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The Winds of Winter: The Latest Info (updated 10 July 2022)


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The Winds of Winter is the sixth volume of A Song of Ice and Fire. It is currently planned to be the penultimate volume of the series, to be followed by A Dream of Spring. George R.R. Martin has not ruled out expending the series to eight books if it proves necessary, but this will most likely happen because either or both of the two remaining books becomes too big and has to be split for publication. There is no date set for completion or publication at this time.

Previously according to Martin, both Winter and Spring will likely be around 1,500 manuscript (MS) pages in length, similar to A Storm of Swords (1,521 MS pages) and A Dance with Dragons (1,510 MS pages). This works out at roughly 420,000 words. It is possible that the book will be shorter if Martin finds more satisfying, earlier break points in the narrative for each character arc. Based on the previous volumes, the book cannot be much longer, as at that point the book will need to be split in half. However, given the dramatic increase in the popularity of the series since A Dance with Dragons was published, it may be possible to make the book somewhat longer. In July 2022, Martin indicated that The Winds of Winter could be as much as "300 pages" longer than the longest previous books in the series, taking it to around 1,800 manuscript pages. If so, there is a chance the book would have to be split. If this happens, Martin's preference is for the two halves to be published simultaneously.

Because Martin edits as he writes, the gap between completing the novel and it being published could be as short as three months (as with A Dance with Dragons), depending on various factors.

In June 2013, GRRM indicated that he had completed approximately one-quarter of the novel. This would be around 375 MS pages of completed material with an unknown further amount in drafts and rough chapters. This is a very rough estimate, however.

In March 2014, Martin reported that The Winds of Winter has so far not required anything like the extensive rewrites and structural changes that A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons had required from very early on, and he was making better progress than he had with them. However, he did not put a figure on his progress.

In April 2015, Martin reported that he hopes to finish the book by the end of 2015 and get it on the shelves before Season 6 of Game of Thrones airs, which is expected to happen in April 2016. In the event, this did not transpire.

In April 2018, Martin confirmed that the book would not be released before the end of the year.

In June 2020, Martin gave his first substantive report on his progress in several years. He confirmed he was taking advantage of the pandemic lockdown in New Mexico to focus on the book and had completed several chapters and was writing more. He indicated a hope that The Winds of Winter would be completed by the summer of 2021.

In 2021, Martin reported that he had made good progress, but not as strong as during 2020, which he reported as being the most productive year for the novel.

In July 2022, Martin gave more substantive updates via his blog and a podcast interview with Game of Owns. He stated that the narrative of the novel has moved away from that shown in the final seasons of the television series Game of Thrones and that, although some things will remain similar, other things will be very different. Characters who survived the TV series will die in the books and characters who have died in the TV show will survive the books. He also reported being close to completing the chapters for several characters for the novel, including Tyrion. He also stated that the book will be longer than A Storm of Swords and A Dance with Dragons, "not 30 pages longer but closer to 300 pages longer." There is the possibility of the novel being split for publication, but if so his preference would be for the two halves to be published simultaneously.

Content
Approximately 100-200 MS pages of material was held back from the completion of A Dance with Dragons to kick-start The Winds of Winter. This material is believed to comprise:

Spoiler

The Battle of Winterfell and the Battle of Meereen. GRRM has since said he is also planning to add a chapter about the Battle of Storm's End, which in his original plan would have happened entirely off-page.

 


The list of confirmed and known POV characters for the book so far consists of:

  • An unknown Prologue character
  • Arianne Martell
  • Arya Stark
  • Bran Stark
  • Sansa Stark
  • Aeron 'Damphair' Greyjoy
  • Barristan Selmy
  • Theon Greyjoy
  • Victarion Greyjoy
  • Tyrion Lannister
  • Cersei Lannister
  • Daenerys Targaryen
  • Areo Hotah
  • Asha Greyjoy
  • Jaime Lannister
  • Brienne of Tarth

Martin has confirmed that there will be no new POV characters in The Winds of Winter (aside from the traditional one-off prologue character), for the first time in the series.

 

Released Chapters

Theon I

Arianne I

Barristan I

Tyrion II (available in the World of Ice and Fire App)

Mercy (Arya I)

Alayne (Sansa I)

 

Chapters Read at Conventions

Arianne II

Victarion I

Tyrion I

Barristan II

 

Chapters Mentioned/Known to Exist

Aeron I

Daenerys I

Bran I

Prologue

In addition it is assumed that most, if not all, of the POV characters who survived A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons will return. These will consist of Melisandre, Areo Hotah, Jon Connington, Samwell Tarly and, assuming he survived the events of the prior novel, Jon Snow.

The book will have a prologue (like the other five volumes) but we do not know if it will have an epilogue.

From an interview with EW's Shelf Life website, George indicates what storylines will likely feature in the next book:

Spoiler

He indicates that Mago, a minor Dothraki character in A Game of Thrones who joins Khal Jhaqo when Drogo's khalasar splinters apart, will play a notable role, presumably in Daenerys' storyline. Mago is killed off in the HBO TV series. GRRM told the producers that Mago would have a larger role later on but they proceeded with killing him off regardless.

GRRM also confirms that Osha will return in The Winds of Winter. ADWD hints that she and Rickon have taken refuge on the island of Skagos, and Davos Seaworth is going to try to find them.

The Prologue will feature Jeyne Westerling, but not necessarily as the POV character.

The Sand Snakes will feature "heavily".

Highgarden will appear and Willas and Garlan Tyrell will play a role. Casterly Rock may also play a role, although that may not be until the final book.

Daenerys returning to Westeros was at one point going to be the dominant storyline of the penultimate volume of the storyline. However, it is unclear if this is still the plan.

Nymeria's wolf pack will become important in one of the last two books.

The mystery of Jon Snow's parentage will be answered in either the last book or the one before it.

Martin would not confirm Jon's fate, although general comments he has made suggest that Jon's story may not entirely be done. He has said that there will be important events happening at the Wall and beyond, with us learning more about the Lands of Always Winter.

This post will be updated as additional info comes in.

Edited by Werthead
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I think Dany's storyline will be more of revolt and conquest in the East, with perhaps, the first of her ships reaching Dragonstone, by the end.

Jon's staying dead makes his whole story pointless, so either he survived the stabbing (people do survive being stabbed in freezing conditions, because blood flows so slowly) or he's revived.

The Sands are a nasty bunch.  I expect they'll do nasty things to Tommen, Margaery, and anyone associate with the former regime.

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I think the OP undersells what we know about Aeron I.

I think Dany will be in Westeros for the majority of the book, that the Meereen alliance forming in her name rolls west along the coast and she with the Dothraki through the Dothraki Sea.

Jon's coming back but that might not happen until the end of the book. I think probably halfway through the book is more likely, though if the book gets split into volumes his return could be how the first ends.

I think the book ends in the north with either Jon being elevated to KITN as an opposing force to Ramsay, or further on after Jon defeats Ramsay and consolidates the north. In the south when Dany defeats Aegon in the dance and begins her reign, or the end of her reign in which she flees KL for her life as the city revolts against her.

Edited by chrisdaw
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George told the Game of Owns people that he was almost done with Tyrion’s TWOW chapters, and I wish they followed up by asking if he had finished anyone else’s chapters yet. If he has, I’m guessing it was Arya, although I get the impression that the Vale and northern chapters (Winterfell/the Wall) don’t give him as much trouble as the rest of them do.

17 hours ago, SeanF said:

I think Dany's storyline will be more of revolt and conquest in the East, with perhaps, the first of her ships reaching Dragonstone, by the end.

Jon's staying dead makes his whole story pointless, so either he survived the stabbing (people do survive being stabbed in freezing conditions, because blood flows so slowly) or he's revived.

The Sands are a nasty bunch.  I expect they'll do nasty things to Tommen, Margaery, and anyone associate with the former regime.

I’m increasingly warming to the idea that “gold shall be their crowns” was literal and that Myrcella will be the first queen of Westeros, albeit briefly (there’s so much talk about crowning Myrcella not only in Dorne but in Tyrion’s chapters in Dance). When Aegon takes the city, I could see there being a debate among his advisors about whether he should marry her, only for one of the Snakes to arrange an “accident” that leaves her dead. This could be a hugely distressing event for Arianne, since it will free up Aegon for her, but will come at the cost of murdering a young girl who looked up to Arianne and trusted her. Just a theory, of course.

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12 minutes ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

George told the Game of Owns people that he was almost done with Tyrion’s TWOW chapters, and I wish they followed up by asking if he had finished anyone else’s chapters yet. If he has, I’m guessing it was Arya, although I get the impression that the Vale and northern chapters (Winterfell/the Wall) don’t give him as much trouble as the rest of them do.

I’m increasingly warming to the idea that “gold shall be their crowns” was literal and that Myrcella will be the first queen of Westeros, albeit briefly (there’s so much talk about crowning Myrcella not only in Dorne but in Tyrion’s chapters in Dance). When Aegon takes the city, I could see there being a debate among his advisors about whether he should marry her, only for one of the Snakes to arrange an “accident” that leaves her dead. This could be a hugely distressing event for Arianne, since it will free up Aegon for her, but will come at the cost of murdering a young girl who looked up to Arianne and trusted her. Just a theory, of course.

I think you’re correct about that, if not in detail, certainly in general.  I think it’s very much a theme of Arianne’s story that she’s a more or less decent person who’s in over her head, and does not appreciate how savage and bloodthirsty her cousins and her allies are. Arianne is not a murderer of children, and perhaps not Aegon.  But Jon Con and the rest are.

Catherine de Medici intended to kill a handful of Hugenot leaders in a surgical strike.  What she actually got was a complete bloodbath, as the Paris mob ran out of control, and I would foresee something similar at Kings Landing, as anyone associated with the Tyrells/Lannisters/Baratheons is just strung up.  I think that would leave Arianne completely broken.

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5 hours ago, Takiedevushkikakzvezdy said:

I don't think Dany will go to Westeros before meeting Tyrion, and GRRM said that they will spend most of TWoW apart.

It doesn't follow that once they meet they will always be together.

I think Dany leads the Dothraki through the Dothraki Sea (living off the land) and a second force composed of everyone else loyal to Dany goes along the coast (taking every city as they go), and that Tyrion was always meant to be the (land) POV (before GRRM turned Barristan POV) amongst that allied force, if not the commander in Dany's name.

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In the US, books generally aren’t split into installments, unless they’re textbooks, omnibuses, or reprintings of a classic. With that in mind, and considering that GRRM’s main publishing house is in NY, I fully expect that we’re swiftly heading towards an eight-book series (probably nine, if we’re being realistic, since I doubt ADOS won’t be split as well). George made it sound like TWOW was well on its way to being too big to publish as one book, and the only time you really see 1,500 page books in print is when they’re special editions of Stephen King classics. Assuming A Dream of Spring remains the final title, I wonder what the title for book 7 will be?

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To Green Angel Tower was split into two volumes in paperback.

If George wants TWoW split into two volumes and published more-or-less together, I'd assume it would have no impact on the title of A Dream of Spring

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It's worth noting that To Green Angel Tower's two halves were given individual names in a lot of territories (Siege and Storm in the UK, for example).

That applies to the UK paperback editions of ASoIaF for that matter:

  • A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow
  • A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold
  • A Dance with Dragons: Dreams and Dust
  • A Dance with Dragons: After the Feast

For a book so long it's split in half in hardcover even in the States, that's a different kettle of fish. Tad Williams' latest novel was also split into two halves, Into the Narrowdark and The Navigator's Children (The Navigator's Children was the original title of both books together).

There was also an alternate title for the final book in the series floating around for a few years, A Time for Wolves, which GRRM soured on, at least as a title for the last book. A lot of fans liked it. He might consider reviving it if required.

If the book ends up being ~1800 manuscript pages and split in half down the middle, it would produce two volumes only individually slightly shorter than A Game of Thrones (which was 1,080 manuscript pages), so around 600-650 pages in hardcover each.

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3 hours ago, Werthead said:

It's worth noting that To Green Angel Tower's two halves were given individual names in a lot of territories (Siege and Storm in the UK, for example).

That applies to the UK paperback editions of ASoIaF for that matter:

  • A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow
  • A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold
  • A Dance with Dragons: Dreams and Dust
  • A Dance with Dragons: After the Feast

For a book so long it's split in half in hardcover even in the States, that's a different kettle of fish. Tad Williams' latest novel was also split into two halves, Into the Narrowdark and The Navigator's Children (The Navigator's Children was the original title of both books together).

There was also an alternate title for the final book in the series floating around for a few years, A Time for Wolves, which GRRM soured on, at least as a title for the last book. A lot of fans liked it. He might consider reviving it if required.

If the book ends up being ~1800 manuscript pages and split in half down the middle, it would produce two volumes only individually slightly shorter than A Game of Thrones (which was 1,080 manuscript pages), so around 600-650 pages in hardcover each.

Wouldn’t the publishers prefer if they were two separate books though, rather than two installments sold together?

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For titles they can do it like Fire & Blood - Vol. 1 and Vol. 2

I would think that the publishers prefer to publish one volume after another, but hopefully they would be willing to compress the time between them to the bare minimum required to produce the physical copies.

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28 minutes ago, Corvinus85 said:

For titles they can do it like Fire & Blood - Vol. 1 and Vol. 2

I would think that the publishers prefer to publish one volume after another, but hopefully they would be willing to compress the time between them to the bare minimum required to produce the physical copies.

Knowing George, he’ll decide he’s not satisfied with Vol. 2 after publishing Vol. 1, and we’ll have to wait another five years to read it.

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14 minutes ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

Knowing George, he’ll decide he’s not satisfied with Vol. 2 after publishing Vol. 1, and we’ll have to wait another five years to read it.

That would be my fear, but no. George hopefully submits the entire manuscript, and then the publishers, working with him, decide where best to break up the book. 

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11 minutes ago, Takiedevushkikakzvezdy said:

On the whole, it seems like GRRM changed his mind on a lot of things regarding Winds. I wonder what that means for the "big twist" he talked about in 2015.

Holy shit, has it been that long? :laugh:

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2 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

Wouldn’t the publishers prefer if they were two separate books though, rather than two installments sold together?

Yes, absolutely, although I have no doubt a two-volume box slipcase edition (illustrated by *INSERT ARTIST HERE*) will also be available.

1 hour ago, Corvinus85 said:

For titles they can do it like Fire & Blood - Vol. 1 and Vol. 2

I would think that the publishers prefer to publish one volume after another, but hopefully they would be willing to compress the time between them to the bare minimum required to produce the physical copies.

I very much suspect the publishers would prefer to publish the books six months apart, preferably on either side of the dividing line for the financial year so they get a ton of cash in one year and a ton more in another.

GRRM might be powerful enough now to override that and get them to release the books together, or maybe just one month apart (the publishers will also be aware of the perceived issues in asking people to spend £40-£50 on two hardcovers in this economy).

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