The Winds of Winter release date: All the excuses George RR Martin has given for the delay so far

TV series Game of Thrones is scheduled to return for its sixth season in May but there is no word of the sixth book

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The Independent Culture

It’s nearly 2016, which should hopefully mean that it’s nearly the year the long awaited sixth Game of Thrones book will finally reach shelves.

But of course this is notoriously slow writer George RR Martin we are talking about, and an official release date is yet to be announced.

Martin’s next novel in his A Song of Ice and Fire series, The Winds of Winter, follows 2011’s A Dance with Dragons (it seems like ages ago, we know).

The sixth season of the popular HBO TV series based on his books is scheduled to return in May and has already caught up with Martin’s storylines, making it likely that showrunners will either go off on their own tangent or spoil The Winds of Winter for readers.

None of this would be a problem had Martin kept to the time frames of say, JK Rowling, who only made Harry Potter fans wait a maximum of three years between her seven books. 

Here are his excuses so far:

Tempting travel freebies

“In recent years all of the work I’ve been doing creates problems because it creates distraction. Because the books and the show are so popular I have interviews to do constantly. I have travel plans constantly. It’s like suddenly I get invited to travel to South Africa or Dubai and who’s passing up a free trip to Dubai?”

The dreaded writer’s block

“I don’t [write] that rigidly. I go over in the morning and sit down, I usually reread what I’ve done the day before to try to build up a little momentum. Sometimes if what I wrote the day before is not very good I spend the whole day rewriting what I did the day before.”

Everyone ‘bothering’ him

“I don’t write when I travel. I don’t write in hotel rooms. I don’t write on airplanes. I really have to be in my own house undisturbed to write. Though most of my life nobody did bother me but now everyone bothers me every day. I have assistants and minions whose main job is to make sure people don’t bother me so I can actually get writing done.”

Other things being simply more fun

“I found out long ago that when you look at the overall task, the cathedral you have to build, it looks so daunting that you just give up and sit down and play a video game.”

Reminding fans of supposed sacrifices made

“Having The Winds of Winter published before season six of Thrones airs next spring has been important to me all along. I wish it was out now. Maybe I’m being overly optimistic about how quickly I can finish but I cancelled two convention appearances, I’m turning down a lot more interviews, anything I can do to clear my decks and get this done.”

There have been plenty of hints that 2016 may be the year, most notably when a fan reported seeing Game of Thrones crew members holding The Winds of Winter manuscript. 

Martin has refrained from dropping any spoilers but claims the books will finish with a “bittersweet ending”. He plans to write a seventh, A Dream of Spring, and last summer said *f**k you” to fans fearing he will die before the saga is completed.

Just remember how much Martin looks like Father Christmas and he suddenly becomes easier to forgive.