George R.R. Martin teases 'Winds of Winter': More deaths, betrayals, weddings -- Exclusive

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The Winds of Winter is coming. And when it arrives, author George R.R. Martin says the next installment in his best-selling A Song of Ice and Fire saga will feature even more heartbreaking twists. Even more deaths, betrayals and—perhaps more frightening of all—more weddings!

(The ultra spoiler-sensitive who wish to know nothing about Martin’s upcoming book, or those who are not caught up on Martin’s storyline, should probably stop reading here. This means you, fans of HBO’s Game of Thrones who have not yet picked up Martin’s A Feast for Crows or A Dance with Dragons).

“I think we’re gonna start out with a big smash with the two enormous battles,” Martin says. Presumably one of those battles refers to the clash between Ramsay’s army and Stannis’s forces in the North (the outcome of which was described in Ramsay’s letter in ADWD—perhaps falsely?—but not actively shown), while the other takes place across the narrow sea when Yunkai attacks Meereen in an attempt to overthrow Daenerys.

In addition, Martin says, “We have more deaths, and we have more betrayals. We have more marriages.” Let the speculation begin.

As he’s noted before, Martin says the Dothraki are coming back into the story (“in a big way”), and he says “a lot of stuff is happening at The Wall.”

I also asked Martin about one extremely eagerly anticipated character pairing: Tyrion and Daenerys. What will their interaction be like?

“Well, Tyrion and Dany will intersect, in a way, but for much of the book they’re still apart,” he says. “They both have quite large roles to play here. Tyrion has decided that he actually would like to live, for one thing, which he wasn’t entirely sure of during the last book, and he’s now working toward that end—if he can survive the battle that’s breaking out all around him. And Dany has embraced her heritage as a Targaryen and embraced the Targaryen words. So they’re both coming home.”

That “coming home” should get fans excited—unless Martin was merely speaking metaphorically. (The Targaryen words are “Fire and Blood.”)

As for the question you’re all shouting at your screen: When does the book come out? We checked with Martin’s publisher, and the date is still as big a mystery as the identity of Jon Snow’s mother. But Martin’s next book in the SOIAF universe, The World of Ice and Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the World of Game of Thrones, will be released in October. As always, you can follow Martin’s progress over on his “not-a-blog.”

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