George R.R. Martin released the fifth book in his Song of Ice and Fire series, A Dance With Dragons, in 2011. Since then, he’s put a book about Targaryen history called Fire & Blood, edited some fiction anthologies, written episodes of Game of Thrones, and consulted on a number of Game of Thrones spinoff shows, including House of the Dragon.
He has also, purportedly, been working on a follow-up to A Dance With Dragons all this time: The Winds of Winter, a book that will at long last continue the stories of Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister, Arya Stark and maybe Jon Snow if he gets over the whole stabbed-to-death-by-his-own-men thing.
Among fans, the long wait for The Winds of Winter has become a fact of life, a cultural moment, and a bitter joke. And Martin himself sees the humor, as he shared during a recent author-on-author interview session with Shadowhunters writer Cassandra Clare.
George R.R. Martin isn’t sure The Winds of Winter will be out by March of 2025
During the interview, which was excerpted on Reddit, Clare mentions that she has a book — The Ragpicker King — scheduled to come out in March of 2025. “The really depressing thing is that still may beat The Winds of Winter, who the hell knows?” Martin joked.
"I’ve been working…I’m 12 years late with The Winds of Winter, as we know. I’m just gonna put it right out there, you guys don’t have to pester me about it."
Indeed, Martin has been working on The Winds of Winter for 12 years, and I’ve no doubt he’s been asked again and again and again for updates. It’s unfortunate (but not surprising) to hear him be pessimistic about the chances of the book coming out by March of 2025. We can hope the book will be out by then…but I wouldn’t count on it.
That said, I maintain that the book will come out. Martin has talked openly in recent years about how it’s going, saying that he made huge progress on Winds in 2020, the year everyone was locked inside while a pandemic raged throughout the world. Last year, he talked about wrapping up the stories for multiple viewpoint characters.
So it does sound like progress is being made. That said, Martin is famous for setting deadlines and then blowing past them, and has admitted that he’s not a good job of his own writing speed. So there’s reason to hope that we’ll eventually get to read The Winds of Winter, but not in the very near future.
As for Cassandra Clare, her fantasy novel Sword Catcher is out now. The Ragpicker King is a sequel to that one. As she said, it’s due out in March of 2025, and unlike with Martin, there’s no reason to believe it won’t hit that date.