It looks like fans of A Song of Ice and Fire will have to wait at least another year for the sixth installment of the series, which inspired HBO’s Game of Thrones. HarperCollins, who publishes George R.R. Martin’s fantasy series, confirmed to the Guardian that The Winds of Winter is not on their publishing schedule for 2015.
It’s not all gloom though. The publisher did announce A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, an illustrated edition of three previously released novellas set in the world of Westeros: The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword, and The Mystery Knight. Taking place almost a century before the events of A Game of Thrones, the novellas follow the exploits of Ser Duncan the Tall and his squire, Egg.
“The novellas,” said Jane Johnson, Martin’s publisher at HarperCollins, “are illustrated in black and white line drawings throughout by Gary Gianni in classic style. It will be a truly lovely book, and I adore these clever, funny stories…[they] give fascinating insights into the ongoing story, from the point of view of Ser Duncan the Tall, a hedge knight, and his squire Egg – who may be rather more than he first seems.”
Speaking as a fan, I’ve been waiting for a collected edition of these novellas, so as to avoid having to track them down in the various anthologies where they originally appeared, and am looking forward to that reading experience in the coming year. Much like the World of Ice and Fire hardcover last year, it’s nice to have these interstitial offerings to bring readers back to Westeros, while Martin is hard at work on the next core installment of the series.
And for anyone about to complain about how long it is taking Martin to finish the series, may I direct you to this lovely blog post from Neil Gaiman.
It’s worth noting that Game of Thrones Season 5 will very likely cover all of the events up until the end of A Dance with Dragons, the most recent novel in the series. That will make the events of Season 6 especially interesting, since they have no direct source material to base it on (though the executive producers have said in the past that Martin has shared some of the series’ secrets with them already). The franchise is fast reaching the point where the television series stands to spoil the story for book readers, rather than the other way around.
Game of Thrones returns for Season 5 on HBO on April 12.