George RR Martin has let slip a possibly vital piece of information on his blog, called Not A Blog, saying that his colossal series, A Song Of Ice And Fire will be just seven books after all.
This will be a huge relief to fans who have been waiting years for him to finish book six - a task he has promised to do this year.
Earlier, while talking about the Hugo Awards (sci-fi and fantasy's equivalent to the Oscars), he mused on his work, writing:
"I don't consider A SONG OF ICE & FIRE to be a series, not as I define the word ... I consider A SONG OF ICE & FIRE to be one single gigantic story published in multiple volumes. (Seven, I hope)."
That triggered palpitations among fans who are already concerned the 68-year-old fantasy writer may never finish his long-running series, with his book seven A Dream of Spring, not expected out until at least 2023.
With the producers of Game Of Thrones unable to finish the TV series in seven seasons - and they condense all the books anyway - the fear is there can be no way for Martin to wrap up the myriad storylines without going to an eighth book.
Martin's hint that he may struggle to finish it in seven just made those fears worse.
But now comes a different word from Martin, again on his Not A Blog, as he discussed the return of the TV series.
"Seven gods, seven kingdoms, seven books (eventually) ... seven seasons," he wrote.
While not a cast-iron guarantee, it is far more definite than his earlier equivocations.
Interestingly, he also delivers his verdict on season six, writing that fans should nominate episodes The Door and The Battle Of The Bastards for the Hugo awards.
"The episodes most likely to make this year's (extremely competitive) ballot are "The Door" and "Battle of the Bastards" IMNSHO (In My Not So Humble Opinion)."
That may give us an idea that he is looking forward to actually writing those parts of Winds Of Winter ...