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A LiveJournal post from George R. R. Martin this weekend came as a shock to many readers — both because of its content and because someone apparently still uses LiveJournal. In it, the author apologetically explains that his much-anticipated sixth book, The Winds of Winter, is not finished, nor will it be in time for the premiere of season six of HBO’s Game of Thrones, the hit series based on his books.

“The book is not done, not delivered,” he wrote. “No words can change that. I tried, I promise you. I failed.”

This marks the first time a hit adaptation will outpace its source material. It’s a landmark unique to the relatively new subgenre of small-screen adaptations. In the past, great books were made into mediocre movies. But Game of Thrones pioneered a new medium that allows for longer-form storytelling, more suited to book series.

It will be interesting to see how pacing factors in as more franchises — The Expanse, for example — follow the Game of Thrones model of adapting unfinished works.

Martin’s news comes as a disappointing blow for readers concerned about seeing spoilers in season six of the show. But, for what it’s worth, his lengthy mea culpa does seem sincere.

“Look, I have always had problems with deadlines…But I won’t make excuses,” he wrote. “There are no excuses. No one else is to blame. Not my editors and publishers, not HBO, not David & Dan. It’s on me. I tried, and I am still trying.”

Despite the bad news, Martin assures fans that Winter is coming…eventually.

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