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Anne Groell, editor of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, teases the series’ future – and The Winds of Winter – in a new interview.

Groell, an executive editor at Penguin Random House, recently answered questions from fans at Suvudu.com, where she admitted that Martin may exceed the promised seven books of his wildly popular fantasy series.

Anne Groell

“I begin to wonder,” Groell writes, in response to a question of whether Martin could wrap up A Song of Ice and Fire in seven books. Though, “seven [books] is what we currently have under contract,” the editor teases that she had long been convinced that the story would be bigger than Martin anticipated. Though Groell had always championed the idea of “Seven books for Seven Kingdoms,” she hints that the matter may not be quite so clear-cut.

“As I recently learned while editing The World of Ice and Fire… there are really technically eight kingdoms,” Groell reveals. “So, maybe eight books for Seven Kingdoms would be okay.”

Groell also adresses the highly-anticipated release date for The Winds of Winter, the sixth book in Martin’s series.

“When I have a date, you will have a date,” she assures readers. “I promise you we will put the word out as soon as we know. All I can say is that George is hard at work, and we hope to have it reasonably soon.”

But whenever The Winds of Winter does arrive, Groell promises that the story will not disappoint. “It’s amazing,” she writes. “In fact, when I first read the partial back in 2013, I immediately wrote George an impassioned plea to please not let the show get out ahead of him.” Though Groell refrains from any predictions regarding Game of Thrones and the book series, she is firm on her preferred outcome on a race between the two mediums.

“I definitely want [Martin's] version to be my first version,” she writes. “And I think a lot of you want that, too. His vision started this; I very much want his vision to end it, too.”

Still, Groell is enthusiastic about Game of Thrones. “I love it,” she writes. “It’s the only show I treat like a movie… we turn off all the lights and pretend we are in a movie theater, and that nothing else exists.”

  • Garrett Pletcher

    She has to be one amazing, patient, intelligent editor. I wish the series could be finished in 7 because waiting for 2 more books after The Winds of Winter will be dreadful. However, if 8 is what it takes to give a complete ending then so be it.

    • Kahryl

      She’s patient because she has an easy as feck job. She doesn’t do any actual editing. Just read Dance for f’s sake. They sacrifice the actual climactic moments of that book so they could have more chapters of Tyrion looking at turtles and having witless conversations with Penny.

      • Garrett Pletcher

        I can’t speak for that since I’m not there in the series. I was saying she was patient more from the viewpoint that Martin loves taking his time writing, which I’m sure has caused issues every now and then with the publishing company, which she then must deal with. It’s great that they have worked together for so long.

  • G


  • Anthony Runyon

    I don’t think there would be a ton more content beyond what he is currently writing, it would just need to get split up between 3 books as opposed to two, like how long some of the past books have been.

  • frezb

    At this point I do not care how many books it takes to finish the story as long as I get to finish reading the story.

  • Sinister Kid

    The publishing industry is such a disappointment right now. The P2P leaves such a bad taste in my mouth as an avid reader and reader of fanfiction. Marketing this stuff blurs so many lines. I don’t doubt some, unlike James, are great and aspiring writers but to get taken advantage like that is sad.

  • Elliot Burford

    I’m happy with 8 books, it’s just more content to read :D
    I’m a little sick of people being angry at him for writing slowly, it’s his vision and his story, so he can take however he wants. I’m just angry mostly at the show which forces him to speed up his process, which hopefully doesn’t have a bad impact on the quality of future books

    • Jennifer

      I think that’s a little backwards, actually. Martin signed up to make a TV series knowing that he wasn’t done yet. He had four years to get ahead of this, and he didn’t. I agree that he needs to take as much time as is necessary to get it right, but it’s hardly the show’s fault. After he gave them the rights, their only loyalty was to themselves and their viewers. If Martin falls behind, he can only blame himself.

      • Elliot Burford

        Yeah you are right actually.
        I’m probably just bitter that I don’t want my first experience of the ending to be in the show rather than in the books

  • shane willett

    Are they trying to compete with J.K Rowling with the Harry Potter IP seems that Universal wants what WB made with the 8 movies… HBO is probably wanting it done sooner, so they can strike while the iron is hot..

  • InterDra

    7 Kingdoms and the Riverlands. Gotta make the 8!

    • Stephen Mitchell

      no 7 kingdoms (tully’s were lords of the riverlands) but the greyjoys are lords of those islands so technically 8

  • Ian

    Well I’m 30 now and I’m guessing I’ll be close to retirement by the time the series ends!!

  • Bill

    i used to be concerned that george would die before finishing it… now i’m more concerned that i will die before its done!

  • gabriel

    so the editor of asoiaf just said she “recently learned” that there are 8 kingdoms in westeros.

  • Cam

    books is impossible for him. He will die. There is no question about it
    anymore. He will not finish this series. He will not. It’s as good as
    ruined. Worst. Author. Ever.

    • Jdean

      Yup exactly what I said. What a f#ck you to his fans. Oh sure read 7,000 pages of my books so I can die and not have to write an ending. Notice he’s in no rush? Yup he’s laughing all the way to the bank.

  • ladybirds

    More waiting for us then, eh? :-/

  • Jdean

    Anne Groell, may the others take you! 8 books?! All I can say is that he better have an amazing ending and be best survive long enough to write it. These people are not being realistic. It takes this guy around 5-10 yrs to write a book. He’s 65? Oh good hell only be 95 when he gets his last one out… Yeah that makes sense cause people his size usually live very long lives.

  • Luis Carlos Zardo

    He used to write a book every two years, back when he have an actual story to put on it…and no money.

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