george r.r. martin house of the dragon

HBO’s Game of Thrones universe is expanding exponentially, with the new spin-off House of the Dragon announced and plenty more reportedly to come. But the world of A Song of Ice and Fire, George R.R. Martin‘s saga of novels upon which HBO’s mega-hit fantasy series was based, has not moved forward in years. And honestly, many of us have given up on seeing the publication of the sixth novel in the seven-book series, The Winds of Winter, in our lifetimes. Martin is a notorious procrastinator — when he’s not writing in his Not a Blog website, he’s developing new Game of Thrones spin-offs, or writing companion books, or penning whole episodes for TV. But this time it’s different, Martin promises.

In Martin’s Not a Blog, the author celebrated the announcement of House of the Dragon, which he co-created alongside Ryan Condal, a writer and producer whose credits include Rampage and Colony. Martin revealed that the series, which will follow the early days of House Targaryen and their conquest of Westeros, has been in development for several years, and was “actually the first concept I pitched to HBO when we started talking about a successor show, way back in the summer of 2016.”

That, along with developing the now-dead Game of Thrones spin-off series written by Jane Goldman, may have what kept Martin occupied over the past few years instead of writing The Winds of Winter. Maybe. But Martin says that will change now that the news about House of the Dragon is out, and that he will prioritize The Winds of Winter above all else:

“Let me make this perfectly clear. I am not taking on any scripts until I have finished and delivered Winds of Winter. Winter is still coming and Winds remains my priority, as much as I’d love to write an episode of House.”

Martin did step back from writing episodes of Game of Thrones after penning a few episodes in its early seasons, presumably to focus again on The Winds of Winter. But the years since the fifth book, 2011’s A Dance of Dragons, grow longer and the possibility of The Winds of Winter getting published in this decade grows colder. Martin found time to pen Fire and Blood, a textbook-style companion book that hit shelves last year  and will form the basis of House of the Dragon, but not to finish the main story that already wrapped up on the small screen to divided reactions this year.

I’ve been burned before by Martin’s promises, and at this point, I get it. Martin is as eager as HBO to expand the TV universe of Game of Thrones, as it will rake in higher profits for him for less labor. He’s had a hand in developing two of the proposed spin-offs — first Goldman’s now-axed spin-off, and now House of the Dragon. In his Not a Blog, Martin wrote, “If television has room enough for multiple CSIs and CHICAGO shows… well, Westeros and Essos are a lot bigger, with thousands of years of history and enough tales and legends and characters  for a dozen shows.” And at this point, it’s more likely we’ll get a few dozen Game of Thrones shows before we’ll ever read The Winds of Winter.

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