Did George R.R. Martin just give us a new release timeframe for The Winds of Winter?

In a recent blog post, George R.R. Martin talked about the future of his Dunk & Egg novellas, as well as The Winds of Winter...and one of his new benchmarks for when he hopes to have it out.
2023 Atlanta Film Festival - Image Film Awards Gala
2023 Atlanta Film Festival - Image Film Awards Gala / Paras Griffin/GettyImages

This week, A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin took to his Not A Blog to talk about A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, the upcoming Game of Thrones spinoff based on his Dunk & Egg novellas. Dunk & Egg is a very different sort of tale from either Game of Thrones or its spinoff House of the Dragon. Instead of a war for the fate of Westeros, we follow a newly minted knight named Ser Duncan the Tall and his diminutive squire Egg as they go on adventures. It should be a lot of fun, and a breath of fresh air to clear out the stink of corpses left behind by House of the Dragon season 2.

Martin has written three Dunk & Egg novellas to date: The Hedge Knight (1998), The Sworn Sword (2003) and The Mystery Knight (2010), all of which were collected in the 2015 omnibus A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms. The first season of the TV show will cover The Hedge Knight. Martin has been candid about his hopes to write more Dunk & Egg novellas in the past. He reiterated his goal in this latest blog post, where he said that he hopes to write more Dunk & Egg stories before the show adapts everything he's written so far:

"The show will make its debut next year… and if it does well, THE SWORN SWORD and THE MYSTERY KNIGHT will follow. By which time I hope to have finished some more Dunk & Egg stories (yes, after I finish THE WINDS OF WINTER)."

That's all well and good...but did you notice what he said about The Winds of Winter? That warrants a closer look.

Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow in Game of Thrones /

The Winds of Winter could be out before A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms season 2

Now, let's be clear here. The last published book in A Song of Ice and Fire, A Dance with Dragons, came out all the way back in 2011, a few months after the first season of Game of Thrones premiered on HBO. We've been waiting a dozen years for the next installment, and there have been no shortage of updates, false alarms, and meager snippets of hopeful release date news since then. A Song of Ice and Fire fans are justifiably skeptical, to the point where a hopeful fan posted these comments from Martin to the r/HouseOfTheDragon subreddit and they were almost immediately taken down by the moderators. No one likes false hope, and until we get something more concrete, it's easy to feel like any whispers of a release date The Winds of Winter are just that, bound to leave us disappointed once more.

But around here, we never mind reading the tea leave, and I do think there are some leaves worth reading in Martin's update.

As of this writing, it seems very likely that House of the Dragon and A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms will air in alternating years on HBO. We know that House of the Dragon season 2 is coming in June 2024, and A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms season 1 is slated to air in 2025. Should these shows stick to that schedule — and I think they will, because they want to retain audiences and young actors like Dexter Sol Ansell (Egg) will age — then it's likely we'll see House of the Dragon season 3 in 2026 and A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms season 2, which will cover The Sworn Sword, in 2027.

All that means that according to Martin's update, he's anticipating being done with The Winds of Winter...before 2027. Don't all rush to preorder right this second.

Jokes aside, I do like that Martin is at least mentioning his long game here. A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms runs the very real risk of encountering the same problem that Game of Thrones had, where the show goes past the source material before Martin can write more and then has to find its own way. Granted, each Dunk & Egg story stands alone and is much shorter than a Song of Ice and Fire book, so there is absolutely a chance of Martin supplementing the series with more entries before then. But not while Winds is still the monkey on his back, as it has been these past 12+ years.

We'll see how it all plays out in the coming years! Who knows, maybe by the time A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Sworn Sword comes out we'll all have The Winds of Winter on our shelves and a new set of Dunk & Egg stories to devour. A dream of spring, indeed.

The problems with making Lord of the Rings into a cinematic universe. dark. Next. The problems with making Lord of the Rings into a cinematic universe

To stay up to date on everything fantasy, science fiction, and WiC, follow our all-encompassing Facebook page and Twitter account, sign up for our exclusive newsletter and check out our YouTube channel.