George R.R. Martin Kills Last Hope For ‘The Winds Of Winter’ In 2016

George R.R. Martin has news for fans of his A Song of Ice and Fire novels and the HBO blockbuster series Game of Thrones. And even he realizes that nobody will like it.

Since Game of Thrones Season 5 caught up with the published material in George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy saga, fans’ emotions have gone from nervous to panic stricken. When HBO began Game of Thrones in 2011, most fans thought that Martin would complete the final two novels in the A Song of Ice and Fire series long before the show caught up. After all, the show had well over 4,000 pages of dense material to adapt for television. Even after the team behind Game of Thrones managed to cram nearly 1,500 pages of material into 20 episodes, fans remained optimistic.

George R.R. Martin with the most recent 'Game of Thrones' Emmy
[Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images]

Martin’s publisher, Bantam, released the fifth book in George R.R. Martin’s saga, A Dance of Dragons, in July 2011, nearly one month after the final episode of Game of Thrones Season 1 aired. Despite the six year gap that separated A Dance of Dragons and its predecessor, A Feast for Crows, fans were certain that George R.R. Martin could stay ahead of Game of Thrones. But, that optimism faded as the finale of Game of Thrones Season 5, “Mother’s Mercy,” caught up to the material in A Dance of Dragons, the last published A Song of Ice and Fire novel.

In a January 2 blog post, Martin delivered a killing blow to any hope fans still had of reading The Winds of Winter, before the material in it is adapted in Game of Thrones Season 6. The manuscript of The Winds of Winter isn’t finished, and George R.R. Martin isn’t sure when it will be finished.

“You’re disappointed, and you’re not alone. My editors and publishers are disappointed, HBO is disappointed, my agents and foreign publishers and translators are disappointed… but no one could possibly be more disappointed than me. For months now I have wanted nothing so much as to be able to say, ‘I have completed and delivered THE WINDS OF WINTER’ on or before the last day of 2015.”

George R.R. Martin also slammed reports that he hasn’t written any of The Winds of Winter, calling any reports to the contrary “internet garbage journalism,” but admitted that while hundreds of pages and dozens of chapters are completed, many more still need to be written and rewritten before he can turn the manuscript over to his editors and publisher. According to Martin, he was initially told by Bantam that The Winds of Winter would only beat Game of Thrones Season 6 if the completed manuscript was delivered before Halloween 2015. By August 2015, Martin knew that he couldn’t meet the late October deadline.

However, in a blog post in August 2015, Martin mentioned meeting with his editors, leading some fans to believe that Martin turned in the manuscript then. Bantam set a second deadline, in the hopes that if George R.R. Martin delivered The Winds of Winter by the end of 2015, they could still publish in March 2016 to stay ahead of Game of Thrones. But, the second deadline has come and gone, and The Winds of Winter isn’t finished. Martin attributes the delay to his busy schedule and the stress of the writing process. And, don’t expect any more updates about Martin’s progress in the future.

“I am going back to my stance from last March, before all this. It will be done when it’s done. And it will be as good as I can possibly make it.”

There is some good news, if you happen to be a fan of A Song of Ice and Fire looking for a good beer to take away the sting. According to fan site, Winter is Coming, Brewery Ommegang has already begun work on the next beer in their Game of Thrones series, Seven Kingdoms Wheat Ale. Bottles of Seven Kingdoms Wheat Ale will hit shelves in most states in March 2016, even if The Winds of Winter won’t.

[Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images]