George R. R. Martin's next A Song of Ice and Fire novel isn't done yet, but he might have already spilled one of its biggest secrets.
POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD!
Martin's last novel in the epic series, 2011's A Dance with Dragons, left one particular character in a state of extreme uncertainy. For the last two years, readers haven't even known if he's even still alive, but Martin may have just accidentally revealed the truth while answering a question about long-term planning for his characters in a lengthy (and very fascinating) interview with io9. His answer is below. See if you can spot the possible accidental spoilage.
"You introduce characters, and sometimes they take on a life of their own.
"Some major characters — yes, I always had plans, what Tyrion's arc was gonna be through this, what Arya's arc was gonna be through this, what Jon Snow's arc is gonna be. I knew what the principal deaths were gonna be, and when they were coming. That would be the closest thing."
Did you catch it? Yeah, Martin used the word is, not was, when referring to Jon Snow, whose fate was left ambiguous at the end of Dance with Dragons after he was stabbed repeatedly by some of his fellow Night's Watch brothers. Some fans had already written Jon off as dead based on his final appearance in the book, but this quote definitely rekindles hope that the character isn't gone.
Or is he? Obviously, Martin could have simply misspoke, or he could have been referring to knowing what Jon Snow's arc would be back in the early '90s when he began the series. Either way, that little grammar choice will be enough to keep even more fans talking about Jon's fate right up until the day the sixth book in the series, The Winds of Winter, finally hits bookstores.
What do you think? Did Martin slip up, or are we making too much of a single two-letter word?