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Did George R.R. Martin’s THE WINDS OF WINTER’s Release Date Just Leak?

Could it be? Do those of us (im)patiently awaiting word when the next book in George R.R. Martin‘s series A Song of Ice and Fire will actually be released finally have something concrete to hold on to? Did the release date for The Winds of Winter just get leaked?

We came across this potentially wonderful news at Entertainment Weekly, and it appears that Amazon France is currently listing the book’s long (loooong) awaited release date as March 9th of 2017. That would give book readers plenty of time to not only catch up to HBO’s Game of Thrones, which passed the books last season story-wise, before season seven premieres some time next summer, but potentially get ahead, depending on where The Winds of Winter ends.

Of course, as any fan of Martin’s iconic work knows, never get too excited about anything related to the story, both in the real world and the world of Westeros, because no one is better at playing off our expectations and leaving us feeling gutted than he is, and we’ve been anticipating this book for awhile now.

After all Martin has said in the past he would announce the publication date for the book himself on his blog, and this is just one site listing this date. It could be a simple mistake, an overzealous fan at the company, or even a misunderstanding that led to a wrong–or worse imaginary–date being given.

So yes, there’s a million reasons to take a breath and wait to hear something far more concrete, either from the author himself or from one of his publishers (we reached out for comment from Penguin Random House, Martin’s U.S. publisher, but had not heard back at the time of publication).

But who needs that?

We’re allowed to be excited, and we’re allowed to let some hope overcome the often discussed fear among readers that, instead of The Winds of Winter simply being delayed, it would never be released. I don’t know a single fellow reader that hasn’t worried about Martin never finishing the series, making it so Game of Thrones will be the only conclusion we ever get to the story.

It would give us the big picture ending, but that wouldn’t be sufficient for those of us that have read the hundreds of thousands of pages he has written, with so many differences between the book and series.

For example, we want to see Martin’s version of the Battle of Winterfell, where Stannis is still alive and seemingly knows something Roose Bolton doesn’t. We need to see if Ser Davos can manage to bring Wyman Manderly his liege lord back in Rickon Stark. There’s a whole other realm where Mance Rayder is playing a secret role in bringing down House Bolton, and where Coldhands is not Benjen Stark, and someone is secretly going around Winterfell killing men and young boys.

Some questions have surely been answered. We know Jon Snow is coming back to life and what really happened at the Tower of Joy. It seems impossible for some events covered in season six on the show to be different from the what will happen in the books, but might Cersei’s psychotic destruction of the Sept of Baelor go the same way in the book, a book where her daughter Myrcella and Tommen are both still alive? So many people the show left out are converging on or pulling at Daenerys–Victarion, Moqorro, “Young Griff” and Jon Conington, the Golden Company–that only the books can ever tell us their fates, events which might greatly shape Daenerys as she marches towards Westeros.

There are so many people and events that we long to see again in the book (you know, like a compelling and interesting version of the Sand Snakes), that we’ll take this March 9th date and hold on to it because for too long we’ve been left in the dark, which is full of terrors.

Because as great as Game of Thrones is, it doesn’t include everything we love about the Seven Kingdoms and the world beyond the Narrow Sea. We have questions, and we want answers.

Especially since the books are where Lady Stoneheart lives, and this is the only way we’ll ever find out if Arya will have to kill her.

On the show winter is coming. Hopefully The Winds of Winter is about to show up too. Especially because we can’t get the 7th and final book without the 6th.

What are you most excited about for The Winds of Winter? What character or storyline are you most eager to read about that the show omitted or changed? We’re being hopeful today with this news, so join us in the comments below and share in that hope with us.

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