UPDATE: George R.R. Martin's U.S. publisher, Random House, issued a statement to Entertainment Weekly refuting Amazon France's listing of a March 2017 release date for "The Winds of Winter." The statement says:
"As his publisher, we support George RR Martin as he works hard to finish The Winds of Winter. Any on-sale dates currently listed online for the novel are incorrect. Once we have a publication date for The Winds of Winter, the world will know."
Our original report speculating about the veracity of that date (spoiler alert: we weren't exactly optimistic that it was correct) is below.
"Game of Thrones" fans will have to wait longer than usual for the next season of the show to premiere, but they may have something to help tide them over in the meantime: The next installment in George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series, the inspiration behind the hit HBO show.
Amazon France just posted a listing for the long-awaited sixth book in the series, "The Winds of Winter," with a release date of March 9, 2017. As of 2 p.m. EST Tuesday, the listing was still live. (UPDATE: The listing has since been edited to remove the release date entirely, reflecting the above statement from Random House.)
So is this legit, or are fans being scammed? It's almost certainly the latter, though that hasn't stopped "GOT" faithful from getting their hopes up anyway, as they prepare for the interminable wait for new episodes (due out sometime during summer 2017). Of course, there are a bunch of factors working against the theory that this is the actual release date, namely that Martin himself has yet to say anything about it -- and he's insisted in the past that any real news about the book will come straight from him before it's revealed anywhere else.
Then there's the fact that we've been burned by similar news before, like when the Spanish publisher of the "Song of Ice and Fire" books insisted back in September 2015 that the tome was due out sometime in spring 2016. And as we know by now, that didn't turn out to be true at all.
Entertainment Weekly is reporting that Martin's UK publisher, HarperCollins, told one news outlet (EW didn't specify which) that "nothing has been finalized regarding the publication or the date." That may be deflection, but it's probably true. After all, it's been more than five years since the last "Ice and Fire" novel, "A Dance With Dragons," hit shelves; winter may finally have arrived on the show, but it's anyone's guess when "Winter" will actually appear.