'Winds of Winter' takes priority over new HBO prequel, says George R.R. Martin

The author said he won't pen any scripts for 'House of the Dragon' until he finishes the novel.

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George R.R. Martin is buckling down, vowing to finally finish the long-awaited next (but not even final!) book in his Song of Ice and Fire series, The Winds of Winter. Naturally, the author didn’t reveal a precise release date, but did emphasize in a recent blog post that finishing the novels is the most pressing priority among his many projects.

It’s been an eventful few days for Game of Thrones enthusiasts. The people of r/freefolk rejoiced as former showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss left — or were booted from — a future Star Wars trilogy. Shortly thereafter, HBO announced it wouldn’t be moving forward with the “Long Night” prequel starring Naomi Watts and helmed by Jane Goldman. In an unexpected switcheroo, the premium cable network confirmed a different Game of Thrones spinoff: House of the Dragon.

Martin will co-executive produce House of the Dragon, and said that he might write a few episodes in the future: “I expect to be involved in all of this to some extent… and, who knows, if things work out, I may even be able to script a few episodes, as I did for the first four seasons of Game of Thrones.

However, as though he could anticipate the sound of millions of eyes rolling in unison, Martin asserted that wrapping up ASOIAF is the most important thing on his to-do list. “Let me make this perfectly clear… I am not taking on any scripts until I have finished and delivered Winds of Winter,” he explained. “Winter is still coming, and Winds remains my priority, as much as I’d love to write an episodes [sic] of House.”

It sounds as though the series premiere of House of the Dragon is still a long way off, which means Martin will have plenty of time to devote to the novel series. “There’s a writer’s room to be assembled, episodes to be broken down and scripted, a cast and crew to be assembled, budgets and production details to be worked out,” he explained.

Over the last few months, Martin has given mixed signals about his urgency in finishing the novels. Back in April, he told 60 Minutes that “it was a blow” when the HBO adaptation caught up to the books. After the series finale aired over the summer, he told Entertainment Weekly that he wasn’t feeling much pressure to finish anymore, sounding a little relieved that “there’s no longer a race.”

At an August appearance in London, Martin clarified that he wrote Fire and Blood before finishing Winds of Winter, because it was necessary to flesh out some the planned HBO prequels. “It includes material in it that is going to be the basis of some of these successor shows, so maybe we should get it out first” he explained. “They agreed, so they said, ‘Yeah, finish that one and then go back to Winds of Winter.’”

Winds of Winter still, sadly, does not have a confirmed release date.