Fans have been waiting over a decade for The Winds of Winterthe sixth book in author George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series, the same series that spawned the mega-hit show Game Of Thrones on HBO. To date Martin has released five novels in this sequence: A Game of Thrones (1996), A Clash of Kings (1998), A Storm of Swords (2000), A Feast for Crows (2005), and A Dance with Dragons (2011). While the wait between earlier installments was much shorter, it’s ballooned between later novels. Now it’s been 11 years, and the ending of A Song of Ice and Fire studies us still.
But how many books does Martin have planned for this series? Is The Winds of Winter the last Game Of Thrones book?
George RR Martin has been pretty open about his plans for A Song of Ice and Fireso as things stand we have a solid answer: The Winds of Winter is the penultimate novel in the sequence, not the final one.
In his original pitch to publisher Bantam, Martin envisioned A Song of Ice and Fire as a trilogy. However, the “tale grew in the telling,” as Tolkien would say.
The first of the proposed books in the trilogy, A Game of Thronesended up expanding into three books on its own. A Storm of Swords seemingly ended that part of the story, bringing both readers and Martin into the middle of his saga, but by then it had become abundantly clear that this was going to be a much longer series than originally planned.
However, it wasn’t until Martin was deep into the writing on the next book, A Feast for Crows, that the series evolved into its current format. The author had planned to have a five-year gap between A Storm of Swords and the following volume, but after spending several years writing it he decided it didn’t work. Instead, we got A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragonswhich covered events happening concurrently in different parts of Martin’s sprawling world.
That brings us to The Winds of Winterwhich was originally planned as the final volume of the series. However, shortly after A Feast for Crows was released in 2005, Martin confirmed that A Song of Ice and Fire would run for seven books, and that the final novel would be titled A Dream of Spring (a change from a previous working title for the book, A Time for Wolves).
That means that, as of this writing, there are two more Game Of Thrones books planned: The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring.
Though it’s worth noting that Martin has left a back door for himself; the series could feasibly extend beyond A Dream of Spring. ”I’m as firm as I am,” Martin told Entertainment Weekly back in 2011 in regard to whether A Dream of Spring would be the final book, “until I decide not to be firm.”
Martin is still hard at work on The Winds of Winter. No release date has yet been announced, so for now our watch continues.