George R.R. Martin
Author George R.R. Martin, pictured here at the Season 3 premiere party for “Game of Thrones” in Los Angeles March 18, 2013, has been hard at work in an attempt to complete the sixth book in his series of novels. Getty Images

“Game of Thrones” Season 6 is going to be unique in the history of the HBO series. In addition to continuing to attract massive amounts of attention from fans, the show in 2016 will mark the very first time that it has outpaced its source material, George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series, which has prompted many to wonder what’s taking the latest novel so long.

At this point, fans of “Game of Thrones” know that Martin is a notoriously slow writer. Since the first book in the series came out in 1996, the author has slowly hunted and pecked his way through the seven-part saga, in recent years with HBO trudging on with its TV adaptations. Sadly, he’s taking a bit of extra time on the sixth novel in the series, “The Winds of Winter,” and Season 6 will mark the first time that those who watch the show will know more than those who read the books.

Previously, fans wondered whether the reason the novel is taking so long is because Martin, who hasn’t published a new book in about five years, simply hasn’t been writing it. Since the HBO drama began picking up international acclaim, the author’s life has been decidedly busier. However, when he posted on his personal blog that “The Winds of Winter” wouldn’t be done in time for Season 6, he addressed rumors about his purported sloth, calling them “the usual garbage internet journalism that I have learned to despise.” The author went on to note that he has hundreds of pages and dozens of chapters written, but that doesn’t mean the novel is anywhere close to finished.

To prove he’s still hard at work delivering fans the source material they love, Martin has posted several excerpts of the book in progress, including chapters from the perspectives of Arianne, Arya, Sansa, Theon and others. The author previously sent a single-paragraph excerpt to Entertainment Weekly from the point of view of Tyrion Lannister after the battle of Meereen. And he has even read a few chapters at various conventions and public events.

“Of course, I have pages. I had pages five years ago,” Martin recently told Deadspin. “How anyone can believe I don’t defies belief.”

Aside from its slow path to creation, little is known about the sixth book in the series. However, Martin has already confessed that being behind the show and its choices for the first time has allowed him some creative liberty to give fans of the novels something more than those who just watch the TV show. For example, the author has decided to employ a plot twist in the books that heavily relies on a character to be killed on the TV show. He wasn’t able to give many specifics, but the fact of the matter is that Martin is continuing to write the novel, and will hopefully make it worth the wait by the time it finally hits store shelves. Then, of course, it’s on to the seventh, and last, book in the series.