Every update George R.R. Martin has given about his long-delayed next novel, 'The Winds of Winter'

  • George R.R. Martin has been working on "The Winds of Winter" for over a decade.

  • The book is the highly anticipated sixth installment in his "A Song of Ice and Fire" series.

  • Martin initially thought he'd finish the book before HBO's "Game of Thrones" caught up.

Trust him — George R.R. Martin is still working on "The Winds of Winter."

The highly anticipated sixth book in Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series has now been in the works for over a decade. In that time, HBO's "Game of Thrones" series, an adaptation of Martin's books, has come to a close, outpacing the narrative of the books to land on an original ending. HBO also launched a prequel series, "House of the Dragon" — and there are myriad other "Game of Thrones" spinoffs in the works.

Martin's main book series, however, remains unfinished. Over the past decade-plus, the author has repeatedly addressed his progress on "The Winds of Winter," chafing against fan expectations and doing his best to not make promises on the novel's publication that he may not be able to keep.

Here are all of the major updates that Martin has given on "The Winds of Winter" over the years.

2010: Martin says in a blog post that he already had some finished chapters of 'The Winds of Winter'

Martin gave updates on both "A Dance with Dragons," the fifth installment which came out in July 2011, and the next novel in the series, saying that he had moved some chapters from the fifth book into the sixth.

"It's good news for DANCE, since I'm now two chapters (the ones I hadn't finished) closer to completion," he wrote. "And hey, it's even good news for WINDS OF WINTER, since I now have four chapters done for that one (an Arya, a Sansa, and two Ariannes)."

2011: Martin doesn't give a firm answer for when fans could expect the novel

george r.r. martin in 2011 at the time 100 gala. he's weraring a black suit, with his hair worn medium length and a frizzy beard
george r.r. martin in 2011 at the time 100 gala. he's weraring a black suit, with his hair worn medium length and a frizzy beard

George R.R. Martin at the 2011 Time 100 Gala in New York City.Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic

In a 2011 Entertainment Weekly interview, Martin declined to set out a timeline for when he'd finish the book.

"I'm not going to say," he told the publication. "I've gotten in constant trouble for that. There's an element of fans who don't seem to realize I'm making estimates. I've repeatedly been guilty of an excess of optimism."

2012: Martin says he thinks 'The Winds of Winter' will come out in 2014

Speaking with the blog Adria's News in 2012, Martin said that he had written 400 pages of "The Winds of Winter," only 200 of which had been revised. At the time, he predicted that "The Winds of Winter" would turn out about as long as "A Dance with Dragons," which was 1,510 manuscript pages.

"The sixth volume won't be released in 2012 or in 2013," Martin said at the time. "I really look forward to publishing it in 2014, but I am really bad for predictions, you may know it. And then, there is another fact: when I finish this saga I will be judged for the quality of the books, not for the speed of my writing."

2014: Martin hopes to finish 'The Winds of Winter' before the HBO show catches up with him

george r.r. martin sitting on a comic con panel, wearing a black hat and with a microphone in front of him
george r.r. martin sitting on a comic con panel, wearing a black hat and with a microphone in front of him

George R.R. Martin at the Sony Pictures presentation during San Diego Comic-Con in 2014.Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

Back in 2014, long before HBO's "Game of Thrones" was close to wrapping, Martin spoke about "The Winds of Winter" in an interview with Vanity Fair. The author said that he hoped the HBO series would combine the narratives of the fourth and fifth books in the series, "A Feast for Crows" and "A Dance with Dragons," into at least several seasons of the show.

"It's my hope that they'll do it that way and then, long before they catch up with me, I'll have published 'The Winds of Winter,' which'll give me another couple years," Martin said at the time. "It might be tight on the last book, 'A Dream of Spring,' as they juggernaut forward."

March 2015: Martin tells Access that he still has far to go on the novel

Martin told Access in March 2015 that he still wasn't done with "The Winds of Winter," amid reports that the HBO series would eventually catch up to his progress on the novels.

"I still have a lot of pages to write, but I also have a lot of pages that are already written," Martin said. "So, I don't know. I try not to worry about things like this. I just, you know, go in every day and write the scene that I'm trying to write that day and try to make it as good as I can."

April 2015: Martin says he's doing whatever he can to clear his slate and work on the book

Martin spoke with Entertainment Weekly in April 2015, saying it had always been "important" to him to finish the book before season six of "Game of Thrones" aired on HBO.

"I wish it was out now," he told EW. "Maybe I'm being overly optimistic about how quickly I can finish. But I canceled two convention appearances, I'm turning down a lot more interviews — anything I can do to clear my decks and get this done."

Martin said that his mood was constantly shifting on "Winds of Winter," saying that he oscillated between thinking it was "the greatest thing I've ever done" and that "it's all garbage and I should throw it all in the fire and start again."

2016: Martin writes in a blog post that the novel isn't finished

george r.r. martin in a pinstripe suit, holding an emmy award and smiling
george r.r. martin in a pinstripe suit, holding an emmy award and smiling

George R.R. Martin at the 68th Emmy Awards in September 2016.Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Martin said in the January 2016 post that it gave him "no pleasure" to write that the book still wasn't done.

"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," he wrote.

At the time, Martin wrote that he had written "hundreds of pages," but that he was still "months away." At the time, HBO's "Game of Thrones" was still airing. While Martin had aspirations that the book would be published before the show's sixth season, he was unable to make that deadline.

"It will be done when it's done," Martin wrote. "And it will be as good as I can possibly make it."

2017: Martin tells a fan he hopes the book could be released by the end of the year

After a year with no updates, fans were getting antsy and irate, Kim Renfro reported for Insider in January 2017.

Later that month, Martin replied to a fan's comment on one of his blog posts asking for an update on "The Winds of Winter."

"Not done yet, but I've made progress," he wrote. "But not as much as I hoped a year ago, when I thought to be done by now. I think it will be out this year. (But hey, I thought the same thing last year)."

2018: Martin tells The Guardian that he has been 'struggling' with the book

By 2018, "The Winds of Winter" still hadn't been released. Martin spoke about his process with The Guardian at the time.

"I've been struggling with it for a few years," he said. "'The Winds of Winter' is not so much a novel as a dozen novels, each with a different protagonist, each having a different cast of supporting players and antagonists and allies and lovers around them, and all of these weaving together in an extremely complex fashion. So it's very, very challenging."

March 2019: Martin says he doesn't know how HBO's 'Game of Thrones' will end because he's working on his novel

george r.r. martin on a red carpet, wearing a grey suit and hat and smiling slightly
george r.r. martin on a red carpet, wearing a grey suit and hat and smiling slightly

George R.R. Martin at the LA special screening of "Tolkien" in May 2019.Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

Martin told Entertainment Weekly that he was still in the dark on how HBO's "Game of Thrones" would end (spoiler: controversially).

"I haven't read the [final-season] scripts and haven't been able to visit the set because I've been working on 'Winds,'" Martin said. "I know some of the things. But there's a lot of minor-character [arcs] they'll be coming up with on their own. And, of course, they passed me several years ago. There may be important discrepancies."

May 2019: Martin says he's working on multiple projects while also writing 'The Winds of Winter'

In a post-"Game of Thrones" finale blog post, Martin gave an update on some of his other projects. They included several shows in development, feature projects, and even some video game consultation.

"And I'm writing. Winter is coming, I told you, long ago... and so it is," Martin wrote. "THE WINDS OF WINTER is very late, I know, I know, but it will be done. I won't say when, I've tried that before, only to burn you all and jinx myself... but I will finish it, and then will come A DREAM OF SPRING."

November 2019: Martin says he's prioritizing 'The Winds of Winter' over 'House of the Dragon' scripts

In a late 2019 blog post, Martin said that he may have the chance to write for "House of the Dragon," the "Game of Thrones" prequel series that premiered in 2022, Insider reported.

"I am not taking on any scripts until I have finished and delivered ['The Winds of Winter']," Martin said. "Winter is still coming, and WINDS remains my priority, as much as I'd love to write an episode of ["House of the Dragon"]."

January 2020: Martin says he hadn't thought the TV show would pass his progress on the books

george r.r. martin at the season 8 game of thrones premiere, wearing a grey suit and cap and standing on the red carpet
george r.r. martin at the season 8 game of thrones premiere, wearing a grey suit and cap and standing on the red carpet

George R.R. Martin at the season 8 "Game of Thrones" premiere in April 2019.Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Martin spoke about the ending of "Game of Thrones" in 2020 with Welt, a German news site.

"People know one ending — not the ending," Martin said, Insider reported. "The makers of the TV series overtook me, which I didn't expect. Nevertheless, I'm still doing what I have been doing for years: I'm still trying to finish the next book 'Winds of Winter' first, and then the follow-up novel 'A Dream Of Spring.' That's what I'm focusing on. After that, we'll see what happens."

June 2020: Martin writes that he's still plugging away at the novel during the pandemic

The author wrote in a June 2020 blog post that being isolated during the pandemic may have actually helped his writing process.

"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.

"But no, this does not mean that the book will be finished tomorrow or published next week," he continued. "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."

November 2020: Martin says he's 'picking up steam again' on the book

Martin gave a brief update on "The Winds of Winter" in a November 2020 blog post.

"I was really on a roll back in June and July," he wrote. "Progress has continued since then, but more slowly... I suffered a gut punch in early August that really had me down for a time, and another, for different reasons, in early September. But I slogged on, and of late I am picking up steam again."

February 2021: Martin says he needs to 'keep rolling'

Martin said in early 2021 that he had continued to make progress on the novel, giving an update on the book in a blog post.

"I wrote hundreds and hundreds of pages of THE WINDS OF WINTER in 2020," he wrote. "The best year I've had on WOW since I began it. Why? I don't know. Maybe the isolation. Or maybe I just got on a roll. Sometimes I do get on a roll.

"I need to keep rolling, though," he continued. "I still have hundreds of more pages to write to bring the novel to a satisfactory conclusion."

Martin said that he still wouldn't give any updates on when he may finish the book, but that he was "hopeful."

March 2021: Martin once again confirms 'Winds' is on his docket

In a March 11, 2021 blog post, Martin again mentioned the fact that he needed to finish "The Winds of Winter."

"You all know what is on my plate in prose," he wrote. "I need to finish WINDS, and then maybe write another Dunk & Egg novella, and then get right into A DREAM OF SPRING, and in between edit some more Wild Cards books."

March 2022: Martin says it's 'wearisome' to constantly clarify that he's working on 'Winds of Winter' 

george r.r. martin onstage at san diego comic con, wearing green suspenders and a hat with a turtle brooch on it
george r.r. martin onstage at san diego comic con, wearing green suspenders and a hat with a turtle brooch on it

George R.R. Martin at the "House of the Dragon" panel during San Diego Comic-Con in 2022.Kevin Winter/Getty Images

In a March 2022 blog post, Martin said that he had been working on an "enormous number of projects." He hadn't forgotten the most anticipated of them, though. 

"Yes, of course I am still working on THE WINDS OF WINTER," Martin wrote. "I have stated that a hundred times in a hundred venues, having to restate it endlessly is just wearisome. I made a lot of progress on WINDS in 2020, and less in 2021... but 'less' is not 'none.'"

April 2022: Martin says the novel is going to be long

Martin gave a brief update on the length of "The Winds of Winter" in an April 2022 post. 

"The way it is going, it could be bigger than A STORM OF SWORDS or A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, the longest books in the series to date," he wrote. "I do usually cut and trim once I finish, but I need to finish first."

May 2022: Martin says people are being 'vicious' over how late the book is

Martin said on "Coupledom," a podcast by Idris Elba and his wife Sabrina, that it was frustrating to have people constantly asking for updates, per SYFY.

"I get [that] 'Winds of Winter,' the sixth book is late," he said.

"I love the fans, although I do think Twitter and the internet and social media has brought out a viciousness I never saw in the old days," he said, according to the publication. "The love and hate are very close, particularly with comic books or any established franchises."

July 2022: Martin says he finds the book diverging more from the HBO show as he writes

"I have been at work in my winter garden," Martin wrote. "Things are growing… and changing, as does happen with us gardeners."

The author said that as he writes, he finds himself moving "further and further away from the television series." Though some events from the show will occur in his forthcoming novel, much will be "quite different," he wrote.

December 2022Martin says he has about 400 or 500 pages left of the book

Martin appeared on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" in early December 2022, giving an update on the book.

Martin said that over all his years working on the book, he had around "1100, 1200, something like that" pages.

"I need another, another 400, 500," he said.

December 2022: Martin mentions 'Winds of Winter' in an end of year post

Martin said in the December 2022 blog post that he had taken a few days off for the holidays, but was back to work.

"Yes, WINDS OF WINTER, yes, yes," he wrote. "And HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, season two."

george r.r. martin in a purple shirt, black vest, and gallon hat, smiling widely and with both thumbs up
George R.R. Martin attends the Atlanta Film Festival in April 2023.Paras Griffin/Getty Images

July 2023: Martin says he's working 'almost every day' on the novel

In a blog post updating fans on the television projects he's involved in, given the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, Martin also spoke about his work on "The Winds of Winter."

"And yes, yes, of course, I've been working on WINDS OF WINTER," Martin said. "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," he continued. "It keeps me out of trouble."

November 2023: Martin says he's still 'struggling' with the novel

In an interview on the podcast "Bangcast" in November, Martin confirmed that he was still working on "Winds of Winter."

"I'm 12 years late on this damn novel, and I'm struggling with it," he said. "I have like 1,100 pages written but I still have hundreds more pages to go. It's a big mother of a book for whatever reason. Maybe I should've started writing smaller books when I began this, but it's tough."

Martin previously said in December 2022 that he had roughly the same amount of pages.

Read the original article on Insider