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George R.R. Martin's editor says 'A Song of Ice and Fire' may require eight books

"Game of Thrones," the first book in the series, was published in 1996.

By Annie Martin

NEW YORK, June 3 (UPI) -- George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire keeps getting longer and longer.

The 65-year-old author initially envisioned the series as a trilogy, but the amount of material eventually led to a seven-book estimate. Now, editor Anne Groell has revealed that the total may end up being eight.

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"Seven is what we currently have under contract," she recently wrote in a Suvudu fan forum. "Only, as I recently learned while editing The World of Ice and Fire, there are really technically eight kingdoms, all having to do with who has annexed what when Aegon the Conqueror landed in Westeros. So, maybe eight books for Seven Kingdoms would be okay."

The first book in the series, A Game of Thrones, was published in 1996. Martin has written five books so far, and fans anxiously await his followup to 2011's A Dance with Dragons. Groell says the author has made progress on the next installment, The Winds of Winter, but a release date remains uncertain.

"For TWOW, when I have a date, you will have a date," she promises. "All I can say is that George is hard at work, and we hope to have it reasonably soon. I currently have 168 pages that he submitted back in Feb 2013 in order to receive a contracted payment, but I know more exists, because he keeps talking about chapters he hasn't yet sent me."

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HBO adapted the novels for the television series Game of Thrones, which is currently in its fourth season.

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