George RR Martin has confirmed it: the sixth book in his A Song of Ice and Fire series, upon which Game of Thrones is based, will not be released before the sixth season of the TV show. That means Game of Thrones will spoil The Winds of Winter.
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I do believe this is unprecedented in the world of adaptation. I know that Scott Pilgrim vs the World was being shot while Bryan Lee O'Malley was still finishing up his comic book series upon which it was based, but O'Malley managed to get his final volume into stores a month before the movie hit theaters. The comic and the movie diverged pretty extensively at the end, leaving each a separate experience. I don't think Game of Thrones is going that far off book - it's certainly condensing and moving pieces around, but the big picture remains largely the same.
This turns the table of book readers, who have known what was going to happen on the TV series all along - who lived, who died, who was good and who was bad. They had hand. Now they have no hand. And I suspect that TV viewers will be merciless in spoiling what happens in what I'm assuming will be a big season - it's basically the penultimate chapter. What's probably worse is that many book readers dislike the show because of the changes it has made, and so they're getting spoiled by a thing they hate. It must burn.
The person I feel worst for is George RR Martin. Who could have seen this coming, except everyone who had been reading the books all these years? I respect Martin, and I think that he should continue to write at the pace that works for him - you can't rush the prose. At the same time I wonder how this will impact the remaining two novels - will he pivot the plot to avoid replicating what we will see on TV? Will he change things up just to make the books feel fresher? Maybe this will impact how he writes, as he realizes no one will want to wade through dozens of pages of descriptions of meals and nipples just to get to the plot points that they already know from TV.
Anyway, here's the metaphorical death of print, as the bestseller series finds itself eclipsed by the TV adaptation in every conceivable way.