Shaunna Murphy
Updated Jan 11, 2017 @ 9:45 am
Credit: HBO

Though the wait for Game of Thrones Season 7 is undoubtedly agonizing, some good news has finally added a silver lining to these dark, storm(born)-y clouds: George R. R. Martin says The Winds of Winter might be coming in 2017.

I think it will be out this year,” he wrote in response to a fan question on his blog, in a post titled “Doom, Despair, Defeat.” “(But hey, I thought the same thing last year).”

The fan in question stated that they didn’t want Martin, who infamously writes very slowly, “to rush or [sic] release anything untill [sic] you are completely satisfied with it,” but would love an update about the highly-anticipated sixth chapter in Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, as he hadn’t said a word in about a year.

In response, Martin wrote that the book is “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.”

Last year, on January 2nd, Martin wrote a lengthy update apologizing for his speed in publishing Winter, as the last book in the series, A Dance with Dragons, came out way, way back in July of 2011, and this meant that Game of Thrones Season 6 would actually move past Martin’s source material.

“You’re disappointed, and you’re not alone,” he wrote. “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.”

This means that, when Winds of Winter finally arrives, it will look a whole lot different than the world you see on HBO. Already the show has majorly diverted from the books — Stannis and his family are still alive on the page, Jon and Sansa are separated, and Cersei’s younger two kids are still kickin’, too, and that’s seriously just naming a few — which undoubtedly puts extra pressure on Martin to make the books really, really good. (Game of Thrones Season 6, especially its finale, was critically well received — and largely for making necessary cuts to Martin’s sprawling work, and speeding along some timelines.)

So while we of course hope 2017 will finally be it, we’re glad Martin acknowledged that he tends to say “soon” a whole lot, and that so far “soon” has taken well over five years. It would be incredible (but also confusing?) to have Winds of Winter coincide with the (also delayed) Season 7 premiere of Thrones (which will be sometime this summer), but given the sheer amount of times we’ve gone down this road before, many fans on reddit are calling Martin The Boy who Cried Direwolf.

“Well, I’ve finally reached the point where not even a tiny part of me believes him. 2018 it is,” one wrote.

“Considering recent events: is this fake news?” quipped another.

Sadly, they both have a point. So while everything inside us is bursting to jump up and down and scream with joy, we’re forcing ourselves to remain as cautious as we’d be at a House Frey dinner party.