It seems increasingly ironic the most famous phrase for something never happening in the English language involves Hell freezing over. The Winds of Winter have been blowing long and cold in fans' hearts as they hunker down and wait nine years and counting for the sequel to 2011's A Dance With Dragons. Every sign, including a promise from Martin himself, indicated the next book would be with fans by summer this year. And then the author made a new statement...
Fans are still reeling from Martin's rather unfortunate excited announcement about a new book release.
There was some anger when it turned out to be a new version of Fire and Blood, the Targaryen prequel.
Not only had fans had their hopes raised and then dashed, many already blame the time spent on side projects and related books as the primary reason the main Song of Ice and Fire cycle is taking so long to complete.
Another, seemingly harmless comment from Martin then ignited mass fears that Winds of Winter would face a new series of delays.Game of Thrones George RR Martin Book 6 delays (Image: GETTY )Game of Thrones books and related releases (Image: PH )
Martin was speaking of the problems caused when the HBO television adaptation of his novels unexpectedly caught up with what he had written and then went past it.
It immediately raises the question of why continue reading the books if everyone already knows how they will end?
The author said: "People know a conclusion—but not the conclusion. The creators of the TV show had overtaken me, which I did not expect."
This provoked a major worry from fans.Game of Thrones fans are angry about the ending of the HBO show (Image: HBO)Game of Thrones author George RR Martin is still writing Book 6 Winds of Winter (Image: GETTY)
Numerous fans blogs and industry sites started to suggest Martin had made a coded comment that he was rethinking his original plans for the books.
The ending of the HBO show resulted in an unprecedented backlash with vocal protests about many of the plot conclusions, particularly concerning Daenerys, Jon Snow and Bran. His latest comments have sparks suspicions Martin might be changing the ending in the books to reflect fans' anger and rejection of major plot points.
Is this happening now and will it mean the Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring are being rewritten, leading to yet more release date delays?
Game of Thrones Jon ISN'T Dany's main rival: His Tagaryen BROTHER is
Star Wars 9 ending completely RIPPED OFF this Game of Thrones scene?
Game of Thrones Daenerys death proved everybody was WRONG about Drogon
One possible support for this worry is Martin's own comparison of his writing style to being a "gardener." He says he plants the plotline and character "seeds" and nourishes them but he is never quite sure how and where they will grow. In his own words, he said he has "no clear plan."
The Game of Thrones team revealed that Martin had told them to main, most important endings he had planned for the central plotlines. With so much rejection of what was shown on TV, which was presumably drawn from the author's own plans, could Martin have changed his mind?
Almost certainly not. He has repeatedly said the backlash against the TV show would have no bearing on what he writes and it seems extremely unlikely the author will change anything to please disgruntled fans.
So, can readers still expect the book to be released before one important date this summer?
Last year, Martin blogged: "I tell you this — if I don’t have THE WINDS OF WINTER in hand when I arrive in New Zealand for Worldcon, 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. Just so long as the acrid fumes do not screw up my old DOS word processor, I’ll be fine."
According to the event website: "The convention will be called CoNZealand. The dates will be July 29 to August 2. George R.R. Martin has been announced as the Master of Ceremonies."
Just like Spring itself, readers must have faith that the book will come...