Did George R.R. Martin Just Reveal A ‘The Winds of Winter’ Release Date?

Now that Game of Thrones is officially over, fans have been left divided. While some are happy with the way the series ended, there are many who feel betrayed by what they perceive as an unfaithful ending. And, regardless of how they feel about the show’s end, fans are still hungry for more Game of Thrones content. No one was really ready for the story to end.

Fans might be surprised to realize that A Dance With Dragons was released the same year the television show started, 2011. After eight long years of waiting, there’s hope on the horizon. George R.R. Martin may have just teased a potential release date for The Winds of Winter, the next installment in the A Song of Ice and Fire series — all thanks to Air New Zealand.

An invitation to visit

All of this comes after Air New Zealand put out a cheeky new ad calling for George R.R. Martin to drop all the pressure and escape to New Zealand to finish his latest book.

“We’ve noticed that between red carpets and talk show interviews you’re having a bit of trouble finishing your next Game of Thrones book, The Winds of Winter. The novel that the world is, let’s face it mate, absolutely fanging for now more than ever,” quips the ad. “So how are you meant to be creative when you’re probably as nervous as a Stark with a wedding invite? Fortunately, we’ve got the perfect solution. An epic trip to New Zealand on us.”

The ad goes on to extol the virtues of New Zealand, and honestly, it all does sound rather appealing. Good to know someone’s offering Martin a getaway to finish that novel.

George R.R. Martin’s response

Jacob Anderson, Conleth Hill, Nathalie Emmanuel, Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones
Jacob Anderson, Conleth Hill, Nathalie Emmanuel, Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones | Helen Sloan/HBO

On his website, Not a Blog, Martin responded to the ad. “I cannot say I was not tempted. New Zealand is a beautiful place. As it happens, I have already visited there a number of times. I’ve been to Auckland and Wellington and Christchurch and Rotoroa… and Hobbiton, of course.”

Martin went on to wax lyrical about some of his time spent in New Zealand, before suggesting that perhaps Air New Zealand make their offer for others less fortunate.

“Of course, I was especially moved by your offer to bring me to New Zealand “on us.” How wonderfully generous.  As it happens, I do have enough money to make it to New Zealand on my own… but there are many American writers, fans, and artists who do not.  If you’d care to fly, say, twenty or thirty or fifty of them to Wellington in place of me, I have no doubt they would instantly accept, and fall in love with Middle Earth.. er, New Zealand… just as I have.  And you have such big planes, I’m sure you could squeeze them in.”

But what about that release date?

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen and Iain Glen as Ser Jorah
Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen and Iain Glen as Ser Jorah | Helen Sloan/HBO

Martin knows how to hold out for the big news. At the end of his post, he left us sitting on a pretty exciting hint. Martin mentions that he’ll actually be returning to New Zealand soon, and perhaps with some excellent news.

Martin will be attending the World Science Fiction Convention in 2020 at Wellington, New Zealand. There, he’ll be officiating as the Toastmaster for the Hugo Awards, a high honor.

“And as it happens, I already have plans to return.  In the summer of 2020, Wellington is hosting the World Science Fiction Convention, the oldest and most important con in the SF/ fantasy calendar, and they’ve asked me to serve as Toastmaster for the Hugo Awards.  Writers, fans, and artists from all over the world will be headed down to check out all of your wonders. I hope lots of you Kiwis will join us,” writes Martin.

But that’s not all. Martin blessed us with what seems like a big promise. “As for finishing my book…I fear that New Zealand would distract me entirely too much. Best leave me here in Westeros for the nonce. But I tell you this — if I don’t have THE WINDS OF WINTER in hand when I arrive in New Zealand for worldcon, you have here my formal written permission to imprison me in a small cabin on White Island, overlooking that lake of sulfuric acid, until I’m done. Just so long as the acrid fumes do not screw up my old DOS word processor, I’ll be fine.”

Rejoice novel fans, it sounds like we might be seeing the latest installment of A Song of Ice and Fire as soon as summer 2020.