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George R. R. Martin writing Winds of Winter under coronavirus lockdown

The next Game of Thrones book is coming.

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George R. R. Martin's coronavirus lockdown brings promising news for Game of Thrones readers.

Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO/Getty
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Many across the world have practiced social distancing in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19. Among those staying indoors is Game of Thrones mastermind George R. R. Martin, whose self-isolation may have led to a silver lining: progress on his long-awaited Winds of Winter novel.

"For those of you who may be concerned for me personally… yes, I am aware that I am very much in the most vulnerable population, given my age and physical condition," Martin posted to his blog, Not a Blog, on Tuesday.

"But I feel fine at the moment, and we are taking all sensible precautions."

The most exciting part: Martin wrote that, along with one of his members of staff, he's holed up in a "remote isolated location" where he's "spending more time in Westeros than in the real world, writing every day.

"Things are pretty grim in the Seven Kingdoms… but maybe not as grim as they may become here."

This is stunning news for those of us awaiting the sixth novel in Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire epic fantasy series.

The author has been working on the latest book for around eight years, periodically pushing its expected publication date back as he worked on other projects, including the now cancelled Game of Thrones prequel series for HBO. His last novel, A Dance with Dragons, took him six years to write.

Mid-last year, Martin promised he'd bring the finished manuscript for Winds of Winter to sci-fi convention Worldcon in New Zealand, due to take place July 29.

"If I don't have The Winds of Winter in hand when I arrive in New Zealand for Worldcon, you have here my formal written permission to imprison me in a small cabin on White Island, overlooking that lake of sulfuric acid, until I'm done," he wrote on his blog.

We may not be able to hold him to that. The coronavirus outbreak has seen Australia ban all international travel, while in the US COVID-19 has spread to all 50 states. Several Disneyland theme parks have shuttered, along with the cancellations of major events, from E3 to Coachella.

As Martin writes at the end of his blog post, "Let us hope we all come through this safe and sound. Stay well, my friends. Better to be safe than sorry."

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