Game of Thrones ended over a year ago, revealing the final major twists kept under wraps for so long. But that doesn't mean the story is over. For one thing, HBO is currently working on House of the Dragon, which is a new series reportedly set during the Targaryen Civil War. But also, Martin is still working on his own version of the A Song of Ice & Fire book saga, and it seems like he's making good progress. In a new blog post, he suggests the next installment, The Winds Of Winter, could be ready in 2021.
Martin has been careful about talking too much about his progress on The Winds of Winter. As a writer, he is notorious for failing to meet deadlines, ever since the final page of 2005's A Feast For Crows promised the next novel, A Dance With Dragons, would come in 2006. (It arrived in summer of 2011.)
It's been quite a while since Martin wrote frankly about his progress on The Winds of Winter on his website. There's still no confirmation that the book will come out next year, and Martin did not say he was done. However, fans took his open excitement over the book's progress as a good sign that perhaps the long-awaited installment is coming soon.
In his post, Martin said the stay-at-home orders and social distancing has helped him focus on writing.
If nothing else, the enforced isolation has helped me write. I am spending long hours every day on The Winds of Winter and making steady progress. I finished a new chapter yesterday, another one three days ago, another one the previous week.
He also mentioned several characters he's been writing about, which serves as a reminder of how many still live on the page, despite having deaths far sooner in the show.
Of late, I have been visiting with Cersei, Asha, Tyrion, Ser Barristan, and Areo Hotah. I will be dropping back into Braavos next week. I have bad days, which get me down, and good days, which lift me up, but all in all I am pleased with the way things are doing.
However, it was a quick mention of his plans for the future that has fans the most excited. Martin wrote that he hopes to start traveling again next year, when "both COVID-19 and The Winds of Winter will be done," which implies he plans to finish writing the book in 2021.
However, he pointed out there's still much to do:
But no, this does not mean that the book will be finished tomorrow or published next week. It’s going to be a huge book, and I still have a long way to go... Way, way back in 1999, when I was deep in the writing of A Storm of Swords, I was averaging about 150 pages of manuscript a month. I fear I shall never recapture that pace again.
Fans will just have to continue waiting until Martin is ready to release his version of GOT's events. Meanwhile, House of the Dragon is expected to premiere on HBO in 2022.