The 'new' Winds of Winter chapter released by George RR Martin is over two years old
Even as the Dorne storyline on Game of Thrones’ season six seems to have met with unmitigated viewer dislike, a “new” chapter released by writer George RR Martin has highlighted just how different the world of Prince Doran Martell is in the books as compared to the TV show.
Fans have obsessively sifted through the chapter — posted on GRR Martin's website — for any information at all that they can get about their favourite characters.
The chapter is written from the point of view of Arianne Martell, Prince Doran's daughter. While her character isn't even part of the TV show, in the books, she plays an important role in A Dance with Dragons and the upcoming Winds of Winter. The new chapter sees her travel in secret to Westeros, to find out as much as she can about the uprising led by Lord Connington and Aegon Targaryen (both characters who have not been included in the show by DB Weiss and David Benioff), and perhaps even to lend the support of Sunspear.
Much discussion around this new chapter has focussed on how this is better or worse than the happenings on the show; while some fans have asked yet again, when Winds of Winter is likely to be published.
GRRM has been staving off those queries for a while now, although the reveal of this new chapter seems to indicate that the author has control over his series.
Except for the worrying detail that he had released a chapter that seems to have been the direct predecessor to this one — all the way back in January 2013.
While we'd like very much to believe that GRRM only released this Arianne Matell chapter because the timing of it was propitious and coinciding with the show's own Dorne happenings, the less sanguine part of us wonders — what if he only released this chapter because he doesn't really have too many other chapters to share? (About nine have made appearances in some form online or at the author's public appearances.)
Yes, we know that GRRM may not want to give away any crucial chapters, and yes, we wholly agree with Neil Gaiman's assertion that "George RR Martin is not (our) bi**h" but consider this — GRRM has been writing this series since 1991 (the first book — Game of Thrones — was published in '96). That's about two-and-a-half decades. Dance with Dragons was published in 2011, and took the author five years to finish. Winds of Winter — believed to be another 1,500 page behemoth — has been in the works ever since.
With the HBO show cutting away large swathes of the narrative and several of the characters — for better or worse can be argued — the point is that the momentum of the books in the Song of Ice and Fire series may very well be lost.
Has the story of the Starks, Lannisters and Targaryens, of white walkers and dragons bloated so much that GRRM has wearied of bringing it to a conclusion? That's a question only he can answer.
As for us, dismay over old dates aside, we'll be waiting for newer chapters. And looking over every snippet from Winds of Winter released so far.