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George R.R. Martin Just Set a Very Peculiar Winds of Winter Deadline Threat for Himself

George R.R. Martin at the 2018 Emmy Awards.
George R.R. Martin at the 2018 Emmy Awards.
Photo: Getty Images

Now that Game of Thrones is over for good, the focus is on when George R.R. Martin is finally going to complete his side of the story. Thanks to an airline’s offer to fly Martin out so he can have some peace and quiet to finish The Winds of Winter, he’s jokingly promised a deadline. If he doesn’t meet it, New Zealand gets to arrest him.


Martin recently blogged about a video Air New Zealand released, where they offered to fly him out to New Zealand for an epic workcation—giving him the space and inspiration needed to complete The Winds of Winter. Martin politely declined, noting how he’s been to New Zealand on multiple occasions, but added a suggestion that they extend the offer to Game of Thrones fans and up-and-coming writers who have less money than him.

However, there was one detail he included at the end of the post. He’s planning on returning to New Zealand in 2020 to serve as Toastmaster for Worldcon’s Hugo Awards—no date has been announced, but the event usually takes place in August. There, he promised he would finally have a completed edition of The Winds of Winter to present. If he doesn’t, New Zealand has permission to quarantine him until it’s finished:

As for finishing my book… I fear that New Zealand would distract me entirely too much. Best leave me here in Westeros for the nonce. But I tell you this — if I don’t have The Winds of Winter in hand when I arrive in New Zealand for Worldcon, you have here my formal written permission to imprison me in a small cabin on White Island, overlooking that lake of sulfuric acid, until I’m done. Just so long as the acrid fumes do not screw up my old DOS word processor, I’ll be fine.


There you have it. Martin says we can finally expect The Winds of Winter to be out by August 2020. That’s in addition to all of his other projects, including the Game of Thrones  prequel show he’s working on with Jane Goldman. If he doesn’t deliver on this announced release date (again or again or again), the people of New Zealand know what they have to do.

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Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.

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Just to say:

“The book is done being written in august 2020"

Does not mean

“The book will be edited, printed, bound, shipped, received through customs, trucked across your country, and available for purchase at a bookstore near you in august of 2020.”