'The Winds of Winter' is coming this year (probably), George R.R. Martin says

Good news, "Game of Thrones" fans: George R.R. Martin said that his long-awaited novel “The Winds of Winter” might be coming out this year. The book is the next installment of his "A Song of Ice and Fire" series that is the basis of the hit HBO show.

Martin made the tentative prediction in the comments section of his blog, responding to a fan who requested an update on "The Winds of Winter," the long-awaited sixth novel in the series.

"Not done yet, but I've made progress. But not as much as I hoped a year ago, when I thought to be done by now," Martin wrote. "I think it will be out this year.”

He added a caveat: "(But hey, I thought the same thing last year)."

The rare update from Martin was somewhat hidden in the comments section of a post titled "Doom, Despair, Defeat" — not about his books, or about President-elect Donald Trump, whom Martin famously loathes — but about the loss by his beloved New York Giants at the hands of the Green Bay Packers.

("I am now rooting for Whoever Plays the Cowboys and Whoever Plays the Patriots," Martin fumed. "And if we wind up with a Cowboy/ Patriot SuperBowl, I will be rooting for A Giant Asteroid Strikes Houston.")

Martin's fans have been waiting for "The Winds of Winter" since 2011, when the fifth book in the series, "A Dance with Dragons," was published. He's offered periodic updates on the book's progress, but they've been few and far between.

Last May, he posted a chapter from the upcoming book on his blog, but cautioned fans not to get too excited.

And last month, he told the audience at the Guadalajara International Book Fair in Mexico that they shouldn't get their hopes up for a happy ending when "The Winds of Winter" is finally released.

“Winter is the time when things die, and cold and ice and darkness fill the world, so this is not going to be the happy feel-good [book] that people may be hoping for," Martin said. "Some of the characters [are] in very dark places."

"Game of Thrones" fans who can't wait until later this year (at the earliest) for more tales from Westeros can look forward to the seventh season of the HBO show, however — it's scheduled to premiere this summer.

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