More than 11 years have passed since the writer George R.R. Martin has published A Dance with Dragons, the last novel in his unfinished A Song of Ice and Fire epic cycle. Fans of the author have already begun to fear that the next novel, The Winds of Winter, will never be published, but now Martin himself claims that the manuscript is 75% ready.
“It’s a big, big book, I’ve said that before. It’s a challenging book. It’s probably gonna be a larger book than any of the previous volumes in the series”, said George RR. Martin in interview. “I think this one is going to be longer than that by the time I’m finished with it, and I think I’m about three-quarters of the way done, maybe? But that’s not 100 percent done, so I have to continue work on it.”
In June, YouTuber Preston Jacobs, who is leading a collaborative fan project to write his own version of The Winds of Winter, made a video called The Story of a Pessimist in which he closely tracked George Martin’s progress over the past 11 years and came to some depressing conclusions.
The main one is that Martin worked for years on material cut from A Dance with Dragons – 12 chapters of varying length, or about 200 pages of manuscript, and another 200 or so pages of drafts, presenting it as material written for a new book. This spawned many predictions from fans who calculated the publication date based on the pace of the writing, which was never accurate as he hadn’t been actively writing a book for several years.
So, from 2011 to 2016, it seems that not much progress has been made. It seems that work on The Winds of Winter completely stopped until the finale of the television adaptation of HBO’s Game of Thrones and before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. And then Martin turned his attention to Fire and Blood, the base text for House of the Dragon TV series, and combined already written stories with 500 pages of new material to publish the history of the Targaryen dynasty.
However, during the pandemic, George R.R. Martin claimed that he was able to write “hundreds and hundreds” of pages. This brings us to a total of about 900 pages, or nearly two-thirds of The Winds of Winter.
“I’ve stopped making predictions because people are pressuring me, ‘When will it be done?’ I make what I think is the best case estimate, and then stuff happens,” added George RR Martin in a recent interview. “Then everybody gets mad that I ‘lied’. I’ve never lied about these predictions. They’re the best I can make, but I guess I overestimate my ability to get stuff done, and I underestimate the amount of interruptions and other projects, other demands that will distract me.”
Most pessimistic is Martin’s assertion that he may have to rewrite what he has already written. Therefore, the 75% completion may begin to decrease as he works on the manuscript.