The COVID-19 pandemic may actually force author George R.R. Martin to finish the long-awaited A Song of Ice and Fire novel The Winds of Winter.
As EW noted, the writer took to his blog Tuesday to update readers on his health, relative cabin fever, and the momentum he’s obtained in writing the sixth volume of the Ice and Fire series. “If nothing else, the enforced isolation has helped me write. I am spending long hours every day on The Winds of Winter, and making steady progress,” he wrote. “I finished a new chapter yesterday, another one three days ago, another one the previous week.”
The novel will pick up from the arrival of winter at the end of A Dance of Dragons and feature The Battle of Meereen, an event which should end Daenerys Targaryen’s time in Essos and unite characters like Tyrion Lannister and Victarion Greyjoy under her flag. Presumably, it will also begin her dissent into madness as depicted in the concluding hours of Game of Thrones. The battle was intended to be the final moments of Dragons, but as with much else in the Ice and Fire cycle, it grew in the telling and moved to the next book.
The uptick in work is encouraging, but he immediately cautioned “this does not mean that the book will be finished tomorrow or published next week. It’s going to be a huge book, and I still have a long way to go. Please do 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.”
“I have been visiting with Cersei, Asha, Tyrion, Ser Barristan, and Areo Hotah,” he added. “I will be dropping back into Braavos next week. I have bad days, which get me down, and good days, which lift me up, but all in all I am pleased with the way things are doing.”
Of course, other commitments — like his duties as host of the Hugo Awards — do pull him away from Westeros. These include a handful of television projects, even as the pandemic has shut production on most things. For one thing, the Game of Thrones prequel series, The House House of the Dragon is “still flying along wonderfully, thanks to Ryan Condal and his writers, and the tireless Ti Mikkel.” As a producer, he is still attached to projects like a Who Fears Death television show and a “relaunch” of the often-stalled Wild Cards adaptation. Feature films based on his short stories “Sandkings,” “The Ice Dragon” and “The Lost Lands,” are also in the works, and “there are the secret shorts we’re doing that… well, no, if I spilled that, it wouldn’t be secret.”
While some believe this means The Winds of Winter is poised for a 2021 release, we’ll embrace Martin’s caution. He has a lot of ground to cover. And, in the distance, is the series final novel, A Dream of Spring. So, we’ll be happy to read the book when it finally appears, but expect it no sooner than then.