Happy day, Game of Thrones fans! Author George R.R. Martin released a new 6,000-word chapter from his eventually-coming sixth book Winds of Winter, told from the POV of character "Mercy." Here, take a read.
The chapter release from the notoriously slow-writing Martin is a good way to hype the coming HBO season and satiate A Song of Ice and Fire fans desperate for the next book. "With season 4 of HBO's GAME OF THRONES almost upon us, I thought the time was ripe for me to give my readers another taste of WINDS OF WINTER," Martin wrote on his personal blog. Since A Dance with Dragons arrived on bookshelves in 2011, Martin has released several other early chapters from Winds of Winter, both on his website and at conventions. Each chapter in Martin's Thrones books takes the point of view of a specific main character. Those already released from the sixth and penultimate book come from the points of view of Theon, Ser Barristan, Tyrion Lannister, and Arianne Martell.
But this chapter is told from the perspective of "Mercy," a name readers haven't encountered yet in the series. The chapter begins:
She woke with a gasp, not knowing who she was, or where.
The smell of blood was heavy in her nostrils… or was that her nightmare, lingering? She had dreamed of wolves again, of running through some dark pine forest with a great pack at her hells, hard on the scent of prey.
The image at the top of the excerpt, of the Titan of Braavos, gives a good hint as to the setting and the identity of the character. It's a bit like the first "Reek" chapter from A Dance with Dragons. There's a nice twist toward the end, too, but we'll let you figure that out yourselves. The sleuths at Reddit's r/ASOIAF also noticed a few more subtle references to events in book two that make the story all come together.
Just for good measure, The Guardian reached out to Martin's publisher to see if the author was any closer to coming out with the full Winds of Winter book. "[U]ntil George delivers, and I have no idea when that will be," publisher Jane Johnson said. Until then, here's the link to "Mercy" again.