Happy, happy news rang out in the world of fantasy literature Wednesday when George R. R. Martin finally completed A Dance with Dragons, the long-awaited fifth installment in his A Song of Ice and Fire cycle.

Martin made the announcement indirectly via his blog, posting simply a picture of the slain Kong from the 1976 King Kong film. Martin had been wrestling with the beast of a novel for so long that he had informally nicknamed it Kong, and longtime followers of the blog were immediately tipped to the news.

Martin’s editor Anne Groell confirmed the happy news via Suvudu, and noted that video evidence of the completion will follow soon.

It is true. Kong is dead.

There were a few moments of George in a spare office yesterday, cleaning up the last bits and inserting a few new bits in longhand, while I typed the changes into the electronic files, but we are honestly and officially done.

And there is MUCH rejoicing!

Fans of the series have been waiting for Dance for nearly six years, since the 2005 release of A Feast for Crows. It’s been particularly excruciating for many longtime readers of the series, as Dance is the essentially the second half of the portion of the story Feast began. The novel will take place in the same timeframe as its predecessor, but will feature different characters, among them fan favorites Tyrion Lannister, Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen.

Dance with Dragons was already given a publishing date of July 12, 2011, but it’s nice to know the text is safely done and ready for binding. No doubt anxiety is already breaking out over how long it will take Martin to complete the sixth of the proposed seven volumes of the series, but let’s enjoy this moment while we can.

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