Normally, the publishing date for a novel isn’t something we’d cover at The Playlist. We like to keep things primarily on film and television news. However, when you’re talking about George R.R. Martin and his upcoming novel “The Winds of Winter” (the second-to-last “Game of Thrones” book) it’s worth bringing to our readers’ attention. You see, it appears that after years and years and years of delays, the author has finally nailed down a deadline for his penultimate “A Song of Ice and Fire” novel.

Writing on his blog, Martin talked about how an airline in New Zealand was willing to fly him to the country to help him finish his upcoming novel. The author politely declined, but said that he’d be attending the New Zealand-hosted Worldcon event that beings July 29, 2020. And he goes on to make a promise that will likely excite many ‘Thrones’ fans.

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He wrote, “But I tell you this — 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. Just so long as the acrid fumes do not screw up my old DOS word processor, I’ll be fine.”

Obviously, what he wrote is laced with humor, as he’s wont to do on his blog, but the promise stands — Martin will have “The Winds of Winter” done by next summer. And if not, surely he will be banished to the small cabin for eternity.

This news comes on the heels of HBO’s controversial final season of “Game of Thrones,” which saw fans bitterly divided. The six-episode final season had a mixed reception from fans (to say the least), with many upset with the pacing of the episodes, as well as the finale’s reveals. This is what makes Martin’s two final ‘Thrones’ novels such a welcome treat.

LISTEN: ‘Game Of Thrones’: Breaking Down The Good, Bad & Ugly Of The Final Season [Podcast]

In many fans’ minds, there’s nothing that Martin could do that would be worse than what series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss gave us. If nothing else, the pacing should be better, as the author isn’t known for his brevity. And even if the person on the throne at the end of Martin’s books matches the HBO series, fans will likely be happier with a better explanation than the impassioned plea from Tyrion Lannister, which made almost zero sense.

Regardless, ‘Thrones’ fans can mark down July 29, 2020 as the new self-imposed deadline from Martin. Take it for what it’s worth.