4 Questions We Need Answered in The Winds of Winter & A Dream of Spring

George R. R. Martin is known for two things, mainly:  his A Song of Ice and Fire series, and his inability to complete a novel in less than a few years. It’s true that Martin did just release an excerpt from his upcoming sixth book of the series, The Winds of Winter, but if anything this teaser has only made his fans more anxious for him to publish the work. It doesn’t help that the HBO show, Game of Thrones, is already set to premiere the fourth season this Sunday 6 April Sunday (the show will air at 9pm on HBO via local tv packages).

Fans are, unsurprisingly, worried that in just a few short years HBO producers D.B. Weiss and David Benioff have worked through the first four novels in Martin’s collection, with only one published novel remaining before heading into plot lines which Martin himself has yet to reveal to the general public.

Martin, who has been feeling the heat of the show’s much quicker pace, has thrown out multiple ideas as to how to extend the show without plunging into his unpublished source material. He’s been heard to suggest foraying into a prequel to A Song of Fire and Ice, using his Daenerys Targaryen side-stories as additional plot lines, or even waiting for a final Game of Thrones movie to “finish off the series.”

Unfortunately for Martin, Weiss and Benioff have done nothing but disregard this statements, and repeat that their initial game plan for the show, which will be to stick to seven, maximum eight seasons for the show, and no more. That means Martin, who was the butt of several April Fool’s jokes regarding his inability to finish the series, better get a move on before either (a) the show catches up to him (b) his less-than-ideal health kills him or (c) he dies of old age — the man is seventy!

On a bright note — perhaps more so for fans of the show— producers Weiss and Benioff are aware of the final outcome of the series, which they have confirmed is “entirely satisfying.” So, worst case, there will at least be some sort of an ending for fans. This is hopeful news, since fans of both the novels and show have some seriously frustrating questions, which might just drive us mad if left unanswered:

1. Who is Jon Snow?

Although not as prominent in the show, readers of the books have felt, since his entrance into the series, there’s something fishy about Jon Snow’s heritage. It seems out of character for the “honorable ‘till death” Eddard to have had an affair, and even more fishy to remain so close-mouthed about it. Many believe Jon is actually the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, which would make him an even more more important player in the Game of Thrones.

2. Who is Azor Ahai?

The Prince That Was Promised, who defeated the Others a millennium ago, is destined to return. Obviously the Red Woman Melisandre has convinced Stannis Baratheon that he’s the one – but other signs, such as her own visions and Daenerys’ vision in the House of the Undying, suggest more than one person, which likely includes the mother of dragons – after all, how could it not? If Jon is another Targaryen, he might be a piece of the puzzle, as well as Tyrion who (seriously) might also be a Targaryen? Too many questions have been raised, and one way or another Martin must answer them all.

3. Will Aegon VI return?

If you’ve only watched the show, Aegon has yet to appear, but soon enough this supposed lost prince arrives. Although it’s an interesting twist (it certainly holds some weight against Daenerys claim, but, then again… dragons), more than a few A Song of Ice and Fire fans have doubted that Martin would bring in yet another Targaryen this late in the series – it seems, even for Martin, to be too much. Is Aegon a descendant of the rebellious Blackfyre sector of the Targaryen family that split off over a century ago? Or is he simply a false lead?

4. And what about… Balon Greyjoy, Syrio Forel, Jaqen H’ghar and Robert’s Rebellion?

Readers are also holding out hope that a few more characters might be raised from the dead, or return if they were never quite killed. There’s Balon Greyjoy (Euron Greyjoy’s brother), the rightful King of the Iron Islands, and Syrio Forel, Arya’s swordplay instructor whose death was conveniently not shown. We’ve also yet to hear from Jaqen H’ghar, Arya’s favorite assassin in quite awhile. In addition, we all know Martin has far more up his sleeve regarding the initial rebellion which gave birth to Baratheon rule, which is why, again we come full circle in encouraging Martin to please, for the sake of his fans, write faster!