Game of Thrones may finish before The Winds of Winter comes out

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However. Martin says that a book on the history of fictional world Westeros called Fire & Blood will be available to purchase this year.

Basically, we now know we're not getting The Winds of Winter until next year at the very earliest.

George R.R. Martin has announced that The Winds of Winter, his long-awaited sixth book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series (on which the hit HBO show Game of Thrones is based), will not be published this year. The book is the first of two parts that describe the history of the Targaryens - the house of Daenerys Targaryen that was famous for its friendly relationship with dragons.

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Bantam Spectra and HarperCollins Voyager will release the Fire & Blood hardcover on November 20.

Martin wrote on his blog that readers will not be getting the next book in the series because he's taken time out to write another book chronicling the history of Westeros. I know I am going to be asked whether those shows are going to be based on material from FIRE & BLOOD.

In addition to the 989 manuscript pages of content, the book will also feature illustrations by Doug Wheatly. For those not up on your Westerosi history, that's Aegon I, Aenys, Maegor the Cruel, Jaehaerys I (the Conciliator), Viserys I, Aegon II (and Rhaenyra), and Aegon III (the regency). "This is not a traditional narrative and was never meant to be... let's call this one 'imaginary history" instead.

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"Oh, and there are dragons, too", Martin added.

And for those following the planned Game of Thrones prequels being developed by HBO, the author hinted that there might be some overlap.

There's plenty to speculate on as to why Martin would be holding off on finishing the Winds of Winter, but the most likely could be that he's waiting for the HBO series to conclude first (which it will do next year). While Martin never put a precise launch date on The Winds of Winter, there was a hope that at least one more book would be out before the end of Game of Thrones.

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Game of Thrones Season 8 will air in 2019.