HBO's 'Game Of Thrones' Season 5 - San Francisco PremiereAuthor Game of Thrones," has been notoriously tight-lipped about progress on the long-awaited sixth novel in the anthology, "The Winds of Winter." And while a new update from the writer has some fans believing that the tome could finally see the light of day this year, Martin's words strongly suggest that we shouldn't hold our breaths, either.

Martin made his first statement in many months about progress on "Winter" while replying to a recent comment on his blog. The author initially wasn't going to say anything about the book (the post in question was lamenting the playoffs loss of his beloved NFL team, the New York Giants, and "Thrones" getting shut out at the Golden Globe Awards), but a fan decided to ask Martin for some news on box six anyway -- and Martin actually responded.

Noting that his vague comments probably wouldn't make much difference to fans anyway, Martin nonetheless offered what little he could by way of an update. And while his reply contains a tentative plan to release the tome sometime in 2017, there's also plenty of caution thrown in to dampen the optimism.

Here's what the author had to say about the status of "Winds of Winter":

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.

I think it will be out this year. (But hey, I thought the same thing last year).

Martin makes it clear that this is really a non-update update, and his refusal to commit to a finish date -- let alone a release date -- should indicate just how unofficial a potential 2017 release should be considered. While we've been briefly fooled before by past promises of a spring 2016 release and a March 2017 release, we know better than to expect anything concrete until Martin and/or his publishers publicly announce a publication date.

The moral of the story: "Winter" is coming. We just have no idea when.

[via: George R.R. Martin, h/t Esquire]