George R.R. Martin Says ‘The Winds Of Winter’ Might Be Released This Year

The author says he has made progress on the long-awaited fantasy novel, though not as much as he’d like

Book snobs who grumble about “Game of Thrones” not being as good as “A Song Of Ice And Fire” may have reason to rejoice in 2017. In a blog post he published this week, George R.R. Martin says that the sixth book in his fantasy series, “The Winds Of Winter” may finally be released this year.

Then again, it might not be.

“Not done yet, but I’ve made progress. But not as much as I hoped a year ago, when I thought to be done by now,” Martin wrote. “I think it will be out this year. (But hey, I thought the same thing last year).”

The last book in the series, “A Dance With Dragons,” was released in the summer of 2011, just a month after season 1 of “Game of Thrones” aired on HBO. In the years since, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss’ adaptation of Martin’s series has become a cultural phenomenon. Its sixth and most recent season took the story past where Martin left it off in “A Dance With Dragons” and ended up winning 12 Emmys, including Outstanding Drama Series.

In the meantime, Martin has released several chapters from “The Winds Of Winter” to whet fans’ appetites. These chapters include Asha Greyjoy’s reunion with her brother, Theon, who is finally beginning to heal from his torture at the hands of Ramsay Bolton. Meanwhile, Stannis Baratheon, who was killed off in season 5 of  “GoT” but is still alive in the books, prepares to go to war with the Boltons for control of the North.

Another preview chapter showed us the continued scheming of Sansa Stark, who has taken a far different path than the one she travels in “Game of Thrones.” Instead of being raped by Ramsay, Sansa has disguised herself as a bastard child named Alayne Stone and has learned the art of political cunning with the help of Littlefinger. But her mission is still the same: to retake Winterfell for the Starks.

But be prepared for the strong possibility that Sansa might fail horribly in her quest, as might Arya, Bran, and the other characters that fans hope will survive the winter. At the Guadalajara International Book Fair, Martin warned fans that things are about to happen that could make the Red Wedding look tame.

“It is called The Winds of Winter, and I’ve been telling you for 20 years that winter was coming,” he said. “Winter is the time when things die, and cold and ice and darkness fill the world, so this is not going to be the happy feel-good that people may be hoping for. Some of the characters [are] in very dark places.”

As for how the story will end in his final book, “A Dream of Spring,” Martin said that the “overall flavor is going to be as much bittersweet as it is happy.”

We will see soon if “Game of Thrones” has a similar bittersweet finale, as season 7 premieres this summer with the eighth and final season arriving in 2018.