Technically, it’s the next A Song of Ice and Fire book. But with an audience supersized by the popularity of a certain HBO show that premieres its fourth season next week, the release of a sample chapter from George R.R. Martin’s upcoming The Winds of Winter was enough to break the author’s site for several hours. It’s brand-new material, never before heard at a reading or fan convention. We still don’t have a publication date yet — given the length of Martin’s books and his typical writing pace, we’ve likely still got a couple years to go — but this chapter’s enough to keep up our hopes that the wait will prove worth it. On to the overanalysis!
[Non-book readers: this is your obligatory MASSIVE SPOILER WARNING. Unless you want a good two seasons' worth of plot completely ruined, DON'T READ PAST THIS POINT. And please read the books. It makes watching the show even better, I promise.]