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'Game of Thrones' book readers bummed when publication date denied

Fans had high hopes after Amazon France showed a release date for in George R.R. Martin's "Winds of Winter," but the publisher says ha ha ha boo hoo hoo.

Daenerys Targaryen and her dragons will return to HBO next year, but there's still no word on when they'll grace a new book.
Screenshot by Michael Franco/CNET

Winter is coming. Crawling. Meandering, really. Winter will get here when it darn well feels like it.

At least that's how it feels for those who've been eagerly awaiting the next jillion-page tome in George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" book series, which has been famously adapted into HBO's "Game of Thrones."

Hopeful fans learned this week that winter is still coming. But not in spring.

There've been no end of rumors as to when Martin will finish up book six, titled "The Winds of Winter." It's been a long five-year drought since book five, "A Dance With Dragons," came out in 2011, and many hoped hoping Martin was on a five-year schedule and we'd see the new book in 2016. But as 2016 steamed toward its own winter, it became clear that wasn't happening.

And then! Vive la France! Amazon France put up a listing for the new book claiming an actual release date, March 2017, several months before the show returns to HBO. Some poor web programmer in Paris is probably unemployed this week, because Random House has now denied that date is correct.

"As his publisher, we support George R.R. Martin as he works hard to finish 'The Winds of Winter,'" Random House said in a statement obtained by Entertainment Weekly. "Any on-sale dates currently listed online for the novel are incorrect. Once we have a publication date for 'The Winds of Winter,' the world will know."

Martin has been doling out chapters from the new book, with the latest excerpt in May focusing on Arianne Martell, niece of Oberyn. (A fan has gathered all the released excerpts online.) And the author has repeatedly said that when the book is finished, he will announce the news with no secrecy or tricks.

"I don't play games with news about the books," Martin wrote on his blog back in 2014. "I know how many people are waiting, how long they have been waiting, how anxious they are. I am still working on Winds. When it's done, I will announce it here. There won't be any clues to decipher, any codes or hidden meanings, the announcement will be straightforward and to the point."

So, George, what day would that be again?