Sometimes (reasonably) maligned but always discussed, Game of Thrones is an acclaimed “grimdark” television series entering its sixth season. In an unusual twist, the season will air before author George RR Martin can finish the sixth book in the long-running saga – the book on which parts of the TV season will be based.
The news was confirmed on Saturday Martin wrote about The status of The winter winds on his blog, explaining that the book is still “months away” from being fully written. And that’s before we even consider the time it takes for the rewrite.
Martin originally had a Halloween deadline, which was then extended to the end of the year after consultation with his editors and publishers. He revealed that “a gloom set in” as November progressed, his writing slowed to a glacial pace, and as a result led to the current state of affairs. “I tried, I promise you. I have failed.”
“There are no excuses. No one else is to blame. Not my editors, not HBO, not David & Dan. I pay. I’ve tried, and I’m still trying. I spent a few days working on the book, revising a Theon chapter and adding some new material, and I’ll write it again tomorrow. But no, I can’t tell you when it will be ready, or when it will be published. The best guess, based on our previous conversations, is that Bantam (and presumably my UK publisher) will be able to have the hardcover within three months of delivery, their schedules permitting. But when the delivery may be, I cannot say.”
Surprisingly, the Internet responded to the news with great generosity. Commentators offered a stream of support, thanking Martin for his efforts and begging him to “don’t stress”. The author seemed quite moved through development.
For those concerned about what this means for spoiler status, Martin said there will be “certain plot twists and reveals” in the upcoming TV season of Game of Thrones that haven’t happened yet in the books. However, he was quick to note that the books and television series diverge, so some of the spoilers you may encounter “might not be spoilers at all.”
Game of Thrones season 6 is likely to start on April 3 or 10 on HBO in the US and Sky Atlantic in the UK.