George R.R. Martin: New Novel Won't Release Before 'Game of Thrones' Season 6 Premiere

George R.R. Martin - H 2015
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George R.R. Martin - H 2015

Game of Thrones fans, you have your answer.

In an early-morning blog post Saturday, Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin answered a long-standing question that has had fans eagerly waiting for an answer: His new book, The Winds of Winter, will not be finished before the show returns for season six.

"You wanted an update. Here's the update. You won't like it," Martin penned on his blog, "Not a Blog," Saturday. "The Winds of Winter is not finished. Believe me, it gave me no pleasure to type those words. You're disappointed, and you're not alone. 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."

The author said that while hundreds of pages are written, it is not likely to be finished in the immediate future. He explained: "There's also a lot still left to write. I am months away still... and that's if the writing goes well. (Sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn't.) Chapters still to write, of course... but also rewriting. I always do a lot of rewriting, sometimes just polishing, sometimes pretty major restructures."

Martin gave fans an explanation for why the book is not done, penning that while it at first seemed "do-able" to have a completed manuscript in October, time got the best of him. "Unfortunately, the writing did not go as fast or as well as I would have liked. You can blame my travels or my blog posts or the distractions of other projects and the Cocteau and whatever, but maybe all that had an impact... you can blame my age, and maybe that had an impact too...but if truth be told, sometimes the writing goes well and sometimes it doesn't, and that was true for me even when I was in my 20s," he wrote. "And as spring turned to summer, I was having more bad days than good ones. Around about August, I had to face facts: I was not going to be done by Halloween. I cannot tell you how deeply that realization depressed me."

He admitted that he has "always had problems with deadlines. For whatever reason, I don't respond well to them," but is not making excuses. "There are no excuses. No one else is to blame. Not my editors and publishers, not HBO, not David & Dan. It's on me. 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 writing on it again tomorrow. But no, I can't tell you when it will be done, or when it will be published. Best guess, based on our previous conversations, is that Bantam (and presumably my British publisher as well) can have the hardcover out within three months of delivery, if their schedules permit. But when delivery will be, I can't say. I am not going to set another deadline for myself to trip over. The deadlines just stress me out." 

For questioning fans wondering if the show will spoil the books, Martin wrote: "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 six 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. How you want to handle that... hey, that's up to you."

His promise to fans: "I am going back to my stance from last March, before all this. It will be done when it's done. And it will be as good as I can possibly make it."

Saturday night, Martin posted another message on his blog thanking his fans for the outpouring of support and understanding. 

"There were forty pages of screened comments on the post by the time I logged on this morning. I haven't even been able to read half of them as yet," Martin wrote. "But I cannot tell you how much I appreciate all the kind words and good wishes."

Martin's current mood section was listed as "rejuvenated."

Read the full blog post here.