Game of Thrones fans are used to George R. R. Martin killing their favorite characters. Now he’s killing their hopes, as well.
“The Winds of Winter is not finished,” the author wrote on his blog Saturday, confirming reports of his inability to deliver the next book in the Song of Ice and Fire series in time for readers to have it in hand when the HBO series returns in April.
“Believe me, it gave me no pleasure to type those words. You’re disappointed, and you’re not alone,” Martin wrote, adding that HBO is among those displeased with his delay.
Citing various causes — including a heavy travel schedule, advanced age and “bad days” of writing — he explained that the ultimate deadline for him to deliver a new manuscript to his publishers was the end of 2015; that way, the new novel could be released to the public by March.
“Here it is, the first of January. The book is not done, not delivered. No words can change that,” Martin wrote. “I tried, I promise you. I failed.”
He adds: “No one else is to blame. Not my editors and publishers, not HBO, not [Game of Thrones‘ showrunners] David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss]. It’s on me.”
Martin said he has a large amount of the book written (recent work involves “revising a Theon chapter”) and that, given the pace of the HBO series, on-screen events may spoil the novels.
“Given where we are, inevitably, there will be certain plot twists and reveals in Season 6 of Game of Thrones that have not yet happened in the books,” he wrote. “For years, my readers have been ahead of the viewers. This year, for some things, the reverse will be true.”
And as far as when we can now expect The Winds of Winter?
“I am going back to my stance from last March, before all this,” the author wrote. “It will be done when it’s done. And it will be as good as I can possibly make it.”