticipation, or for publication to coincide with other events -- even though it has also been pointed out that Bender accessing an "advance copy" wouldn't necessarily mean that the book was ready for publication.

One of the many wonderful things about George R. R. Martin as an author is that he freely interacts with fans on his LiveJournal account. With regard to the book completion rumors, this means that when a fan posted to ask if Son of Kong (Martin's nickname for Winds of Winter) was really completed, Martin was quick to answer.

"Never believe rumors. I've said that a thousand times."
Of course, the Game of Thrones author didn't quite go so far as to categorically deny that Winds of Winter is already bound and ready.

However, with regards to Jack Bender's statement that he'd seen an advance copy of the book, Watchers On The Wall has some inside information.

"A very reliable WotW source has confirmed to us that Bender hasn't seen an advanced copy/draft of The Winds of Winter, and must have confused it with the season 6 outline when answering the question."
Of course, we already knew that the Game of Thrones crew had advance outlines and information, and that Martin has even informed them how the story ends, so it isn't like a copy of the book itself would be necessary to create the show.

Still, even this source doesn't quite deny that Winds of Winter is complete, only that Bender has seen a copy. Regular readers of Martin's LiveJournal will also have noticed that in recent weeks, he's talked about a number of projects, including Rogues and High Stakes, but hasn't mentioned Winds of Winter as frequently.

Considering that only a few short months ago, Martin named Winds of Winter as "foremost among" the "things on [his] plate," it's small wonder that A Song Of Ice And Fire readers are seeing this as a sign that the book, or at least a first draft, is done.

Martin has hinted at the possibility of finishing the book this year, possibly even before some of the conventions this month.

However, it's unlikely that Martin would sit on such big news as a grand completion -- he has addressed similar rumors in the past, when accused of having the entire series complete, and laughing at the readers as they pleaded for the next book. At that time, he assured that he wouldn't keep such a secret.

Also, though it's certainly possible that Martin could have made a massive amount of progress since, we know that as recently as June 10, he has spoken about actually writing on Winds of Winter -- writing, not rewriting, editing, or finishing.

So no, Winds of Winter almost certainly is not currently secretly complete, and even if it is, Jack Bender's comment on Reddit wasn't a slip that made the truth public. There's no real answer about when the book will be complete and released to the public, other than that it could be this year.

In the meantime, the most recent sample chapter of Winds of Winter is available on George R. R. Martin's official site.

[Photo by: Kevin Winter / Getty Images]