Game Of Thrones fans are anticipating for the release of author George R.R. Martin's book The Winds of Winter.
Martin's most recent published book was released in 2011 – and we have yet to see him finish his next instalment. He's been working on a spin-off series Fire and Blood. Here's what you need to know…
When is Winds Of Winter coming out?
George R.R. Martin is notorious for taking his time when writing his Game Of Thrones series.
The release date for The Winds Of Winter is not set in stone but it has been theorised that could possibly be released to coincide with the final series of the HBO show based on his books – although this would take us all the way into 2019.
Ultimately, this would come as nothing but a disappointment to die-hard fans but it should be noted that the longer he takes, the better the next chapter in his magnum opus will be.
George revealed in a blog post that he planned on giving himself a lot of time to write in 2017 – and according to AV Club, the notoriously sneaky author hinted he may have finally finished the book.
On January 20, 2018, a bookshop gave fans false hope when it accidentally revealed a possible release date – September 6, 2018.
Strand Bookstore stated the release date in a list titled '20 New Books To Look Forward to in the New Year'.
However, the date has since been deleted, and in its place is written "The Winds of Winter by George R.R. Martin (fingers crossed!)".
With September being long gone, fans are left to speculate when the release date will be once again.
In November 2018, George RR Martin spoke to The Guardian about his struggle to finish writing the book, saying: "I've been struggling with it for years. The Winds of Winter is not so much a novel as a dozen novels, each with a different protagonist, each having a different cast of supporting players, antagonists, allies and lovers around them, and all of these weaving together against the march of time in an extremely complex fashion.
"So it's very, very challenging. Fire and Blood, by contrast, was very simple. Not that it's easy – it still took me years to put together – but it is easier."
But the author addressed rumours that he was finished with the fantasy novel, writing on his blog: "I am still working on it, I am still months away."
He's also working on a Westerosi encyclopedia, called Fire and Blood, at the same time.
But George has whipped up a Thrones frenzy by teasing a very vague release date on his blog.
He wrote: "I do think you will have a Westeros book from me in 2018… and who knows, maybe two. A boy can dream.”
In December 2017 fans began speculating after George sent out a tweet suggesting that 2018 would be a better year, alongside a picture showing a dragon’s silhouette.
This will be the sixth book in the series followed by the seventh and final instalment called A Dream of Spring.
GRRM himself, however, denied the book would come out in 2018 – he said we will get a Westeros book, but it will be from his side project, Fire and Blood.
How will it relate to the HBO series Game Of Thrones?
Martin has teased that The Winds Of Winter will "parallel" Game Of Thrones.
Fans of the series have waited six years for the sequel to A Dance With Dragons, which now means that the HBO programme will overtake the books.
In response to a fan who said they disliked Game Of Thrones because it deviates from the books, Martin said: "Winds will be different in some ways, but will parallel the show in others.
"At this point, there are probably a dozen characters who are dead on the show but alive in the books, so it would be impossible for the two to remain the same. (Also, of course, there are characters in the books who have never even existed on the show, like Victarion Greyjoy, Jon Connington, Penny, Arianne Martell… )."
When is George releasing the last two books?
There's been a lot of speculation regarding a potential surprise release of the final two entries in the Song of Ice and Fire series.
The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring were alleged to be hitting shelves following the end of the eighth and final series of Game of Thrones.
At a Russian convention, Barristan Selmy actor Ian McElhinney made the allegation that Martin was close to finishing the books and putting them out, but he couldn't do so until after the season due to a deal he had made with the showrunners.
Ian said: "I don't know if you know more than me about this, but what I've been told is that George has already written books six and seven".
"And as far as he's concerned, there only are seven books. But he struck an agreement with David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss], the showrunners of the series, that he would not publish the final two books until the series has completed.
"So all goes well, in another month or two, we might get books six and seven".
Martin has since responded to the claims, saying that he hasn't even started writing the books yet, before going on to mention that he never made any sort of deal with anyone concerning the release of any future Game of Thrones books.
He explained on his official blog: "No, THE WINDS OF WINTER and A DREAM OF SPRING are not finished".
"DREAM is not even begun; I am not going to start writing volume seven until I finish volume six. It seems absurd to me that I need to state this".
"The world is round, the Earth revolves around the sun, water is wet… do I need to say that too? It boggles me that anyone would believe this story, even for an instant. It makes not a whit of sense. Why would I sit for years on completed novels? Why would my publishers — not just here in the US, but all around the world — ever consent to this? They make millions and millions of dollars every time a new Ice & Fire book comes out, as do I. Delaying makes no sense".
He continued to question why HBO would want him to release the books well after the show has ended – it simply wouldn't make any sense.
George added: "Why would HBO want the books delayed? The books help create interest in the show, just as the show creates interest in the books. So… no, the books are not done. HBO did not ask me to delay them. Nor did [showrunners] David & Dan. There is no ‘deal’ to hold back on the books".
"I assure you, HBO and David & Dan would both have been thrilled and delighted if THE WINDS OF WINTER had been delivered and published four or five years ago… and NO ONE would have been more delighted than me".
When does Game Of Thrones season 8 start? And what can fans expect?
Fans desperate to find out who takes the Iron Throne are counting down to the start date of the final GoT series.
The eighth season will air in April 2019 following months of filming since October 2017.
We do know the final series will be the shortest in Game of Thrones' history with just six episodes, following on from the seven in season seven.
While the final cast for the series has not been revealed, all of the characters who survived season seven will be reprising their roles for the finale.
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