Re: New GRRM Update on ADWD
I think George sometimes forgets how much the ASoIaF fanbase has exploded since AFFC came out (which sometimes doesn't actually seem that long ago, until I look at the five-year gap in the dates) and that a lot of people now commenting on his blog and so forth weren't around when he finished AFFC.
When AFFC was finished, he posted a massive picture of the book cover with "IT'S DONE!!!!!!!!!" in huge letters underneath. I assume something similarly unambiguous will happen with ADWD. However, all the 'ASoIaF-volume-completion-announcement-virgins' have no clue at all over this and thus interpret anything that could be the completion announcement to be the announcement.
And no, the book and the HBO series have no bearing on one another. Although given GRRM's current speed, I wouldn't rule out him announcing completion in March (around the time HBO is supposed to make its decision on the series), which may make it appear that way. I'm actually starting to suspect the completion announcement will be in May, on the unscientific but statistically interesting grounds that's when he finished ACoK, ASoS and AFFC in their respective years.