Two things dominate when it comes to "The Winds of Winter" chatter - when is the release date and how things will unfold. The first concern George RR Martin has already addressed though rather vaguely, that his busy schedule will make it hard to bring the volume to print status within this 2017. So TWoW fans can expect a delay to publication but hopefully no later than 2018.
As for the other concern on how The Winds of Winter will be any different from the first five books of Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire," one book fan offered a window of who would be the dominant characters for TWoW. The basis of the proposition is the number of times characters have been mentioned by GRRM in the earlier instalments.
It can be assumed that the dominant characters from book one to book five will remain as the highlighted point-of-views by Martin. So far the most mentioned, according to blog site Winter Is Coming, was Jon Snow. Ironically, Ned Stark's bastard son also died and remains dead in the book but in ASOIAF he was mentioned more than 3000 times, WiC reported.
Snow's appearance in so many ASOIAF discourses is proof of the character's importance - that many lives in the "Game of Thrones" universe are connected to his, and not only of the Starks, the Lannisters and the Targaryens. As seen in the first five ASOIAF chapters in the first six GoT seasons, Snow has touched the lives of those living on both sides of The Wall. And it is expected that he will continue to do so not only for The Winds of Winter but also for "A Dream of Spring," the seventh and last book in the ASOIAF saga.
On its report, WiC listed the top 10 most dominant ASOIAF characters put together by fan Shrijit "The Lord" Shaswat and it came as a surprise that Daenerys Targaryen only came fifth, surpassed by Tyrion Lannister, Arya Stark and Jaime Lannister. Still book fans are convinced the Mother of Dragons will figure prominently in The Winds of Winter. As tipped by the first official Game of Thrones trailer, Dany is on her way to Westeros in an attempt to restore the Targaryen Dynasty, which is a story arc that surely will be part of TWoW.
WiC also said that the top 10 most mentioned ASOIAF characters were Sansa Stark, Bran Stark, Eddard Stark, Lady Catelyn Stark and Cersei Lannister. These mentions should indicate that in the books and on the HBO TV show it will be the House Stark and House Lannister that will shape the fate of all the other characters.
While not mentioned on the Top 10 list, GoT and TWoW fans alike can expects to know more of Rhaegar Targaryen, Lyanna Stark and Robert Baratheon. That's because GRRM declared in a recent blog post: "By the time I finish writing A SONG OF ICE & FIRE, you will know every important thing that happened in Robert's Rebellion."
In the same post, Martin issued a firm assurance that "I AM STILL WORKING ON WINDS OF WINTER and will continue working on it until it's done." But the GoT creator stopped short of providing a definite release date, further bolstering the rumors that The Winds of Winter publication will happen until sometime in 2018.