George R.R. Martin has revealed that he still hasn’t finished Winds of Winter, and is nearly certain now that it won’t be out before Game of Thrones season 6 premieres on HBO in April.
In a candid and lengthy post released on his blog late Friday, the Song of Ice and Fire writer admits that he missed two deadlines that he and his publisher had set to make sure that the book would be released by the time Thrones season 6 begins to air in the spring.
The deadline was important because the HBO drama has now caught up to where Martin left things off in A Dance with Dragons. If the show premiered before the book, it would obviously spoil what was happening in the sixth novel.
After missing a Halloween deadline and a Christmas deadline — the latter of which Martin felt confident about meeting — the author says it’s “almost certain” that Winds of Winter won’t be hitting book store shelves in the next three or four months.
And he’s really disappointed.
“You’re disappointed, and you’re not alone,” Martin writes. “My editors and publishers are disappointed, HBO is disappointed, my agents and foreign publishers and translators are disappointed… but no one could possibly be more disappointed than me. For months now I have wanted nothing so much as to be able to say, ‘I have completed and delivered THE WINDS OF WINTER’ on or before the last day of 2015.”
In light of missing the two deadlines, Martin says he won’t be setting a third. “I am not going to set another deadline for myself to trip over. The deadlines just stress me out.”
“It’s on me,” he admits. “I tried, and I am still trying. I worked on the book a couple of days ago, revising a Theon chapter and adding some new material, and I will be writing on it again tomorrow. But no, I can’t tell you when it will be done, or when it will be published.”
Martin seems sure that whenever he finishes Winds of Winter, his U.S. and U.K. publishers will be able to have it out within three months of turning in the manuscript.
As for if the show will be spoiling the sixth book, the answer is, “Maybe. Yes and no. Look, I never thought the series could possibly catch up with the books, but it has. The show moved faster than I anticipated and I moved more slowly. There were other factors too, but that was the main one. Given where we are, inevitably, there will be certain plot twists and reveals in season 6 of Game of Thrones that have not yet happened in the books. For years my readers have been ahead of the viewers. This year, for some things, the reverse will be true.”
Martin goes on to note that the show has already diverged greatly from the books, and the two will “continue to do so.”
Game of Thrones season 6 premieres in April. “They have no idea what’s going to happen,” Bran says in the trailer. Indeed.