It's been eight years since the most recent book in the 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series was published, but don't try to play mind games with George R.R. Martin.
The author of the books that 'Game of Thrones' is based upon is currently writing the follow-up to 2011's 'A Dance with Dragons', and has rubbished rumours regarding his progress on the final two books of the series.
Although the TV show has long outrun the books, fans are eager to see whether Martin's storyline will be drastically different to D.B. Weiss and David Benioff's vision. However, rumours that both 'The Winds of Winter' and the seventh and reportedly final book, 'A Dream of Spring', are already written and finished are simply not true, according to the author.
It seems that Northern Irish actor Ian McElhinney, aka Ser Barristan Selmy, may have opened a can of worms when he allegedly claimed at a GoT fan convention that the books had been written.
Quotes attributed to him claim that Martin had made an agreement with Weiss and Benioff to hold off on publication until the TV show was finished. "So if all goes well, in another month or two we might get Books 6 and 7, and I’m intrigued to know how Barristan, for instance, ends up going through those final two books," he is alleged to have said. "George, I talked to him during Season 1 and he did say to me that Barristan had a very interesting journey. But unfortunately I didn’t get to play all of that, so we’ll have to wait and see.”
Now, however, Martin has rather angrily denied that this is the case. Writing on his blog, he said: " No, THE WINDS OF WINTER and A DREAM OF SPRING are not finished. DREAM is not even begun; I am not going to start writing volume seven until I finish volume six. It seems absurd to me that I need to state this. The world is round, the Earth revolves around the sun, water is wet… do I need to say that too?
"It boggles me that anyone would believe this story, even for an instant. It makes not a whit of sense. Why would I sit for years on completed novels? Why would my publishers — not just here in the US, but all around the world — ever consent to this? They make millions and millions of dollars every time a new Ice & Fire book comes out, as do I. Delaying makes no sense.
"Why would HBO want the books delayed? The books help create interest in the show, just as the show creates interest in the books. So… no, the books are not done. HBO did not ask me to delay them. Nor did David & Dan. There is no ‘deal’ to hold back on the books.
"I assure you, HBO and David & Dan would both have been thrilled and delighted if THE WINDS OF WINTER had been delivered and published four or five years ago… and NO ONE would have been more delighted than me.”
So there you have it. We may be less than a week from saying goodbye to 'Game of Thrones', but at least there's more reading to be had in the future. At some point. Eventually. Probably.