'Game of Thrones' Author George R.R. Martin Might Actually Finish the Next Book By 2021

Don't hold him to it -- but he's been using quarantine to work on 'The Winds of Winter' and he's making progress.

george rr martin, winds of winter
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George R.R. Martin, the writer behind A Song of Ice and Fire and America's most celebrated Jets blogger, wants his readers to know that he's still writing. Over a year since the wildly popular TV adaptation of Game of Thrones reached its controversial conclusion, Martin recently posted to his refreshingly old-fashioned website to let fans know that he's typing away in an effort to finish The Winds of Winter, the long-awaited follow-up to 2011's A Dance with Dragons. He hopes he'll be done with it "next year."

While it's become common online for observers to speculate that the book, which has been rumored to be near completion at various points in the last few years, will never actually be finished or released, Martin strikes a cheery, defiant tone in his latest update. Locked away in a cabin in the mountains, he's staying healthy and "doing all I can to stay that way." The coronavirus can't stop him. 

"The enforced isolation has helped me write," he wrote, presumably taking a break from the hours spent in the world of Westeros. "I am spending long hours every day on THE WINDS OF WINTER, and making steady progress. I finished a new chapter yesterday, another one three days ago, another one the previous week. But no, this does not mean that the book will be finished tomorrow or published next week."

He goes on to warn fans to "not give any credence to any of the click-bait websites that like to parse every word of my posts as if they were papal encyclicals to divine hidden meanings." Who ever would do that? Sounds terrible! 

In between his updates on the book, he also provides a handful of reading recommendations, including an endorsement of Stephen King's new collection If It Bleeds and Emily St. John Mandel's new novel The Glass Hotel (two books we also whollyendorse), and a brief update on the HBO-produced Game of Thrones prequel The House of Dragons, which he'll be serving as a producer on. (Another HBO Game of Thrones spin-off starring Naomi Watts was cancelled earlier this year after shooting a pilot.) He sounds busy, but not too busy to write -- or blog. There's always time to blog. 

So, does this update mean the book will actually come out in 2021? At this point, it's perhaps best to mentally prepare yourself for another delay and make peace with the fact that Martin can do whatever he wants. Just last May, he wrote that he was looking to have the book done before he went to New Zealand in summer of 2020 and that if he didn't complete it "you have here my formal written permission to imprison me in a small cabin on White Island, overlooking that lake of sulfuric acid, until I’m done." With his trip canceled, it sounds like Martin has more or less followed through on that plan, locking himself in a cabin to get the work done. At the very least, expect him to blog through it. 

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Dan Jackson is a senior staff writer at Thrillist Entertainment. He's on Twitter @danielvjackson.