George R.R. Martin has been posting his "Best of Times, Worst of Times" blogs summing up 2015, and the worst of times post is the not unexpected news: Winds of Winter, the sixth book in the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series of novels, is not finished. That means the book can no longer come out before Game of Thrones season six starts airing in April 2016.
The HBO series, an adaptation of the novels, caught up to Martin's writing faster than he had expected. As a result, season five diverged from the novels considerably, but Martin now says that some plot points in the show will likely overlap and "spoil" moments from the upcoming novel.
"When you ask me, "will the show spoil the books," all I can do is say, "yes and no," and mumble once again about the butterfly effect. Those pretty little butterflies have grown into mighty dragons. Some of the 'spoilers' you may encounter in season six may not be spoilers at all... because the show and the books have diverged, and will continue to do so," Martin wrote. He specifically mentioned more than ten characters that are dead on the show but still alive in the books, and a few vice versa, plus characters from the books that have never appeared on the show. Still, spoilers are coming.
"Look, I never thought the series could possibly catch up with the books, but it has. The show moved faster than I anticipated and I moved more slowly," Martin said, taking the blame as much as he could in the post. "Given where we are, inevitably, there will be certain plot twists and reveals in season six of GAME OF THRONES that have not yet happened in the books. For years my readers have been ahead of the viewers. This year, for some things, the reverse will be true."
Martin went into the ins and outs of his various deadlines, and unfortunately blowing past them - October, then December, to get the book delivered and published before the new season. As to when it's going to be done, that's not good news, either.
"But the book's not done. Nor is it likely to be finished tomorrow, or next week," he wrote. "I am months away still... and that's if the writing goes well."
He assures his readers that there are "hundreds of pages, dozens of chapters" written, but cautions that he still has rewriting including "polishing" and "pretty major restructures" to get done.
The writer is now working on his own schedule again, with no firm deadlines in place so he can work on the book as he has with previous novels, merely looking to write when he can and finish it when it's done. The fifth book, "A Dance with Dragons" came out in 2011.
On the bright side, at least fans of the show don't have to hear smug, "well, I read the books, and..." phrases from their friends anymore, right?