Season 5 of the Game of Thrones, which is currently being watched by nerds across the world, started on the 12th of April this year. With it brought despair amongst fans of both it and the series of books it was based on: George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Many feared that the series would catch up and surpass its source material, either creating spoilers for both fans of the show and the book, or a massive rift in the lore.

Looking at the release dates of the books reveals the reason: Mr. Martin seems to have fallen behind somewhat…

A Game of Thrones (1996)

A Clash of Kings (1998)

A Storm of Swords (2000)

A Feast for Crows (2005)

A Dance with Dragons (2011)

…While the show marches on steadily:

Game of Thrones Season 1 (2011)

Game of Thrones Season 2 (2012)

Game of Thrones Season 3 (2013)

Game of Thrones Season 4 (2014)

Game of Thrones Season 5 (2015)

With each episode of the series running for ten episodes at about an hour each it’s no surprise that the body of work they’re drawing from is beginning to look anaemic.

If the pattern created by the show continues, Season 6 will air early in 2016 – and right now, there’s almost nothing be base it on.

“The Winds of Winter”, the book to follow “A Dance with Dragons” has been delayed time and time again and many have stopped believing it would ever be released  – or if Martin would finish the story at all.

But fans can rejoice.

“I wish it was out now. Maybe I’m being overly optimistic about how quickly I can finish,” said Martin, “but I canceled two convention appearances, I’m turning down a lot more interviews—anything I can do to clear my decks and get this done.”

He also turned down being part of the writing team for Season 6, and he is doing “anything he can” to get the new book published beforehand.

If you’ve been let down before by promises like this, steel yourself with an excerpt from The Winds of Winter.