All Sorts of Weird Stuff offers news and information about George R.R. Martin, in particular about his A Song of Ice and Fire series.
"When I was young, I read all sorts of stuff. One week it would be Lovecraft, the next Vance. It was all imaginative literature, or as my dad called it 'Weird Stuff.' It was all 'Weird Stuff.'"
George R.R. Martin
New to the series? Read our spoiler-free review of A Game of Thrones.
As promised, Linda and I are very pleased to present a second excerpt from The World of Ice and Fire (Pre-order: Amazon US, Amazon UK), following George’s excerpt from last month. Our own excerpt features the beginning of “The Ten Thousand Ships”, the section devoted to the events leading to the arrival of the Rhoynar in Westeros, beginning with the relationship—and eventual conflict—between the people of the Rhoyne and the Valyrians. Those of you who’ve looked at the other available glimpses of the book know, the book’s richly illustrated with beautiful artwork from many artists. Below, you’ll find one of those pieces of art, a depiction of Princess Nymeria by artist J.K. Drummond.
And as an added bonus, at the end of the extract is a video Linda and I recoreded from our Youtube channel, discussing the origins of the book, the writing process, and going over some of its content. Enjoy!
The last of the great migrations into Westeros happened long after the coming of the First Men and the Andals. For once the Ghiscari wars had ended, the dragonlords of Valyria turned their gaze toward the west, where the growth of Valyrian power brought the Freehold and its colonies into conflict with the peoples of the Rhoyne.
The mightiest river in the world, the Rhoyne’s many tributaries stretched across much of western Essos. Along their banks had arisen a civilization and culture as storied and ancient as the Old Empire of Ghis. The Rhoynar had grown rich off the bounty of their river; Mother Rhoyne, they named her.
No, not our excerpt—that’s for Wednesday—but instead you can see some of the updated sample pages that the publishing site Above the Tree Line now features for The World of Ice and Fire (Pre-order: Amazon US, Amazon UK).
The updated page reveals more of the beautiful art… and reveals the table of contents for the first time. While it doesn’t reveal the full break down of pages devoted to each section, it should give a real sense of the sort of information that will be contained herein. Lots of stuff about far eastern lands, a great deal about the Targaryens, substantial information on the various regions of the Seven Kingdoms before the Conquest, and so on. It’s been a great pleasure and privilege for Linda and I to have been a part in it, and we hope everyone will enjoy it when it hits shelves in October!
As he notes, the text was originally contracted for 50,000 words…. but suffice it to say, it’s much, much longer than that (especially if one includes the text of the World of Ice and Fire app (Buy: iOs, Android) which was originally intended for the book. The book itself is now at the 330-odd page mark, and is chock-full of some truly gorgeous art, more of it being added as we speak. Lots of new information, about the ancient history of the world, about the various regions, about the Targaryens and the Lannisters, and even about the strange, far-off places of Essos, from the Free Cities to Asshai and the Summer Isles.
The process of settling on the exact cover design certainly took awhile, especially when you’ve seen some of the early mock-ups. The three-headed Targaryen dragon really fits, although as you might guess from the above, this isn’t a work exclusively focused on the Targaryens (though it has a great deal to say about them!)
And with that said, stay tuned next week, as we’ll have an exclusive excerpt from the world book to share concerning another group of people who arrived in Westeros, and weren’t necessarily welcome to begin with…
The latest issue of Rolling Stone magazine features a lengthy, very interesting interview with George R.R. Martin, covering some early formative experiences and getting into a number of topics related to his work, particular broader themes that he finds important. Short excerpts have been published to now, but the full interview can be read at the magazine’s website. Very worthwhile reading for those interested in the genesis of the series, and how he views certain topics that are very present in the novels.
The sample includes a piece of brand new art from the book, which will be extensively illustrated. The sample features the opening few pages of the section devoted to House Targaryen, describing briefly their time on Dragonstone… and ending with Aegon’s declaration of war against the kingdoms of Westeros, as he and his sisters prepared to invade.
George R.R. Martin has updated “Not a Blog” with a lengthy post discussing the status of the Dunk & Egg novellas, set about 80 years prior to the time of the novels. Besides the fact that the fourth novella is partially complete but on hold for now, Martin notes he already has a fifth story roughed out in his head, with a prospective title of “The Village Hero” and its setting being the Riverlands. Perhaps more saliently for many who have patiently been waiting for the A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms collection of the first three novellas is the explanation from Martin that the collection will arrive some time in 2015. But it won’t just be a straight-up collection: it will be richly illustrated by award-winning (and, frankly, legendary) artist Gary Gianni. Well-known for his work bringing Robert E. Howard’s Conan, Solomon Kane, and others to visual life, as well as many other pulp figures, most recently Gianni provided the artwork for the 2014 A Song of Ice and Fire Calendar.
According to Martin, Gianni’s pitch for illustrating the collection is far beyond the initial handful of illustrations originally envisioned, and instead will feature much more artwork. Very exciting, for fans of Gianni’s work, as well as for fans of the novellas. Martin does not that some foreign language editions of an unillustrated version of the collection have already been published, but the English-language edition will have to wait until 2015 while Gianni finishes the work.
Below, a bit of speculation on “The Village Hero”.
I recall reading in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien a letter where Tolkien responded to a query from an admirer hoping for more extensive maps. He remarked on how he received a great number of requests, all asking after the special interests of the requesters: botanists wanted detailed descriptions of mallornx and niphredil, archaeologists desired information on metallurgy and ceramics, musicians wanted musical notations and tunes, and so on. One thing that he noted among them were the desire from some to have more “geological indications” on the maps, rather than place names.
Doubtless there have been fans of A Song of Ice and Fire who have wondered all these things, and more… but I must admit that I never thought that the geology of the world of Ice and Fire would get such attention as it’s received from Generation Anthropocene, a group-blog hosted by Stanford University. Featuring researchers and writers working together to write about the ways that humanity impacts the geology of the world. Their latest work is something of a light-hearted diversion from their more serious study, as they’ve examined the geology of Westeros in tremendous detail. Drawing on details drawn from the novels, they’ve attempted to backward-construct the geological history of the world as far back as 500 million years prior to the present. It’s all quite a heady read, pointing out things that Martin himself—who, so far as I know, has no geological training to speak of—likely created in haphazard fashion, but which can be explained by the very learned academics at Generation Anthropocene.
Very much recommended for idle reading, simply to marvel at how much can be made out of passing background details!
Following up on our Season 4 impressions video, Linda and I have finally gotten around to posting a video discussing the new excerpt that GRRM posted on his official site. It’s lengthy, and a little rough around the edges as we’ve fallen out of practice with the whole filming deal, but we do cover a lot of ground both regarding the setting, the events, and the characters. Plus, lots of comments from viewers on the video itself, and some interesting thoughts, so be sure to check them out!
You’ll find the video below:
Delon provides a step-by-step breakdown of the work that went into the piece (the magazine is filled with tutorials for fellow artists), while Grzegorz Ruthkowsk does something similar with a battle sequence drawn from A Song of Ice and Fire. Best of all, a brand new interview with George R.R. Martin will be featured in the magazine.
The magazine can be purchased on newstands as well as via ordering at the ImagineFX site, where both print and digital copies are available.
Please, no spoilers in comments here, for those who choose not to read it!
It’s been in the work for a few months, and at last, those of you with iOS or Android devices have a good chance (regional availability aside) to get a hold of the latest update to the World of Ice and Fire app (not the same thing as the forthcoming The World of Ice and Fire book), also known as the Game of Throens Guide for Android devices (Order: iTunes, Google Play). It’s a very substantial update, including dozens of new character entries, and scores of entries for many of the locations in the Lands of Ice and Fire maps. Especially all those new, never-before-mentioned locations found on the map of Essos, all taken straight from notes and details GRRM shared with us.
And for more casual fans who aren’t so interested in entries and the accompanying art? A Tyrion chapter from The Wind of Winter is included in the app, which is free to download (info packs—detailed entries that carry the app through the various books of the series—must be paid for as in-app purchases, but are unnecessary to get the excerpt).
Now, there’s lots of questions surrounding the app and its availability, so we’ll try and answer them below.
Although George announced his completion of work on The World of Ice and Fire (Pre-order: Amazon US, Amazon UK) in a post on Not a Blog last week, Linda and I have held off a similar post because our side of things wasn’t yet quite done: a sidebar we felt was important needed adding, an afterword needed tweaking, and GRRM’s Iron Islands material needed trimming…
But now all that is done, and outside of art approvals, final copy edits, and the like, Linda and I are essentially done as well. From 2004, when the subject of such a book was first broached while having dinner with George and Parris in Santa Fe, to 2006 when bidding among publishers finally led to our signing a contract with Bantam in 2006, it’s been a long effort—not a continuous one, mind, after the initial discussion, outlining, and the very first draft, as the bulk of the work waited until A Dance with Dragons was more or less done and George had more time to consult. Consult he did, and he made a number of contributions which, as Tolkien before him said, “grew in the telling”. Some of these narratives have since been published in partially abridged form—“The Princess and the Queen” in Dangerous Women (Order: Amazon UK), “The Rogue Prince” in the forthcoming Rogues (Pre-order: Amazon UK).
Over at “Not a Blog”, George R.R. Martin provides some news on the forthcoming cross-genre anthology he’s co-edited with Gardner Dozois, Rogues (Pre-order: Amazon US, Amazon UK)... and in the course reveals that he has decided to contribute a story himself, another piece of the “fake history” of House Targaryen. Here’s Martin in his own words:
“The Princess and the Queen,” Archmaester Gyldayn’s somewhat abbreviated account of the Dance of the Dragons, got a great response from all the folks who read it in Dangerous Women, so we’ve dipped back into the archmaester’s somewhat disorganized piles of scrolls and crumbling manuscripts, and brought forth another piece of his unpublished history. “The Rogue Prince, or, the King’s Brother,” will tell the story of the years leading up to the calamitious events of “The Princess and the Queen” during the reign of King Viserys I Targaryen, with particular attention to the role played by the king’s brother, Prince Daemon, a rogue if there ever was one. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as you did “The Princess and the Queen.”
Best of all, though originally slated for quite a late publication, it looks like all the stories are in and ready to go… so Rogues will hit shelves in the US on June 17th.
Fans of “The Princess and the Queen” will be in for a treat. As we’ve told fans on our forum in the past, Prince Daemon was one of the most remarkable men of his age, and what you saw of him in “The Princess and the Queen” is only a taste of the enormities and feats of which he was capable.
You can find the full table of contents for Rogues below:
While New York may get a lot of the interesting events around Game of Thrones—the “Epic Fan Experience” at the Barclays Center being a case in point—it’s not the only thing going on out there. Of particular note for fans of A Song of Ice and Fire is Seattle’s LTD Art Gallery current exhibition: “Winter is Coming”, a presentation of artwork influenced by the novels, presented by George R.R. Martin and put together with his direct input. All the works on display in the gallery are available for sale, in some cases as originals, in many cases as prints. There’s an amazing trove of treasures, including original works of art by Ted Nasmith and Donato Giancola, and prints from the likes of Amok (with an awesome depiction of Aegon and his sisters), Marc Simonetti, Jim Burns, Jen Zee, and many more.
An excellent preview of the exhibit, including interviews with the gallery’s owner and participating artists, can be found over at Wired.com. The exhibit runs through March 23rd.
Earlier this month, we noted the upcoming fundraising drive for the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary, sponsored by none other than George R.R. Martin and Parris McBride. As promised, we’d note when it went live… and it now has. A massive amount of A Song of Ice and Fire-related books and memorabilia, as well as Wild Cards books and other works by Martin, is in the offering, with various packages available at different funding levels.
The proceeds will go to support the Westeros Pack—named after characters from the novels—by providing them a larger habitat, which sounds excellent. All funding levels include signed “adoption” certificates, showing your sponorship of a particular wolf (or wolves) in the pack.
The Westeros network consists of several different sites, including a forum and a wiki, for all your A Song of Ice and Fire needs.