Sunday, 26 January 2014

Publisher update on THE WINDS OF WINTER

George R.R. Martin's UK publishers, HarperCollins Voyager, have offered (via a redacted Twitter exchange) a rare comment on the progress of The Winds of Winter, the sixth and planned-to-be penultimate volume of A Song of Ice and Fire. They have confirmed that the novel will definitely not be published in 2014, but that a 2015 release is possible.

A fan mock-up of the potential cover to the book.

To clarify, Martin himself has not offered an update on the book's progress since April 2013 when, on the carpet for a Game of Thrones TV event, he confirmed that about a quarter of the book was complete (very roughly 375 manuscript pages, assuming the book will be as long as A Dance with Dragons) with additional material in drafts and partial chapters also done. Subsequently, he offered upbeat assessments that he was writing fast to stay ahead of the TV show (which will begin introducing plot elements and even characters from Books 4 and 5 in the fourth season, due to air from April to June this year) but not specific page counts.

To focus on The Winds of Winter, Martin eliminated his outstanding side-projects in the first half of 2013, completing editing work on several anthologies (some of them now out) and concluding his contribution to The World of Ice and Fire companion volume. Several other works that were judged to be too time-consuming have either been cancelled completely (a short story for a Poul Anderson tribute anthology) or put on the back-burner until either the completion of The Winds of Winter (most notably the next Dunk 'n' Egg short story) or the completion of the whole series (a second and more in-depth companion volume, tentatively dubbed the 'GRRMarillion'). The result is that Martin has certainly had time to make inroads on The Winds of Winter.

Last month, a website randomly said that Martin had over a thousand manuscript pages completed for the book. Martin later confirmed that he had said no such thing, whilst not offering an update on his estimated page count for the book. It may be that we will get an update on the book during the inevitable press clamour for Season 4, but also possibly not: after providing updates on A Dance with Dragons that didn't seem to help the situation, Martin has indicated that he will be providing far less frequent updates on The Winds of Winter, if any at all.

However, it should be noted that George R.R. Martin has also said he wants to stay ahead of the HBO TV series if at all possible, and this will only remain a realistic goal if The Winds of Winter is released in 2015 with A Dream of Spring to follow, at the absolute latest, in 2018.

As always, believe nothing (not even this post!) until it comes from GRRM directly.

35 comments:

Albin said...

One day, one day...

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I'd say that we're pretty much out of luck where ADoS is concerned. Even if George finishes TWoW in late 2015 (doable), there's practically no chance to publish Dream by spring 2018, so it's out in time for Season 8. That would mean George has to write the book in give or take two years, and that's not counting press tours after TWoW that are bound to happen.

So yeah, I think we'll have to get ready for the fact that Martin's epic will have its ending "premiere" on TV.

Anonymous said...

So the detractors were correct all along... All of George's side projects were hindering his progress on ASoIaF, and they weren't used to "recharge his batteries". Now that he's cleared his workload progress should be swifter.

Anonymous said...

Hbo can wait.... Let the man write at his own pace!

Jens said...

If I understand correctly, the way Martin works (or has worked in the past years) is to go well beyond the current volume with his writing in order to be able to arrange the chapters in a way he deems best. (Meaning that a part of TWoW were already written when ADwD was completed.)
This issue obviously will not arise for the final volume and maybe this will shorten the time which is required for ADoS to be completed.

On the other hand, I could imagine that the final volume needs more time since everything needs to be wrapped up there and then and from what I've heard from Martin he certainly wouldn't want to work sloppily on this last book.
So this may compensate the previous effect.

Or maybe I'm completely wrong with these musings. What do I know? :-p

Alex Walsh said...

Personally I wouldn't even believe it if I had GRRM personal word- the only thing that will count for me is a hard physical copy of the book in my hand :)

Anonymous said...

Actually, the show is confirmed to have 7 seasons and possibly a TV movie as the end! So, if we assume Season 4 covers the second part of aSoS and some elements from books 4 and 5, then this means Season 5 will cover both books 4 and 5 simultaneously while also including some parts of tWoW. Then Season 6 will cover the remaining tWow material. Season 7 will be for aDoS! No way aDoS will be done by the time Season 7 comes out!

RobM said...

How can a short story, for an anthology intended as a tribute to a legendary author, possibly be too time-consuming?? George had well over two years in which to do it - and failed miserably. He also failed in producing a Dunk & Egg novella in the same time-frame. I still can't believe that there are people who seriously believe that TWoW will be finished this year, let alone next. Didn't he also recently say, in an answer on the NAB that he's still estimating the size of the book - after nearly three years writing it, coupled with the eleven year disaster for the previous two, you would've thought that George would realize he needs to plot it out. But no, because George is a gardener, and can only write on his favourite chair, with snacks and beverages within easy reach!

Anonymous said...

I'd say a delay of the TV series would be nearly unavoidable if the books aren't finished in time. I don't think they could ignore that priority if necessary. Their schedule shouldn't determine whether there's a finished ending story or not. I think the popularity of the series even demands it rather than completely individualising the show in the last season.

Adam Whitehead said...

"If I understand correctly, the way Martin works (or has worked in the past years) is to go well beyond the current volume with his writing in order to be able to arrange the chapters in a way he deems best"

Sort of. He always writes more than can fit in the book, and then uses that to come up with an organic end-point to the novel, sometimes successfully and sometimes not. The only exception was ASoS, where he needed to round everything off for the five-year gap which never happened.

"Actually, the show is confirmed to have 7 seasons and possibly a TV movie as the end!"

Nope. Producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss have said they are aiming for an 80-episode story, so 8 seasons and probably no movie. Another producer, Frank Doelger, has said he thinks they'll get to seven seasons easily enough. To get an eighth will require some renegotiations, as a lot of the actor's contracts run out in Season 7 and rehiring them will likely be expensive

"How can a short story, for an anthology intended as a tribute to a legendary author, possibly be too time-consuming?? George had well over two years in which to do it - and failed miserably. He also failed in producing a Dunk & Egg novella in the same time-frame."

GRRM appears to write the novellas on the side, as it were, when he feels that his writing on the main book has dried up and he needs to recharge. So the novellas are written a few hundred or couple of thousand words at a time over some exceptionally long periods of time (THE MYSTERY KNIGHT percolated over 6 or 7 years, IIRC, and THE SHE-WOLVEs for almost 5 years so far). From what I can tell, THE SHE-WOLVES had gotten to the stage where a major and thorough rewrite was required and GRRM was unwilling to spend the time - even if it was just weeks - away from TWoW to do it.

The tribute story even moreso, as moving away from Westeros and writing in a totally different setting requires a quite radical shift of gears. GRRM doesn't like doing that as it can take a while to get in or out of that mindset. Hence why the Anderson story was only the third non-ASoIaF-related bit of writing he's done since starting the series in 1991.

Ari Abelman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adam Whitehead said...

It's been redacted. Screenshots can be found on various forums if you really want to go looking for them.

Matthias Schipper said...

"...and this will only remain a realistic goal if The Winds of Winter is released in 2015 with A Dream of Spring to follow, at the absolute latest, in 2018."

I doubt that it remains a realistic goal. 2015 is simply too late to finish ADOS in time. Writing for season 8 would start in autumn 2016. Neither the book as a whole nor a substantial part of it will be finished by then.

Insurrbution said...

Well, he finished Dance in April and it came out in July in 2011 so 2014 is not impossible....though I don't know if the publishers were expecting it that year. You never know he may surprise us yet.

Funksoul123 said...

Ah George...
HBO will be sweating him to provide material for the show or they will.
Going on how long it has taken him in the past, I don't think he could finish his series before HBO needs it even if he wanted to at this stage.
Regardless of his side projects/calendars/blog/football/cinema etc etc, the no. 1 problem is that, he doesn't write when he travels and he travels TOO MUCH.

Ghost said...

I rather wait a long time for a good finish to the series than have a rush job. If you look at his career, Martin usually give up on his series halfway and then go back to them later on. Song is his longest-running series by a wide wide margin. I think everyone need to cool it and ignore the TV series. Let the man write the story as and when he want to.

Anonymous said...

Has GRRM come up with a grand reason yet why this one is taking this long? For Feast he had the whole 5 year jump bit that he abandoned. For Dance he had the Meereneese Knot.

Anonymous said...

Resign yourselves to the inevitable: the show will end the saga before Martin does in his books. It's a shame but he danced with the devil, took HBO's money and we can't complain if they want to exploit their property who are we to complain?

Joffrey Nicolas said...

I think he is working on both books at the same time, there is hope

Joffrey Nicolas said...

I feel some personal rage here haha, although i think i agree

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure book 7 will be easier for him to write. He does already know how the story ends. ASoIaF wasn't supposed to be as many books as it is. He had the beginning and the the end and fleshed the story out over more novels than originally intended. I wouldn't be surprised if has a rough draft of it already and just needs to put it in the perfect order and fluff it up with dialog, hidden meanings, and interactions.

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that prominent series like the Sopranos and Breaking Bad have had major shifts in seasons, long breaks, etc.

HBO could easily take a year off if necessary to allow Martin the time to catch up.

If that happens, one would hope that Martin would finally stop attending every Con on the planet and stay away from his movie theater for a few days once in a while, and FOCUS.

It's clear that he doesn't particularly enjoy long periods in the trenches, unraveling plot points and matching up timelines.

He should hire a couple superfans to hang out in Santa Fe and bring them in from time to time for consistency of minutae. :-)

All just my opinion. WANT WOW NOW.

Anonymous said...

He's running out of content for HBO, he needs to get this book out!

Anonymous said...

Question - who said there would only be 7 seasons and then a TV movie. I read this stuff daily and never found anything about that. besides it doesn't make sense if you think about. it has taken 4 seasons to do the first 3 books. You think they can do 4 books in 3 seasons and a two hour tv movie. No! Not possible. The closest thing I have read is if the series doesn't get cancelled because book 4 and 5 are the worst of the 5. Then it will take a minimum 3 seasons just to do book 4 and 5. That puts us at 7 seasons. You think they can wrap up the series in a tv movie over two books, NO. Fans might as well complain and stop watching now. So let's be realistic. Book 4 and 5 will take roughly 2.5 seasons. That means part of book 6 will be in season 7 and season 8. Book 6 and book 7 are suppose to be big books, lets call 3 seasons for those two books. realistically this series will be 10 years long. Maybe cut to 9 years. People are worried about A Dream Of Spring being done in time for the show. Here is how you go around it. George RR MArtin and the producers inform the actors about what is going to happen in the books and they tape the last season. Now, HBO should hold off on releasing the final season for a year. So if season 9 is in 2019 then the 10th and final season is in 2021. That would give Martin plenty of time to finish and publish his last book. Now you are asking, what happens during 2020? Well, simple that is when you have a TV movie regarding Roberts Rebellion or maybe a mini series. The reason I say this is because that story in the history of Westeros is awesome and would make a great movie. I think the reader was originally led to believe that Robert Baratheon's rebellion was for good. As the books move on and discussion occurs we are slowly believing that the Rebellion was a mistake, not saying Robert is bad, he was just confused and that led to this huge downfall 17 years later. I think a Dream Of Spring will shed alot of light about the unknowns regarding Roberts Rebellion. Having this flashback will help the reader and the viewer to have a better understanding of how the past has effected the future. Think about it, the movie starts with the main characters, introduces everyone and then gets to the tourney at harenhall. Rheagar crowning Lyanna and then later Rhaegar "kidnapping" Lyanna. Brandon and Rickard being killed (side note we could watch Brandon beat the crap out of Petyr Baelish in his duel). Get to watch Robert kill Rhaegar. See the cruelty of the Mad King, Jamie killing the Mad King. The switch of baby aegon, Stannis starving in Storms End, the Onion Knight getting his fingers chopped off, Stannis being slighted and not getting Storms End, the exile of Viserys and birth of Daenyrs. Lastly, Howland and Ned winning at Tower of Joy, finding out the secret and Ned biting his tongue when Robert is crowned.

What do you think? If the winds of winter doesn't come out until late 2015 that means a dream of spring won't come out before 2020. if Martin can have ADOS out by 2020 Which is proper timing then the book will be published and sold before final season and us, the viewers, get the pleasure of seeing all the little things as to why this civil war fall of westeros occurred in Roberts Rebellion. Call the series "Usurper"

Adam Whitehead said...

To be frank. I'm expecting Books 4 and 5 to take 1.5 seasons at the most, and the '.5' of that will be in Season 4 (it certainly sounds like a fair amount of material has been filmed from those books for this year). The rest will be in Season 5, and the two big battles from the start of Book 6 will be split between the final episodes of Season 5 and the opening of Season 6.

I cannot see any way they can go longer than that. If they do, they risk rushing the events that have to happen in the final 2/3 seasons to wrap up the entire story and series.

Adam Whitehead said...

And no, the show will not go 9 or more seasons. The producers have specifically ruled that out, saying they don't want to strangle the golden goose (and they've been working on this project for 8 years already and in another 3-4 years will be wanting to move onto other projects). Realistically, the show will almost certainly get to 7 seasons. 8 is possible, but will require some fance renegotiations for the actors whose contracts will need renewing. 9 I can't see as being viable at all.

William Eefting said...

If HBO does catch up before Martin is done I reckon a great idea would be to do a spin off season of Roberts Rebellion! Bring back Sean Bean and Mark Addy for lead roles, and all the rest!

Balons Greyjoys Rebellion would also be a interesting spin off!

Just a thought!

Adam Whitehead said...

HBO doesn't have the rights to Robert's Rebellion, and GRRM has said he is not minded to sell them or write them himself. As far as he's concerned, the full story of the rebellion will be told before the main ASoIaF series finishes, and all a prequel novel or TV movie would do is fill in a few, unimportant blanks.

The producers have also said that there will be no hiatuses and no delays for the main series. If there were, they'd lose half the cast to other projects and never get them back.

The show ends with the seventh or eighth season in 2017 or 2018, and that's pretty much it. No delays, no hiatuses and no postponements.

Nailya Musayeva said...

It might be possible, because Martin said that he was actually writing "The Winds of Winter" and "A Dream of Spring" simultaneously. I just hope to God that George Martin stays in good health............:))

Derek W said...

Who is to say Benioff/Weiss aren't in someway helping to "ghost write" the final 2 books? Would that be totally unreasonable, considering GRRM has helped to condense Game Of Thrones into 10 episode seasons, which are being stretched to keep par with the length of the books? If that were the case, and I can only speculate since the show is 'catching up', would you (the reader) somehow feel cheated by GRRM? Would it suffice as a "grand bargain" of sorts? Just a theory, and no I have clue whether they've thought about doing this or currently are... For me, it would make sense for them to consider the option.

Anonymous said...

Knowing GRRM for thirty years now, I have no reason to believe he will ever finish this series. HBO will determine the ending. The big side project now is the theater. Would wager next books appears late in 2015 with a "final" book knocked out by another writer after the conclusion of 7 HBO seasons

Anonymous said...

Using the logic that GRRM should be granted as much time as he needs to finish is faulty. He produced the three best books in the series in two-year intervals. When he was given five or six years per book, he produced much weaker literature. I say push him to finish quickly and not be distracted by shiny objects and side projects.

Alexandros said...

First of all it is a mistake to take for granted that there will only be two more books (TWoW and ADoS). GRRM initially expected to cover the whole story in 3 books.

Secondly the remaining book material can be stretched to cover 3 tv seasons. Let me explain why: We have season 4 covering the last part of book 3 and some small part of the - huge - books 4 & 5. So it is possible for the rest of books 4 & 5 to cover 2 TV seasons. This may not seem very likely, but do not forget that the entire season 3 was based on - roughly - 2/3 of one book. So provided that seasons 5 and 6 go a bit slow (similar to season 3), we could have the TV show running up to the summer of 2016.

GRRM can provide unpublished material to the producers of the show during 2016 for season 7. TWoW could then cover almost 2 seasons, so there would be material for the show for 2017 and 2018. So, assuming that I am right, GRRM would HAVE to publish ADoS sometime in early 2019 (at the latest), which would give him 4 full years (2015-2019) to do so.

What do you think? :-)

Adam Whitehead said...

The producers have indicated 7-8 seasons, certainly no more. So I cannot see how AFFC/ADWD can be stretched over any more than 1 full season (Season 5) and part of another (Season 4). Any more than that and we start losing time that will be needed for TWoW and ADoS.

It's true that there might be a Book 8 but at that point this is almost irrelevant: the producers will be working from GRRM's outline of the material lasting from 'now' (i.e. the end of ADWD) to the end of the series. The producers have got either 3 or 4 seasons after this one to cover the remaining 2 or 3 books (or more!) and have to split the storyline up between them as best they can.

Lena Headey's interview today was interesting, as she indicated that Cersei's AFFC/ADWD storyline will definitely be concluded before the end of Season 5, which tracks with this.

Alexandros said...

I doubt it will happen, but it would be a solution for GRRM to break the 2 huge remaining books (1500 pages each) to 3 books (1000 pages each). This would at least delay the tv series catching up to the books.

GRRM started working on ASoIaF in 1991 and the 5th book was released in 2011. This on average is exactly 4 years per book. So 2015 is realistic for getting TWoW. And considering that GRRM always has some chapters left over for the next book, ADoS may come out sooner than 2019 (there will be no next book).