Game of Thrones fans, here’s the good news first: George R.R. Martin’s editor, Anne Groell, hinted that the author’s beloved A Song of Ice and Fire series (the source material for the popular HBO show) could have eight books instead of the planned seven, The Guardian reports. The bad news? Considering Martin’s notoriously slow writing process — which may be partly blamed on the boot-up time of his DOS computer — you’d have to wait even longer to see how this saga wraps up.
Groell teased the possibility of an eighth novel during a Q&A with fans while recalling how the saga evolved from a trilogy into a seven book series: “I remember when he called me, years and years back, to confess that his little trilogy was…well…no longer a trilogy. He predicted four books. I said Seven Books for Seven Kingdoms. Then he said five books. I said Seven Books for Seven Kingdoms. Then he went to six. I said…well, you get it. Finally, we were on the same page: Seven Books for Seven Kingdoms. Good. Only, as I recently learned while editing The World of Ice and Fire (another awesome thing you must buy when it comes out!), there are really technically eight kingdoms, all having to do with who has annexed what when Aegon the Conqueror landed in Westeros. So, maybe eight books for Seven Kingdoms would be okay.” (The World of Ice and Fire is not part of the series itself, but an upcoming companion that details the vast world the novels are set in.)
Martin is currently under contract for just seven books, and his U.K. publisher, Jane Johnson, said she couldn’t confirm whether or not there would actually be more, saying, “[I]n all honesty only George knows how many books there will be in the series and he’s not saying: indeed at this stage of the writing, with the many branching pathways of the characters’ stories still to intersect, he may not know.” Johnson even admitted she couldn’t imagine how Martin was going to tie up all of the saga’s loose ends in just two more books, but cracked: “[I]f George continues to kill off characters in his usual ruthless fashion it could easily be over in the planned seven books!”
Martin’s last Song of Ice and Fire novel, A Dance with Dragons, was published in 2011, and there’s still no release date for its follow-up, The Winds of Winter. “When I have a [publication] date, you will have a date,” Groell said during the Q&A, adding she’s working on the book now with Martin, and it is “amazing.”
Martin did, however, graciously gift fans a new chapter, “Mercy,” from The Winds of Winter back in March, which you can still read on his website. Also be sure to read our extensive interview with the Game of Thrones creator, and keep up with our weekly recaps of the TV show (or you could let Snoop Dogg and Seth Rogen take you through the most recent episodes).