The day we never thought we’d see has finally arrived: George R. R. Martin has announced the release date for The Winds of Winter, the highly anticipated sixth installment in his A Song of Ice and Fire series; and it’s coming very soon.
“I’m happy to announce that Winds of Winter will be released at the conclusion of this season of Game of Thrones,” Martin says in a statement. “I actually finished the book three years ago, around the same time as A Dance with Dragons, but my publisher wanted to see if Game of Thrones the TV show really took off in popularity before releasing it so we could really capitalize on that.”
We can’t say we blame Martin for waiting. The show is a juggernaut, and is likely to set another record for illegal downloads after the Season 4 premiere on April 6. The announcement should also serve to put many a fan’s mind at ease now that the spectre of the show surpassing Martin’s books no longer looks like a reality. Martin does however give a few clues as to what happens in the new book, and it will be interesting to see how the new developments work on the show.
“We learn that Cersei is Jon Snow’s mother in Winds of Winter, and that her affair with Ned Stark is what woke the White Walkers,” Martin reveals. “And Daenerys gets to Westeros but decides she prefers the warmer climate of Essos and turns back around.”
Martin also lets slip that before Dany can make it back across the Narrow Sea, her dragons wreak some havoc in the Seven Kingdoms, “Everyone is burned alive by the dragons, including Daenerys.” Martin says. “At the end of the book, the only survivors are Rickon Stark and Asha Greyjoy [Yara on the show], and book seven is about their journey to find each other and repopulate the country. It’s actually going to be stretched to three books most likely, since there will be a lot of food they’ll eat along the way that will need describing.”
So mark your calendars everyone, the exact release date for The Winds of Winter is... April Fools!