Has George R.R. Martin finished the next book in his Song of Ice and Fire series? There are rumors (which may be nothing more than wishful thinking) that he’s done writing The Winds of Winter and it will get an early 2016 publishing date.
As it stands, he’s not acting like someone way behind schedule on turning in the book. After cancelling a number of appearances earlier in the year, he made time to appear at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism to receive a Hall of Achievement alumni award.
That involved a ceremony and two talks with current Northwestern students. As you’d expect, there was a lot of Game of Thrones talk, including this interesting statement regarding how the saga will end. Via Vulture:
“I think you need to have some hope,” he said, referencing the manners in which sagas end. “We all yearn for happy endings in a sense. Myself, I’m attracted to the bittersweet ending. People ask me how Game of Thrones is gonna end, and I’m not gonna tell them … but I always say to expect something bittersweet in the end, like [J.R.R. Tolkien]. I think Tolkien did this brilliantly. I didn’t understand that when I was a kid — when I read Return of the King.”
Tolkien’s Return of the King ends slightly differently than the Peter Jackson movies. After the hobbits destroy the One Ring, they return to the Shire to find it in ruins – an allegory for post World War II Britain. I don’t blame Jackson for not including that part … his movie had enough endings after the end as it was. But it was an important theme in the last book, one that George R.R. Martin obviously picked up on and plans to play with in the conclusion of his own series.