Winds of Winter release date: every update George R.R. Martin gave on progress of next Game of Thrones book

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A complete timeline of George Martin’s next GoT novel Winds of Winter from Dance of Dragons publication to today

George Martin might be the slowest author literature has ever known - he began his magnum opus A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series (later adapted by HBO into Game of Thrones) 24 years ago in August 1996.

Today, he still has two books in the series left to publish, and we still have very little idea as to when the next entry, Winds of Winter, will come out. The author has made several vague commitments to a release date in the 12 years since A Dance of Dragons was published, but none of them have been even close to accurate. 

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Now, the 74 year old author has given up on offering his best guess at when he will finally finish the 1,500 page plus epic, though he often takes to his Not a Blog blog to update fans on his progress.

In the time readers have been waiting for his next Song of Ice and Fire novel, an entire eight season HBO show based on the books has been released, a prequel novel and TV adaptation have been made, we’ve been through a global pandemic, and - on this side of the pond - five Prime Ministers, three general elections, and one Brexit.

Babies conceived when their parents took a break from reading A Dance of Dragons will now be entering high school, and yet, Winds of Winter still exists only in Martin’s head. This is a complete timeline of George Martin’s updates on the next instalment of A Song of Ice and Fire.

George Martin has been writing Winds of Winter since 2010George Martin has been writing Winds of Winter since 2010
George Martin has been writing Winds of Winter since 2010 | Getty Images

George Martin’s Winds of Winter updates timeline

27 June 2010 - Martin shares a blog post stating that he has begun writing Winds of Winter, with four chapters written.

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12 July 2011 - A Dance of Dragons, still the latest book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series to be released, was published. From this date the clock began ticking on the release of the next book in the series, Winds of Winter.

22 July 2011 - With fans already eager to know when the next book is coming out, Martin refuses to give an estimate on a release date. He claims that he has previously been over-optimistic (keep that point in mind as it may come up again later).

7 October 2012 - Martin confirms that he has written 400 pages of Winds of Winter, and estimated the finished novel will run to around 1,500 pages. He doesn’t give a release estimate but working out how long he spent on the first quarter of the book, some time in 2016 seems like a fair bet for him to have a first draft written up. Alas…

14 March 2014 - Martin tells Vanity Fair that he hopes to have finished Winds of Winter before the HBO series show catches up to the books. He says this a month before season four of the series is released - season five which begins to overtake the books will be released in April 2015, so a new release window of some time before then is hinted at.

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27 March 2015 - The author backpedals from his previous comments, saying that he has a lot of pages still to write. We now know that the series will now go beyond where Dance of Dragons ended.

3 April 2015 - Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Martin expresses his hope to finish the book before season six of the show, all of which will take place after Dance of Dragons, is released. He adds that he is cancelling panel appearances and interviews so that he has more time to focus on writing. With season six expected in April 2016, Martin is tentatively giving himself a year to get his novel published.

2 January 2016 - Martin confirms on his blog that he will not publish Winds of Winter before season six of Thrones airs. He said that HBO, as well as his editors, and several other parties, are disappointed in him. He did suggest that he was several months away, giving a glimmer of hope that the book could be finished before the end of the year.

9 January 2017 - No such luck, as Winds of Winter is still not on the shelves. Martin comments on his blog that he thinks it will be done this year, but in order to temper expectations, adds ‘I thought the same thing last year.’

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10 November 2018 - With the final series of the HBO show set to air within months, Martin tells The Guardian ‘I’ve been struggling with [Winds of Winter] for years’. It’s one of his least optimistic updates, and - frustratingly for some fans - comes as he is promoting the release of A Song of Ice and Fire prequel novel Fire & Blood. The 700-plus page novel hit bookstores on 20 November 2018, but Winds of Winter seemed further away than ever.

20 May 2019 - The day after the (hugely disappointing) Game of Thrones finale aired, Martin reassured fans that Winds of Winter was still on its way, but wouldn’t give an update as to when it would finally be finished.

1 November 2019 - Martin once again tells fans that Winds of Winter is on its way and is his priority. He says that he isn’t working on House of the Dragon (the HBO series based on Fire & Blood) scripts.

George Martin with the Game of Thrones cast ahead of the season 3 releaseGeorge Martin with the Game of Thrones cast ahead of the season 3 release
George Martin with the Game of Thrones cast ahead of the season 3 release | Getty Images

23 June 2020 - In the midst of the global pandemic, Martin told fans via his blog that he was writing on Winds of Winter every day. He said that he wished he could go faster, and that he felt he would never again match the pace of writing for the third book in the series, A Storm of Swords, for which he wrote 150 pages a month.

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8 November 2020 - Another Martin blog post sees the author tell fans he is continuing to write the book, and is inching closer. He finishes the blog by telling readers to ‘hang in there, friends’. 

2 February 2021 - Some good news, kind of. Martin says in his blog that 2020 was the best year he had for writing Winds of Winter since he began, no doubt prompting fans to pray for the pandemic to continue.

9 March 2022 - Martin is getting frustrated with his readers, saying on his blog that it is ‘wearisome’ to keep repeating that he is working on Winds of Winter.

29 April 2022 - No updates on when the book will be done, but Martin does tease that it will be a long read. He claims that it could be the longest instalment in the series yet. 

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8 July 2022 - Martin writes that Winds of Winter is diverging more from the HBO series the more he writes. This is no bad thing as the final season of Thrones was panned by fans and critics alike. Although it also suggests that he’s still not very close to finishing the novel, more than a decade after he began writing it.

21 August 2022 - House of the Dragon premieres on HBO - Martin does not update fans on his progress with Winds of Winter at this time.

28 December 2022- Returning to his blog after Christmas, Martin once more reassured fans that he was continuing work on Winds of Winter, and that House of the Dragon season two was also in development.

22 July 2023 - His latest update on the Winds of Winter came in a blog post about the SAG-AFTRA strikes. Towards the end of the post, he wrote: “And, yes, yes, of course, I’ve been working on WINDS OF WINTER.  Almost every day. Writing, rewriting, editing, writing some more.   Making steady progress. Not as fast as I would like…certainly not as fast as YOU would like… but progress nonetheless.”

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