George R.R. Martin is in “a remote mountain hideaway” trying to finish The Winds of Winter

George R.R. Martin is doing more press these days than usual, likely because he has a new book — Fire & Blood, about the history of the Targaryen dynasty — coming out in just a few days.

But that doesn’t mean he isn’t hard at work on The Winds of Winter, the long-awaited sixth book in his Song of Ice and Fire series. In fact, it sounds like he’s working harder than usual, based on a new interview with The Wall Street Journal. “George R.R. Martin is in hiding,” writes author Alexandra Wolfe. “He’s talking to me from a remote mountain hideaway whose location he refuses to disclose. It’s a cabin he visits when he wants to hunker down to finish a book.”

This isn’t the first time Martin has shut himself off to finish a book. A Song of Ice and Fire luminary BryndenBFish drew a comparison between Martin’s “mountain hideaway” and the “bunker” he described on his now-defunct Live Journal shortly before he finished A Dance with Dragons, the fifth book in the series:

A Feast for Crows came out five years after A Storm of Swords, and A Dance with Dragons six years after Feast. It’s now been seven years since Dance. Are we finally closing in on a release date? If Winds came out the same year as the final season of Game of Thrones, it would be quite a year for Martin’s baby.

For now, we wait, as always. In the meantime, Martin assured Wolfe that however his books end, it’ll be the way he originally envisioned it, without any alterations inspired by the TV show. “I’m still going to finish it the way I always wanted to finish it, the way it’s been in my head for 25 years now.”

It’s impressive that he’s stayed on the path all this time, because the series has become enormous and he doubtlessly gets opinions about it everywhere he goes. “It astonishes me that today there are tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of kids all over the world who know more about the Starks and the Lannisters than they know about the Yorks and Lancasters,” he said.

It will come as no shock to A Song of Ice and Fire fans that Martin is a fan of history, and that he based many events in his story on real life. Wolfe even says he considers the sex and violence in his books a “toned down” take on real events, which sounds surprising until you read some of the stuff that happened and realize how much farther he could have gone.

The way history is taught today is more socioeconomic trends and things like that, which…I don’t know if it’s more valid or less valid, but it’s certainly more boring…[I read history for] the wars and the betrayals, who stabbed who in the back, who was having an affair with whom, and to me that’s the juicy stuff of history. That’s what makes history fun.

It’s safe to say kids would be more interested in history class if it were more like Game of Thrones, yes.

Obviously, Martin wouldn’t reveal any plot details to Wolfe, but did speculate on what the legacy of his books might be, and the lessons they might impart.

Maybe some kid who is reading it now…will be a president or senator, and the lessons of Westeros will have been incorporated into his worldview and affect some decision he makes 20 or 30 years from now…It depends on who he models himself on, Jon Snow or a new Joffrey…We don’t need anyone modeling themselves after Joffrey.

So this hypothetical leader will either be an entitled sociopath or murdered by their own lieutenants. Thank you, Game of Thrones!

To stay up to date on everything Game of Thrones, follow our all-encompassing Facebook page and sign up for our exclusive newsletter.

Watch Game of Thrones for FREE with a no-risk, 7-day free trial of Amazon Channels