After 'Game Of Thrones' Author's Offhand Comment, Fans Think 'Winds Of Winter' May Be Complete

The next book in the series that began with Game Of Thrones could appear this year -- though fans familiar with author George R. R. Martin's writing process know that next year is more likely, and has been the predicted time of arrival. Still, Martin has said a few things that have given readers hope, and in his latest blog post, one line is adding to that -- but it's probably false hope.

Martin has taken this year off from working on the HBO Game of Thrones series based on his books, and has even decided to skip some events this year, all in order to focus on the newest book in the series: The Winds Of Winter -- or, as Martin frequently refers to it, "Son of Kong." There have been hints that the book could be completed before the end of the year -- including another post on Martin's blog, in which he said he'd revise his plans to represent Game of Thrones at some upcoming conventions, if he finished the book before the conventions took place.

Add that to a rumor earlier this month that Winds of Winter is already complete (Martin denied it, sort of), and high levels of anticipation from the fan base, and people are quick to jump on small hopes.

Here's what Martin said on Friday, in context of telling readers about an upcoming trip (to a wedding, and to watch the Staten Island Yankees and Hudson Valley Renegades, who temporarily rebrand themselves in honor of Game of Thrones as the Direwolves and Lannister Lions, respectively).

"And while I will be travelling, my army on minions will be here at the old homestead, toiling in the paper mines."
The line isn't too cryptic. It seems clear that Martin is referring to those who do the end work in publishing, turning his stories into readable paper-printed objects. Perhaps it extends to include the editing team, but almost certainly the publishers and printers -- "paper mines" makes that clear enough.

Only a few hours later, a number of readers are already jumping on the line, hoping it means the next installment in the Game of Thrones world is on its way. That may be an overly optimistic interpretation, though.

While Game of Thrones is certainly popular, and perhaps the first title to come to mind when George R. R. Martin is mentioned, it's hardly his only project -- and Winds of Winter isn't his only current project. As a matter of fact, he has stated as recently as mid-June that he was finishing up what he hoped to be the last round of edits in the next edition of his Wild Cards series.

That is, we actually know, from Martin's own words, that the Wild Cards book (High Stakes) is nearing readiness for the "minions" in the "paper mines." We have no new information that suggests the Game of Thrones sixth installment is at that stage. Logic dictates that Winds of Winter isn't what Martin was dropping hints about.

Still, it has been said that hope keeps us alive, and the hopes of Game of Thrones fans are strong. Maybe it's wishful thinking, and a leap to conclusions -- but there's no reason to stop hoping.

[Photo by: Kevin Winter/Getty Images]