Notoriously slow Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin plans to release a book in his A Song of Ice and Fire series this year. Unfortunately, it’s not the long-awaited sixth novel, The Winds of Winter. Instead, it’s the companion book Fire & Blood, which will be a written history of the franchise’s House Targaryen. Martin confirmed on his LiveJournal that the first volume is “planned” for a 2018 release, while “the second is hardly begun.”
Fans have been waiting for The Winds of Winter for many years, with no definitive answer on when it will actually arrive. The last official entry in the saga, A Dance with Dragons, was released all the way back in 2011. According to a follow-up LiveJournal comment by Martin, The Winds of Winter will arrive after the publication of the first volume of Fire & Blood, with the second volume to be released sometime thereafter.
The author also clarifies that Fire & Blood mostly “consists of the ‘sidebars’ I originally wrote for The World of Ice & Fire” — yet another companion novel, released in 2014. “Abridged versions of some of those pieces appeared as ‘The Princess and the Queen,’ ‘The Rogue Prince,’ and ‘The Sons of the Dragon,’” he writes, “but these are the full versions, together with some chapters that have never appeared anywhere.”
HBO’s adaptation of the series, Game of Thrones, is preparing to enter its final season. Given the revelations from the show so far, House Targaryen sounds like a worthwhile subject to dig into. But the wait for The Winds of Winter remains a frustrating one — especially since fans know that once it’s out, they’ll have to wait years before the final book, A Dream of Spring.