It's now January 2016 and "Game of Thrones" Season 6 starts in April, so at this point it's not too shocking to hear "The Winds of Winter" -- the next book in author George R. R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series -- is not going to come out in time.

But it is a bit surprising to see the author take to his blog at the start of the year to offer a detailed explanation on why Book 6 isn't ready.

Here's a portion of GRRM's January 2 blog post, titled "Last Year (Winds of Winter)":

THE WINDS OF WINTER is not finished.

Believe me, it gave me no pleasure to type those words. You're disappointed, and you're not alone. My editors and publishers are disappointed, HBO is disappointed, my agents and foreign publishers and translators are disappointed... but no one could possibly be more disappointed than me. For months now I have wanted nothing so much as to be able to say, "I have completed and delivered THE WINDS OF WINTER" on or before the last day of 2015.

But the book's not done.

Nor is it likely to be finished tomorrow, or next week. Yes, there's a lot written. Hundreds of pages. Dozens of chapters. (Those 'no pages done' reports were insane, the usual garbage internet journalism that I have learned to despise). But there's also a lot still left to write. I am months away still... and that's if the writing goes well. (Sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn't.) Chapters still to write, of course... but also rewriting. I always do a lot of rewriting, sometimes just polishing, sometimes pretty major restructures.

I suppose I could just say, "Sorry, boys and girls, still writing," and leave it at that. "It will be done when it's done." Which is what I have been doing, more or less, since... well, forever. But with season 6 of GAME OF THRONES approaching, and so many requests for information boiling up, I am going to break my own rules and say a little more, since it would appear that hundreds of my readers, maybe thousands or tens of thousands, are very concerned about this question of 'spoilers" and the show catching up, revealing things not yet revealed in the books, etc.

My publishers and I have been cognizant of these concerns, of course. We discussed some of them last spring, as the fifth season of the HBO series was winding down, and came up with a plan. We all wanted book six of A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE to come out before season six of the HBO show aired. Assuming the show would return in early April, that meant THE WINDS OF WINTER had to be published before the end of March, at the latest. For that to happen, my publishers told me, they would need the completed manuscript before the end of October. That seemed very do-able to me... in May. So there was the first deadline: Halloween.

Unfortunately, the writing did not go as fast or as well as I would have liked. You can blame my travels or my blog posts or the distractions of other projects and the Cocteau and whatever, but maybe all that had an impact... you can blame my age, and maybe that had an impact too...but if truth be told, sometimes the writing goes well and sometimes it doesn't, and that was true for me even when I was in my 20s. And as spring turned to summer, I was having more bad days than good ones. Around about August, I had to face facts: I was not going to be done by Halloween. I cannot tell you how deeply that realization depressed me..."

Oh, my sweet summer child. No worries. Just make it good! Quality > Punctuality

The most recently published book, "A Dance With Dragons," came out in 2011. So GRRM is still on the same track when it comes to TWOW. Sample chapters have already been revealed from the new book -- one being from Arianne Martell, who isn't even on the HBO show at this point. So that's a clue that the show and the book are so diverged that the text wouldn't even give us that many tips on what's ahead. And it's kind of cool to all be in the dark together as Season 6 approaches. We have hints on what's to come from stuff that hasn't been covered from previous books, assumptions from past events, and maybe a few filming spoilers, but there are going to be equal-opportunity surprises for book readers and casuals, which makes this arguably the most highly anticipated season to date.

That's not to say we're not also "disappointed" that "Winds of Winter" isn't ready, but only because we want the new book to read, not to use it as a road map for the new season.

Are you disappointed, empathetic, apathetic?

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