Fans of George R. R. Martin’s phenomenal fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire experienced some disappointing news recently when Martin confirmed that his long-awaited next installment in the series, The Winds of Winter (hereafter referred to as TWOW for brevity’s sake), won’t be released in 2015. Initial hints that he was aiming for a 2016 release emerged in an EW interview published a few weeks ago in which he stated:
Having The Winds of Winter published before season 6 of Thrones airs next spring “has been important to me all along,” says the best-selling New Mexico author. “I wish it was out now. 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.”
Further confirmation that it wouldn’t be out this year came soon after, in a comment reply on his blog. In response to a question about whether TWOW would be nominated for a HUGO award in 2016, he answered that it wouldn’t be eligible for nomination. Only titles published during the previous year are eligible for HUGO nominations, thus the implication was that TWOW wouldn’t be published in 2015.
While it is unfortunate that we won’t get our hands on TWOW this year, Martin has been sporadically releasing excerpts from the book for the past several years, and recently confirmed that more will be forthcoming. So far, sample chapters that have been officially released online include Theon Greyjoy, Arianne Martell, Arya Stark, and Sansa Stark. In addition to the excerpts made available online, all official excerpts as well as another unreleased elsewhere (from POV character Tyrion Lannister) are available for free along with the World of Ice and Fire app. Still want more? Several fan summaries (and in one case, a video) of chapter readings that Martin has done at conventions and appearances over the years are available for the following characters: Arianne Martell (part 2), Victarion Greyjoy (video), and Barristan Selmy.
Hat tip to the folks at the ASOIAF subreddit for compiling all of the sample chapters and excerpts on their wiki.
Another good way to get your fix of all things Westeros is to watch the TV adaptation of the ASOIAF series, Game of Thrones. Season five is currently airing, and you can catch up on all four previous seasons through DCPL! Or check out Mr. Martin’s most recently published work, The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones. This gorgeous and comprehensive guide will tell series readers all they might want to know about the history and culture of Westeros and the lands beyond the Narrow Sea, including never before published material.