It's an update series fans have come to expect; in fact, anything other than a delay announcement would be surprising at this point.
Martin acknowledged in a statement that this is not the next GOT book fans have been waiting, and waiting, for, although he promises he's scribbling away.
If you were hoping to see The Winds of Winter this year, now's the time to re-align your expectations.
For anyone who are like me and wanted to wait to read the rest of A Song of Ice and Fire before watching or catching up on HBO's Game of Thrones, just bite the bullet and watch it. After getting that news out of the way, the author officially announced Fire & Blood would be released on November 20 of this year, taking fans back into the world of Westeros 300 years ago.
Foreign publishers will be releasing the book on the same day as its US/UK publishers.
The author first mentioned "Fire and Blood" last summer as one of two histories of Westeros he was writing.
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There's plenty to speculate on as to why Martin would be holding off on finishing the Winds of Winter, but the most likely could be that he's waiting for the HBO series to conclude first (which it will do next year). It's a weird set of priorities we see here in which a history tome has been completed while a vital installment in the actual fiction series remains unfinished.
"No, winter is not coming... not in 2018, at least", Martin wrote on his blog. I love reading popular histories myself, and that's what I was aiming for here ...
An important message relayed in Martin's new post was to stress that Fire & Blood is not a novel. This is not a traditional narrative and was never meant to be... let's call this one "imaginary history" instead. Oh, and there are dragons too.
Meanwhile, whenever it does actually arrive, "The Winds of Winter" is a lock to become a vast bestseller as well as cultural phenomenon, if only because its TV sibling - "Game of Thrones" - wraps in 2019.
HBO's final season of Game of Thrones is coming sometime in 2019.