The Winds of Winter is coming... at some point at least. Like the invading White Walkers—who still haven't made their way south of the Wall after five books—Martin's sixth A Song of Ice and Fire novel has been taking the long scenic route toward publication. While the much-delayed novel still isn't finished, Martin took to still-extant blog platform LiveJournal to tell fans about the release of a sample chapter to tide them over.
The new chapter is from the viewpoint of Princess Arianne of Dorne. If you are a Game of Thrones watcher trying to remember who the hell Arianne is, don't bother. Arianne was cut entirely from the HBO show. Indeed, the entire Dorne plot in the TV adaptation is the storyline with the biggest divergence from the books.
Unsurprisingly, the show's Dorne story has been the most widely hated by fans and critics. Did Martin release this chapter as a not-too-subtle dig at the TV show? Maybe he is telling fans, "See, here's some actually cool Dorne stuff. Maybe those TV writers need my books after all!"
On his blog, Martin introduced the chapter by saying, "You want to know what the Sand Snakes, Prince Doran, Areo Hotah, Ellaria Sand, Darkstar, and the rest will be up to in Winds of Winter? Quite a lot, actually."
Meanwhile, on the TV show, half of those characters were killed in a very quick and fairly silly couple of scenes and then haven't been heard from again. It has felt as if the Game of Thrones writers realized they ruined that entire storyline and just thought, Let's kill them off and use the space for more evil Ramsay scenes! I wouldn't be surprised if next episode the few remaining Dornish characters die on the way back to their homeland.
For those who love the multiple intricate plots and schemes of the Dornish book characters, the new sample chapter will be a huge relief. Does the new chapter mean the full book is almost done? If you think so, you know less than even Jon Snow. Martin has been releasing sample chapters of The Winds of Winter since 2013 and still no book in sight.
This chapter, in fact, is one he has read before at conventions, so it isn't even technically new. On his blog, Martin made sure to quash any fan dreams that this chapter release means the book is near publication: "And no, just to spike any bullshit rumors, changing the sample chapter does NOT mean I am done. See the icon up above?"—referring to a picture of Martin with a monkey on his shoulders—"Monkey is still on my back... but he's growing, he is, and one day..." For now, you'll have to enjoy this spring weather and hope Winter will arrive before the year is done.
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