This year marks the first since HBO's Game of Thrones debuted in 2011 that fans won't get to see a new season, with the eighth and final season slated to arrive sometime in 2019. Some hoped this gap would be filled by the long-awaited release of George R.R. Martin's sixth book in this series, The Winds of Winter. Unfortunately, the author confirmed in a new blog post that The Winds of Winter won't be published in 2018, but he did announce that his new book Fire & Blood, a detailed "imaginary history" on the Targaryen family, will be released on November 20. Here's what the author had to say in an excerpt from his blog post.

"No, winter is not coming... not in 2018, at least. You're going to have to keep waiting for The Winds of Winter. You will, however, be able to return to Westeros this year, as I suggested back over on LiveJournal. Archmaester Gyldayne has at last completed and delivered the first half of his monumental history of the Targaryen kings of Westeros, Fire & Blood, and Bantam Spectra and HarperCollins Voyager will be releasing the hardcover on November 20, I am thrilled to say."

Martin has mentioned this Fire & Blood book in the past, and it had been confirmed in the past that it would debut at some point this year, but now there is a confirmed date for that book. Martin also confirmed that Fire & Blood is not an actual "novel" in and of itself, but he compared it to J.R.R. Tolkien's "massive histories of Middle Earth," delving through the entire history of the Targaryen family, from, "Aegon's Conquest to Robert's Rebellion." With that being said, Martin also acknowledged that this book could be used as fodder for the upcoming Game of Thrones prequels that HBO is developing. Here's what he had to say about the possibility of Fire & Blood being used for the upcoming prequel shows.

"Oh, and I should also say... as most of you know, HBO is presently developing a number of different prequels to Game of Thrones. I know I am going to be asked whether those shows are going to be based on material from Fire & Blood. It's a logical question. The only answer I can give is... ah, well, no one is sure yet, and anyway, I am not allowed to say. So let's move that to the side."

George R.R. Martin also released the first look at the American cover art for Fire & Blood, which you can check out below, but for those who have been waiting for The Winds of Winter since 2011, when he published his fifth book, A Dance of Dragons, that wait must continue. HBO hasn't announced when the final season of Game of Thrones will debut in 2019, so it's still possible that the sixth book will debut before the final season, but there is still no indication when the final book, A Dream of Spring, will be published either. You can take a look at the cover art for Fire & Blood below, and head over to GeorgeMartin.com/NotABlog for his full blog post.

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