The third book in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, A Storm of Swords, came out in 2000. The fourth, A Feast for Crows, was released five years later, then the fifth, A Dance with Dragons, six years after that, in 2011. By that faulty logic, The Winds of Winter should come out seven years later, so… 2018. That’s this year! Martin knows what he’s doing, or at least that’s what Game of Thrones diehards have to convince themselves during the long winter(s, and springs and summers and falls) until the next book is published.
No one knows when that is, but Martin did drop a possibility on his blog: maybe it’s taking this long because he’s not working on two more books (The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring), as has long been assumed, but three books?
In a post about the 2018 Hugo Awards, Martin wrote:
“The only writing I had published in 2017 was “The Sons of the Dragon,” which was published in THE BOOK OF SWORDS, Gardner Dozois’s massive anthology of original sword & sorcery stories. Like “The Rogue Prince” and “The Princess and the Queen” before it, “Sons” is more of my (fake) history of the Targaryen kings of Westeros… It has been pointed out to me that the publication of “The Sons of the Dragon” makes the entirety of A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE eligible to be nominated as Best Series. I suppose that’s so. All I can say to that is: please don’t. If you like fake history and enjoyed “The Sons of the Dragon,” by all means nominate the story as a novella… but it’s really not part of A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, and sneaking in the entire series by means of a technicality seems wrong to me.”
He later added, “I don’t consider A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE a series either; it’s one single story, being published in (we hope) seven volumes. FWIW, Tolkien wasn’t writing a series when he wrote LORD OF THE RINGS either. He wrote a big novel and his publisher divided it into three parts, none of which stands on its own.” It’s that “we hope” that caught the attention of Ice and Fire readers.
There’s either too little material for two books, which is extremely unlikely, or too much. If that’s the case, Martin can always do what he did for A Feast for Crows and divide the narrative that was originally intended for one book into two books (in this case, Feast and A Dance with Dragons). Or five books. Or 10 books. Martin created one of the most meticulously structured, in-depth fantasy universes in pop culture — he can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants (as long as it comes out before HBO’s Game of Thrones returns in 2019).