It appears that for the first time in the history of HBO's Game of Thrones, fans will really have no idea what's coming, other than winter, of course, when season six rolls in this spring.
The reason? All past seasons were largely based on creator George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels. However, the new season will outpace the book series for the first time, as the sixth book, The Winds of Winter, has still not been released—and won't be anytime soon. Martin shared an update about the book on his Livejournal blog on Saturday.
"You wanted an update. Here's the update. You won't like it," he wrote. "The Winds of Winter is not finished."
"Believe me, it gave me no pleasure to type those words," he continued. "For months now I have wanted nothing so much as to be able to say, 'I have completed and delivered The Winds of Winter on or before the last day of 2015. But the book's not done. Nor is it likely to be finished tomorrow, or next week."
Excerpts from The Winds of Winter have been released since 2011, most recently last April. Martin wrote on his blog he had failed to meet two deadlines to complete the book, the most recent of which was the end of 2015.
He said "hundreds of pages" and "dozens of chapters" of The Winds of Winter have been written, but he is at least "months away" from completing the novel.
"I tried, I promise you," he wrote. "I failed. I blew the Halloween deadline, and I've now blown the end of the year deadline. And that almost certainly means that no, The Winds of Winter will not be published before the sixth season of Game of Thrones premieres in April (mid April, we are now told, not early April, but those two weeks will not save me)."
"Look, I have always had problems with deadlines," he said. "But I won't make excuses. There are no excuses. No one else is to blame...It's on me."
He also addressed another question fans have posed lately—will the show now "spoil" the novels?
"Maybe," Martin said. "Yes and no...Some of the 'spoilers' you may encounter in season six may not be spoilers at all...because the show and the books have diverged, and will continue to do so."
Martin has said the book series will be made up of at least seven novels. HBO's president of programming said last July Game of Thrones will probably end after eight seasons.
"Enjoy the show. Enjoy the books," Martin added. "Meanwhile, I'll keep writing. Chapter at a time. Page at a time. Word at a time. That's all I know how to do."