There are five books in the Song of Ice and Fire series. George R.R. Martin is at work on the sixth. Someday, he plans to do a seventh. But this week he hinted that it might take eight to get the whole thing done.
Martin published the first book in the saga, "A Game of Thrones," in 1996. "A Clash of Kings" came two years later in 1998, and "A Storm of Swords" two years after that.
Then things slowed down. The story had gotten bigger than Martin had planned and showed no signs of concluding. "A Feast for Crows" came in 2005. It was a six-year wait for 2011's "A Dance with Dragons."
As fans of the books and the HBO series know, winter is coming: Martin is now crafting Book 6, "The Winds of Winter." If he keeps writing along his recent trajectory, it won't hit shelves before 2016. After that, he's supposed to get to the series conclusion, "A Dream of Spring." But, after that, Martin admits, the seasons may continue to turn.
"My plan is to finish in seven," Martin told Entertainment Weekly. "But my original plan was to finish in three. I write the stories and they grow. I deal with certain things and sometimes I find myself not at the end of a story. My plan right now is still seven. But first I have to finish Book 6. Get back to me when I'm halfway through Book 7 and then maybe I'll tell you something more meaningful."