When will George RR Martin finish next Game of Thrones book The Winds of Winter?

Fans have been waiting 14 years for a follow-up to ‘A Dance with Dragons’

Kevin E G Perry
Los Angeles
Thursday 06 June 2024 01:48
This is what inspired George RR Martin to write the Red Wedding

The second season of HBO’s hit Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon is just around the corner, with the first episode set to arrive on Sunday 16 June less than two years after the end of the first season.

For dedicated Westeros fans, that’s nothing. Readers of George RR Martin’s fantasy novels have been waiting a staggering 14 years for him to finish The Winds of Winter - and there’s still no end in sight.

The epic central story that inspired Game of Thrones is known as A Song of Ice and Fire. It’s intended to be a seven-volume series, but so far only five of the books have been published.

The first, A Game of Thrones, hit shelves in 1996 and after that sequels followed at a pretty reliable clip. A Clash of Kings arrived in 1998 and A Storm of Swords followed in 2000.

The pace slowed a little after that, with a five-year gap before A Feast for Crows in 2005 and then a six-year wait for A Dance with Dragons in 2011.

That was just a few months after Game of Thrones debuted on HBO, and the massive success of the television series seemed to slow down Martin’s rate of productivity. He’s kept busy, of course, publishing a range of novellas, graphic novels, collections, and companion books, but there’s still no sign of either of the series’ concluding books The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring.

George RR Martin pictured in California in 2019, not working on ‘The Winds of Winter’
George RR Martin pictured in California in 2019, not working on ‘The Winds of Winter’ (Getty Images)

The good news is that Martin says he’s been putting in the hours. Indeed, back in 2019 the author revealed he’d turned down the opportunity to make a cameo appearance in the final season of Game of Thrones in order to focus on writing the books. The following year, he confirmed that his books would end differently to the much-debated ending to the television series, saying: “People know an ending—but not the ending. The makers of the TV show had overtaken me, which I didn’t expect.”

Martin went on to point out that the show, which was created for television by screenwriters David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, had already strayed from the books in several ways. “I am working in a very different medium than David and Dan, never forget,” he said. “They had six hours for this final season. I expect these last two books of mine will fill 3,000 manuscript pages between them before I’m done… and if more pages and chapters and scenes are needed, I’ll add them.”

The problem certainly doesn’t seem to be a lack of ideas, with Martin estimating that the final two books will be even longer than A Dance With Dragons and AStorm Of Swords, the longest books in the series so far.

In 2022, he called The Winds of Winter a “big, big book”, adding: “It’s a challenging book. It’s probably going to be a larger book than any of the previous volumes in the series.” Promisingly, he also revealed that he was about “three-quarters of the way done”.

For fans, the lengthy wait for the official conclusion of the Game of Thrones saga can be an infuriating one. For Martin, however, there’s no bigger challenge than finding the perfect way to say goodbye.

In a wide-ranging interview with The Independent in 2022, the author revealed he’d delayed finishing A Storm of Swords because he was struggling with having to bid farewell to so many of his beloved characters. “I finished the entire book, except for the Red Wedding,” Martin recalled with a grimace. “That was such a painful chapter for me to write, losing some characters that I had come to know and love. Nine years I’d been with these characters, and now I was going to kill them horribly! That was difficult.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in