George R.R. Martin – credited author of Game of Thrones and the sole reason we have something to watch every Sunday night – provided fans with a surprise yesterday afternoon when he released an entire chapter from the 6th installment of his epic series. Titled The Winds of Winter, the chapter “Mercy” begins just as gory and intense as you'd expect:
She woke with a gasp, not knowing who she was, or where.
The smell of blood was heavy in her nostrils… or was that her nightmare, lingering? She had dreamed of wolves again, of running through some dark pine forest with a great pack at her hells, hard on the scent of prey.
Half-light filled the room, grey and gloomy. Shivering, she sat up in bed and ran a hand across her scalp. Stubble bristled against her palm. I need to shave before Izembaro sees. Mercy, I’m Mercy, and tonight I’ll be raped and murdered. Her true name was Mercedene, but Mercy was all anyone ever called her…
The novel is rumored to wind up being a whopping 1,500 pages and will be the penultimate book in the saga. Read the excerpt in its entirety on the author's website, and prepare yourselves for the 4th season premiere of Game of Thrones, airing April 6th on HBO.
Photos by Helen Sloan / HBO