‘Winds Of Winter’ Release Date: Why The Book Has To Come Out This Year

George R.R. Martin left fans with dashed hopes when he announced a couple of weeks ago that the Winds of Winter release date wouldn’t happen anytime soon. GRRM admitted that he had missed a key deadline that would have made the book come out by March. It is apparent by now that the sixth book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series won’t hit shelves before the airing of Game of Thrones season 6. However, that book has to come out this year if GRRM still wants to have a say on the show.

The television phenomenon has a grueling schedule that the cast and crew have to simultaneously film in different countries. The chronological order of the scenes isn’t followed anymore when filming, and what makes producing Game of Thrones different is that all scripts of the 10 episodes are already finished before the team starts shooting.

game of thrones
Game of Thrones set in Osuna, Spain. (Photo by Sergio Camacho/Getty Images)

In an interview with Observer, producer Bryan Cogman revealed that the writers are typically assigned to work on certain characters. In January of each year, the team meets for two to three weeks to present and discuss the direction they did for each character. It is essential to finish all scripts before they begin filming.

“We continue to tinker with all of the scripts through prep and production. But they’re generally camera-ready when we finish them. They have to be, as we have to have all 10 scripts complete well before shooting starts. We shoot all 10 episodes simultaneously, out of order, like a big, 10-hour movie, with two shooting units going at all times, sometimes in different countries.”

Cogman’s statement reveals that the writers may be meeting now to begin discussing the fate of Game of Thrones season 7, premiering in April, 2017. If the Winds of Winter release date won’t take place this year, specifically before January, 2017, that means the book might not have an influence on probably the final season of Game of Thrones. Showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff might forge the final season on their own since they won’t have a material to base their plotlines on.

game of thrones cast
(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Nonetheless, even if Winds of Winter won’t come out soon, Benioff told Vanity Fair last year that Martin already revealed to them how the story would end.

“If you know the ending, then you can lay the groundwork for it. And so we want to know how everything ends. We want to be able to set things up. So we just sat down with him and literally went through every character.”

If the Game of Thrones team will indeed incorporate Martin’s ending in the final season, the show will then become spoilers of the author’s works. If the Winds of Winter release date won’t happen this year, Weiss and Benioff can choose to not reveal the entire ending of Martin’s vision. They can show how the fantasy series will conclude, but leave the responsibility of explaining “why this and that happened” to Martin’s books. After all, HBO chairman Richard Plepler believes that the showrunners have so much respect for the novelist, and that “they would never do anything that would violate George’s sense of the integrity of the story.”

Another option is for the team to go on hiatus after season 7, and come back with a massive Game of Thrones movie. This arrangement will give GRRM extra time to deliver his book. It’s an option Martin might not refuse as he is admittedly a fan of J.R.R. Tolkiens Lord of the Rings saga, and is even planning to give the books a “bittersweet ending” reminiscent of Frodo Baggins’ tale.

[Image via Vanity Fair]