George R. R. Martin, when not feeding coal into the engine of a locomotive and chuckling “Let’s see what this baby can do”, writes books. Among said books are the A Song of Ice and Fire books, on which the reasonably popular television show Game of Thrones is based.
Fans have been waiting for the next ASOIAF installment, The Winds of Winter, for a long old time now. The last book, A Dance With Dragons, came out back in 2011, and details of The Winds of Winter have been teased since before he even finished that one.
Expected deadlines have come and gone, with Martin frequently doing that thing we’re all guilty of where you know something’s nowhere near finished but kid yourself that being really optimistic about when it’ll be done will somehow get it done faster. Pretty much every year since 2014 there’s been a bit of, “Oh, this year, for deffo”, and none of it’s happened. The TV show’s timeline has overtaken the books’ one and it still seems like it’s going to be a while. The last update from Martin on TWOW came last July, stating it was still a few months away.
(There are weird theories that he hasn’t written a single word, as well as a lot of speculation about what should happen if he dies. At 69 (nice) he’s not a young man, but he’s hardly at death’s door, and a lot of people’s insistence that he’s about to snuff it is based on him being, well, a little bit tubby. That’s not very nice. Some fans also seem to begrudge Martin his success - he’s got more things on his plate due to the massiveness of the TV show - in a way that seems like it could be termed entitled. Fellow literary giant Neil Gaiman wrote a great response to the demands of fans, featuring the memorable message “George R.R. Martin is not your bitch“.)
But there’s news! And a book!
Just… not that book.
Responding to questions in the comments section of a post he put on his LiveJournal (George R. R. Martin is the only person that still uses LiveJournal), he revealed that 2018 will see the publication of volume one of Fire and Blood, a companion piece to the main ASOIAF storyline. He described the book back in July:
“We have so much material that it’s been decided to publish the book in two volumes. The first of those will cover the history of Westeros from Aegon’s Conquest up to and through the regency of the boy king Aegon III (the Dragonbane). That one is largely written, and will include (for the first time) a complete detailed history of the Targaryen civil war, the Dance of the Dragons.”
A lot of what will be in the books is material written for, but cut from, The World of Ice and Fire, a visual companion to the show that Martin accidentally wrote several hundred thousand too many words for. We’ve all made that mistake, right?
He’s an interesting guy, George R. R. Martin. He owns a cinema, loves turtles, used to make a living from chess and writes all his books on a DOS machine running WordStar, software that dates from the 1980s.
Fire and Blood volume one will be released before The Winds of Winter, and volume two after it. That possibly means TWOW definitely isn’t happening this year. BUT WHO KNOWS? NOBODY KNOWS. GEORGE R. R. MARTIN IS A LAW UNTO HIMSELF.