Game of Thrones Season 6 just wrapped up, but where does it leave author George R.R. Martin and his A Song of Ice and Fire novels? With the blockbuster season over, fans are now waiting for the new novel, The Winds of Winter, but with no firm release date in sight.
With Jon Snow resurrected and his real parents revealed, the Battle of the Bastards, and that incredible finale, the general consensus is that Season 6 is a huge hit, leaving fans wanting more even as they face delays of nearly a year before they see Season 7. Entertainment Weekly just released the first details available about GoT Season 7, including the names of 4 of the directors that have been lined up for 2017; they include Alan Taylor (The Sopranos), Canadian Jeremy Podeswa (Boardwalk Empire), Brit Mark Mylod (Game of Thrones Season 6, Entourage), and Matt Shakman (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia).
But what about the novels? Will fans see the next novel before Season 7 gets underway?
George R. R. Martin’s Dilemma
Ironically, A Song of Ice and Fire began with a short story that simply grew and grew. The novels now involve more than a thousand characters. The marriage of print and TV began well, with the Game of Thrones series on HBO gaining in popularity seemingly with each episode. As that happened, George R.R. Martin found his schedule overbooked, to say the least. Along with continuing to write the novels, he took on the job of traveling and blogging extensively to promote GoT. Writing a novel is a time consuming project all on its own and the deadline for the sixth novel in the series, The Winds of Winter, (not to be confused with the last episode of Season 6 by the same name,) began to slide farther and farther back.
Fans reacted poorly to the delays.
seriously laughing so hard at GRRM's many publication plans for The Winds of Winter ????????????— clary (@willxherondaIe) June 14, 2016
@Axechucker the announcement of a Winds of Winter publication date! ... I'll show myself out...— Not Now Emi! (@undercover_emi) May 2, 2016
George R.R. Martin reportedly felt compelled to address the issue in a blog post in January, describing the reasons why he hadn’t been able to comply with the original deadline for the book last fall.
GoT — Stealing the momentum?
Even aside from the publishing delays, it is something of a gamble for a writer, even one as popular as George R.R. Martin, to hand over a current novel series for adaptation to television. In the case of Game of Thrones, it has meant that Season 6 actually outstripped the storyline of the books in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. The plot line of the HBO series and the books have diverged in a number of ways, including characters who have been killed off in one and live on in the other.
The title of a piece in Forbes magazine — George R.R. Martin Is Watching His Story Slip Away — doesn’t leave much doubt as to the publication’s assessment of the situation the uber popular fantasy writer finds himself in now.
George R.R. Martin has released or read 11 chapters from the new Game of Thrones book. Here's where to find them. https://t.co/VD22HyQzLs— Vox (@voxdotcom) June 30, 2016
Naturally, many fans of the HBO series are also fans of the George R.R. Martin novels, and the question that they are left with is, where can the books go next? And has this last season on HBO stolen the momentum from the novel series?
It probably doesn’t help that Game of Thrones Season 6 was so exciting or well received. It puts all that much more pressure on the novels to meet or surpass that level of success. The other issue, particularly important to a writer, is that Martin has essentially lost control over his storyline. Although both the novels and GoT are set to end at the same place, it looks like they will take very different roads to get there.
As reported in Cnet, Martin published his last official update, including a new chapter of The Winds of Winter, on his blog in May. It is written from the point of view of Arianne, the daughter of Dornish king Doran Martell – a character who has not appeared in Game of Thrones at all.
Bustle notes that a report at GamenGuide gives a release date of January 2017, but there’s been no official confirmation. As of today, there is still no firm release date for George R.R. Martin’s Winds of Winter.
[Image via Game of Thrones/HBO]