ByTom Chapman, writer at
tweet: tomtomchap Warden of the North - bearded, tattooed and square eyed 'til the end
Tom Chapman

While we may currently be balls deep in the depths of actual winter, the continuing wait for the next Game of Thrones series is ongoing, while author George R.R. Martin still skirts around a possible release date of his sixth book. While some worry that the "Ice and Fire" saga author will himself have passed on to the old gods by the time he finishes his books, we are edging closer to the release of his penultimate novel.

At a recent interview at the Guadalajara International Book Fair he promised us that the next installment will (somehow) be even darker than what has come before it:

“There are a lot of dark chapters right now in the book that I’m writing. It is called The Winds of Winter, and I’ve been telling you for 20 years that winter was coming. Winter is the time when things die, and cold and ice and darkness fill the world, so this is not going to be the happy feel-good that people may be hoping for. Some of the characters [are] in very dark places.”

Originally we were told that The Winds of Winter would be released before HBO aired the sixth season of the show, but that timeframe has been and gone. Martin remains sketchy on when we can get our hands on the epic novel, but he has been spoiler-happy by leaking us tidbits to tide us over.

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The Wait Is Long And Full Of Terrors

'Game of Thrones' [Credit: HBO]
'Game of Thrones' [Credit: HBO]

Moving ahead of the books, 's Season 6 saw the demise of several long-standing main characters like Margaery Tyrell, Ser Loras, King Tommen, Princess Myrcella, and Rickon Stark. It also cleared up the death of Stannis Baratheon from the Season 5 finale. With all of the above still trotting around Westeros in the fifth book, should we expect them to meet similar fates in The Winds of Winter?

For the few left alive, Martin goes on to say that the characters might (eventually) see some light at the end of the tunnel, but not without facing more hardships:

“In any story, the classic structure is, ‘Things get worse before they get better,’ so things are getting worse for a lot of people.”

A cockless Theon Greyjoy, the orphaned Starks, and the ever perishing Lannisters — how could it possibly get darker? One person sure to be relishing in the darkness will be witchy Melisandre, however, even we left her in the show, her future looked pretty bleak too.

A Big Wide World

'A map of Westeros [Credit:]
'A map of Westeros [Credit:]

We have already been waiting nearly six years for The Winds of Winter, so don't hold your breath too long for the concluding seventh book, A Dream of Spring. With a notoriously "precise" writing style, Martin mocks his own world for being too large as a reason behind the extended hiatus between books:

“Sometimes I look back and say, ‘Did it really have to be Seven Kingdoms? The Five Kingdoms of Westeros, that would have been good, right?”

Finally, although A Dream of Spring may sound like a relatively chipper ending to the tale, Martin reaffirmed we shouldn't expect it to be all sunshine and Braavos when the books finally come to an end:

“I’m not going to tell you how I’m going to end my book, but I suspect the overall flavor is going to be as much bittersweet as it is happy.”

Given the character cull, as well as Martin's cutthroat stance on fan-favorites, I think most people will be asking if anyone will actually be left to sit on that pointy throne by the time we get to book seven.

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