There Should only Be Two Books in George R.R. Martin’s Winds of Winter at This Point.

Many Games of Thrones fans has free time now that HBO’s House of the Dragon has finished its first season. When that time comes, an old query will once again be raised: “Hey, when is George going to complete these books?”

Game of Thrones was based on George R.R. Martin‘s “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series. Five books in the Throne of Glass series had been written when the first season of that show ended in the middle of 2011. Five books have been written by the time the complete series came to a conclusion in 2019. Say it with me: only five books have been written three years after “Thrones.”

George R.R. Martin's Winds of Winter at This Point.

The Winds of Winter, the sixth and penultimate book in George R.R. Martin’s fantasy series, has been a source of frustration for him for more than a decade. Naturally, this has occasionally caused fans to become frustrated, especially considering that Martin is not very adept at assessing his own writing development.

Martin has always referred to himself as a “gardener” writer, one who plants a variety of ideas, tends to them as best he can and then sees which of them flower. An apple can occasionally turn back into one. An apple will occasionally die on the vine and disappear. And occasionally, what he once believed to be an apple seed may change into a pumpkin, completely upending his original idea for the “garden.”

George R.R. Martin's Winds of Winter at This Point.

To say the least, Martin is shockingly not a very reliable source about The Winds of Winter‘s standing. Who could ever forget when he was sure the book would be published in 2014 and then again in 2017? But as optimism never dies, fans can now feel hopeful that The Winds of Winter will soon be released.

Martin stated that he was around 3/4 of the way through The Winds of Winter during a Livestream with Penguin Random House, the publisher of A Song of Ice and Fire. Martin’s discussion of his work on the book was remarkably specific. The complete footage is available below.

Martin rarely gives percentage updates, but this is the clearest indication yet that The Winds of Winter might someday actually exist. The most exciting aspect of his presentation is obviously that, but if you pay close attention, there is also some other unsettling material in there as well.

Martin explains that The Winds of Winter is nearly finished and that he expects it to be the series’ longest book. The spine-chilling 1500 manuscript pages for both A Storm of Swords and A Dance with Dragons, and it appears that The Winds of Winter will surpass that.

So, what exactly is the issue here, you ask? The more good news about A Song of Ice and Fire! Give the book whatever length it needs. Unfortunately, the issue is that some novels are simply too lengthy to be published.

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Before the publication of A Dance with Dragons, George R.R. Martin himself described this phenomenon on his LiveJournal blog, writing:

Late in the procedure, DANCE was briefly much longer. To my alarm, the number of pages had surpassed 1600 and was steadily increasing toward 1700. (The book’s 1700 pages prevented it from being released in a single volume.) A number of events occurred to bring it back down.

Did you read the pertinent part there? “The book could not have been published in a single volume at 1700 pages.” Even today, bookbinding evokes an antiquated technology.

A hardcover book’s spine can only hold about 1600 pages while still being mass-produced and sent around the world in quantity. A Dance with Dragons’ paperback edition really had to be released in two parts, Dreams and DustandAfter the Feast, in some regions.

It’s time for Martin to reconsider dividing The Winds of Winter into two books if it’s going to easily surpass the 1500-page threshold. He had a few options on how to approach this. The simplest solution would be to divide The Winds of Winter into two separate novels and publish them approximately six months apart.

This would be a simple, straightforward solution, but it would bring the overall number of books in the A Song of Ice and Fire series up to eight, while seven is a far more fitting number for a fantasy series (particularly in the word of Westeros where they observe the Faith of the Seven).

Although the alternative is a little messier, we would prefer it. Release the first and second halves of the book, The Winds of Winter Part 1 and Part 2, simultaneously. Even before shipment, Penguin Random House can shrink-wrap the copies together.

George R.R. Martin's Winds of Winter at This Point.

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Then, nothing at all needs to be changed for the book’s digital publication. There is precedent for this because A Dance with Dragons was previously released in two parts in some areas.

It may seem a bit extreme to split a book into two independent sections that are released at the same time, but A Song of Ice and Fire is an extreme series that is incredibly well-liked, excellent, and lengthy. Winter’s release date should be accelerated to whichever volume or volumes are necessary if wrangling with editors to reduce draught pages to a manageable 1500 will cause it to drag on.