Blood of Dragons

The 'A Song of Ice and Fire' MUSH


The World of Ice and Fire “AMA”

Following the release of The World of Ice and Fire, we invited players on the game to an “AMA” inspired session of talk about the book.

Balerion says, “All right, lets get this show started. No need to use +os here for this. :) How we’ll do it is… anyone who has a question, post your question. We’ll answer them in turn, and as we answer someone’s question, that person (or anyone who has not yet posed an unanswered question) can go ahead and add another question.”

Syrax says, “From Dermett, who could not be here: When you began implementing information from TWOIAF into the MUSH last year, you introduced two new Corbray brothers from the time of Aegon III’s reign. While we see a brief mention of Ser Corwyn Corbray in TWOIAF, his elder brother Lord Leowyn Corbray is not included, though I noticed in the MUSH that he is given the rather grandiose title of ‘Lord Protector of the Realm’. How did these men from a lesser house of the Vale ascend to such heights, and what specific role did Leowyn the ‘Lord Protector’ play alongside the seven regents of Aegon III?”

You say, “I’ll note that some things will take a bit longer, since it will involve searching the secret files. ;) Somehow Bal hasn’t memorized all of this yet!”

Balerion says, “All right, Dermett wants to know why Leowyn Corbray was Protector of the Realm and so on. The bit that did not make it into the WoIaF is that the Lady Jeyne Arryn, who ruled the Eyrie, sent an army 10,000 strong in support of Rhaenyra/Rhaenyra’s forces… and that army was led by Leowyn and Corwyn. Why? George does not say. My guess is that they may have been related to Lady Jeyne in some fashion, or perhaps had been fostered at the Eyrie with her and so she felt she could trust them. Leowyn’s role as Protector of the Realm is certainly directly related to this, as Lady Jeyne was among the first regents.”

Balerion says, “As to the role of Protector, George describes it as entailing the “task of defending the realm”. I guess he was concerned with the martial situation in the Seven Kingdoms, both domestically and internationally. It was the Hand who was more involved in day-to-day matters… and I’ll note that to some degree Ser Tyland Lannister was noted as being dominant over Leowyn, who was a fairly unimaginative, dependable sort—not a great thinker. I think Dermett already knows about Mushroom’s remarks regarding his breaking wind…”

Balerion says, “And… yeah, that’s about all we’ve got. Leowyn was part of important councils, including a question following Corlys Velaryon’s death regarding what the succession would be if young Aegon died without issue. That’s about all we’ve got prior to his death of the Winter Fever in 133.”

Balerion says, “Any other questions? :)”

Jyana returns, at last.

Jyana says, “Let me turn to a page in the good book and see about my questions.”

Damphair says, “The Faith on the Iron Islands. We get a fair bit about how it was transported there, could never really take hold—remind me of that deal, the boon the ruler of the islands asks in return for a favour done, forgotten the details there—but what exactly was its cultural status there? It was tolerated to some extent, yeah, but was it a significant social/cultural liability? A political one?”

Balerion says, “The Faith in the Iron Islands: The Faith really only seems to even start getting a toe-hold in the Iron Islands with the chaos following the death of Harren the Black, and septons started to come over in the wake of the unification of the Seven Kingdoms. I think the telling bit in George’s material is that septons were coming over preaching it to the ironborn… and to their thralls. The Faith doesn’t hold truck with slavery, and I susepct that thralldom on the Iron Islands may be tolerated by the political powers of the Seven Kingdoms (particularly by the non-intervensionist Aegon I, who allowed each region to hold to its own laws and customs), but the aegis of the crown doubtless emboldened septons to think they could persuade the ironborn.”

Balerion says, “Thralls getting notions from queer, greenland gods that maybe they shouldn’t be thralls would certainly be a significant socio-economic issue.”

Balerion says, “Well, wait a moment, I see I forgot some earlier stuff.”

Damphair waits.

Balerion says, “Oh, okay, yeah. The Faith actually came earlier to the IRon Islands, under the Hoares. They had started taking Andal queens who followed the Faith, and under their influence tolerated and—in some cases—supported it and followed it. This all came to an end when one particularly pious king started talking about… and her we go again ... abolishing thralldom as a sin against the Seven.”

Balerion says, “He was cast down and a Drowned God following successor installed in his place, and for awhile th Faith was driven out until, as I said, the fall of Harren the Black.”

Balerion says, “So, yeah, thralldom was at the core, and a bit of the general… I mean, the Faith-following kings had ties to the greenlands, and started suggesting that maybe trade was better than reaving, and the iron price fanatics didn’t care for it.”

Balerion says, “Next? :)”

Jyana says, “Okay.”

Damphair says, “Okay, yeah. Followup: does Baelor at any point consider interfering in this context on the islands? I mean, I’m guessing he doesn’t attempt it; it’d be a big enough thing to be mentioned in the worldbook at some point. But given that he’s the most pious—fanatical, call it what you will—king to sit the throne, go on, hypothesise a bit. :) Think it possible he’d have made noises and Viserys shut him down asap?”

Damphair says, “Hush. Me first.”

Balerion says, “Per WoIaF, one rumor is that at the end of his reign Baelor believed that the gods had tasked him with converting non-believers to the Seven. That’s all we have as far as material on the matter goes.”

Balerion says, “Jyana?”

Jyana says, “Right.”

Balerion says, “Poor Orson. He seems to have wanted to ask something but seems to have a dodgy connection.”

Jyana says, “So, Daeron’s book started the trend of naming Dornish people salty, sandy, and stony—it seems pretty universal for the present-day world, maybe even as early as D&E years (I can’t recall). But, is that something people in Dorne would even be considering themselves at this point? Did Daeron just pick it up from them and put it on paper for the first time?”

Syrax raises her hand for after Jyana.

Balerion says, “According to what George wrote, the distinction is something created by Daeron I. I’m not sure how Dornishmen identified themselves prior to this point, but I’m sure they recognized the three kinds of Dornishmen before that, they just had some other way of discussing it.”

Balerion says, “Probably the more prosaic mountain/desert/coast Dornish? Don’t know. But yeah, salty/sandy/stony is very recent coinage.”

Jyana says, “Okay. I have another, but let R go with hers while I think about mine.”

Balerion says, “Next. :)”

Syrax says, “So we have the stories of the first kings. I’m going to use Garth Greenhands as an example, but really I’m referring to all the stories in the book about the Children, the First Men, Andals, etc. Some of the stories are quite fantastical, with the legends that spring up and grow around such things. Often what George wrote is that septons and maesters really only believe the things that make sense; i.e. that Garth Greenhands was just a man and couldn’t really make girls flower just by smiling at them. But how do those stories shake out in a real sense? Are nobles more inclined to believe as the maesters and septons? To tell the legends as stories for children while the smallfolk are left to believe what they want to in uneducated bliss? Or would it depend highly on how -much- education a noble had relative to their own socio-economic status? So that, for instance, House Crane does believe that they had an ancestor who could skinchange into a crane at will, and that it still pops up as a talent in their line now and then? Basically, where do various folks draw the line between legend and history?”

Balerion says, “Excellent question. I would say that in Westeros, the nobility are probably actually a little bit superstitious despite their education, and may nod to the idea that some details are just legendary stuff… but in their hearts of hearts, they probably think that yeah, their legendary ancestor really was that badass. Smallfolk would be much less educated, and so much more credulous in general. I would also guess that the maesters are much more strongly adverse to magical explanations of things that can be explained without magic than nobility are, at least in regards to the ancient past. I mean, it’s only been 300 years or so since the Doom, and 15 or 20 years since the last dragon lived.”

Syrax says, “Excellent answer, too!”

Jyana says, “Ooh, I have one to tack on to that.”

Balerion says, “Go ahead. :)”

Jyana says, “Maybe it’s not as clear as I thought. It’s to do with living in that time just after all the dragons died. Would there be superstitions springing up from that, like, say, magic dying out when they did, things of that nature? I wonder at the impact of that, a species like dragons going extinct.”

Jyana says, “And y’know, full disclosure—I haven’t read thoroughly. Some of my questions might just need a simple “look on pg. Such and Such”.”

Balerion says, “No worries. :) I think the common view of the maesters in general is that magic surely existed once, but since the Doom something has happened that has made it become weak or virtually nonexistent outside of various magic-wrought artificats (like the Valyrian roads, Dragonstone’s citadel, and so on) which show it existed once.”

Balerion says, “Artifacts, even.”

Balerion says, “The pyromancers, if questioned, might reveal (but probably wouldn’t) a belief that their own arts have grown weaker still since the last dragon died.”

Balerion says, “I suspect it’ll take another century and change before the pyromancers might openly admit that belief. For now, they’re as awesome as they ever were, so far as they let anyone know.”

Syrax says, “So it’s no real coincidence that dragons reappearing and magical things happening—Melisandre, the Others reappearing, Bran as a warg, etc—occur at relatively the same time?”

Balerion says, “Only George can say… but I don’t think it’s coincidental. Quaithe of Asshai certainly believes it isn’t, and tells Daenerys so, citing a street magician who can now perform some real magical tricks that he couldn’t have done a year earlier.”

Balerion says, “Any more? :)”

Elmer says, “Speaking of Dorne. Elaena is mentioned marrying a certain Michael Mandwoody who does not appear in our CDB. Is he someone who will probably appear? I figure a Targaeryen would not marry a second sone or anything either?”

Balerion says, “My own take—and it’s really my take on this—is that Michael Manwoody will be somewhat younger than Elaena, aka not yet born. May change our minds about that. He’s described as Lord Manwoody, though, so if we do make him rather younger, you can guess where he’s springing from.”

Elmer says, “Oh, so that Ser Manwoody thing which we figured to be a typo is meant to be Lord Manwoody rather than Ser Michael”

Balerion says, “What Ser Manwoody thing?”

Balerion says, “Oh, dear lord.”

Syrax has another one.

Balerion says, “Let me check my hardcopy”

Syrax says, “Once the heart attack is recovered from. ;)”

Balerion says, “Oh, okay. No, he’s a knight, not a lord.”

Balerion says, “Anyways, probably not yet born… or born but not yet part of our trees.”

Balerion says, “Anything more? :)”

Elmer says, “That’s good, thanks”

Balerion says, “Okay, fire away, whoever has questions still. :)”

Syrax says, “This is more of a MU* question. But the pictures in the book, which are beautiful. Are we to consider those canon representations of what things look like?”

Balerion says, “No, they are out-of-world ... for the most part. If this book is “really” illustrated, it’d be medieval illumination and miniature style.”

Balerion says, “But that said, some of these things had George’s very close input. Ted Nasmith’s castles and Old Valyria, for example, and Aegon’s mistresses, George had a lot of direct guidance on those.”

Syrax says, “I’m thinking mainly in that we can look at the pictures and, in-game, imagine that the Red Keep looks this way and Sunspear that way.”

Balerion says, “George considers Amok’s pictures of the Targaryens to also be fairly close to how he imagined them, as Amok asked his opinions.”

Balerion says, “The view of King’s Landing with the Red Keep in the foreground is a Nasmith piece, as is the Sunspear depiction, so yeah, George had a lot to say on those.”

Syrax says, “And Highgarden? she asked non-chalantly.”

Balerion says, “Also Nasmith. :)”

Syrax grins. Thanks. But it must be asked, since it’s all fodder for RP. Anything written is totally canon, yes?

Balerion says, “The text is entirely canon, some unintended errors aside. ;) But it’s canon in the sense that this is the sort of knowledge a learned maester would believe to be correct, or at least plausible, about the world and its history. Some of his confidence may be misplaced.”

Jyana says, “I may have a follow up to that.”

Balerion says, “Go ahead. :)”

Syrax nods. Sort of how you answered my previous question. The historical events are accepted with varying degrees of credulity regarding specific events or heros, or understood to have been massaged by the zealous Faith, like Selwyn the Mirror Shield.

Balerion says, “Right. Ancient stuff in particular. THe nearer to “present” we get, the surer the historical record, for the most part.”

Jyana says, “No, nevermind, I didn’t have a follow up. I do have a new/another one.”

Jyana says, “Did the names of the hours thing get covered in the book? Hour of the Wolf, Hour of Owl, that sort of thing. If not, do you have any more context you’d be able to share?”

Balerion says, “Alas, no. :(”

Jyana says, “Darn.”

Jyana says, “I think any other questions I can think of would be more game-specific ones sprung from the worldbook. Like if there are any holidays or customs that didn’t make the final cut somewhere that we might could put into play, anyway.”

Balerion says, “Hrm, let me see.”

Balerion says, “Ah, yes, there’s one.”

Balerion says, “The Feast Day of Our Father Above is a most propitious day for making judgements, the septons teach us.”“

Balerion says, “Unfortunately, I don’t think we know where it falls.”

Jyana says, “Figures.”

Balerion says, “Feast days”, plural, are mentioned. I think it’s fair to say that all the Seven have a feast day (except, perhaps, the stranger), and there are probably others beside. Like the medieval church, the Faith probably has quite a lot of feast days.”

Jyana says, “Are there any hot spots in the book you’d like to point out to us, particularly, being favorites for whichever reasons or of special note for the game?”

Balerion says, “The Aegon III stuff was quite cool, and I wish we could have gotten more of it in. The Iron Islands section concerning the aftermath of the Dance probably has some useful things in regards to the MUSH…”

Balerion says, “Any other questions? Think we can go on for another 20 minutes or so.”

Damphair says, “I had one that I’m trying to remember. Flipping through the book atm. Will see if I can dig it up.”

Damphair pauses for a moment. That full-page illustration of Dunk and the Laughing Storm facing off. Damn.

Elmer says, “I had a question. Larra Rogare is mentioned to have left Westeros at some point…do we know when? I assume she’s ot present in our timeline?”

Jyana says, “I’m flipping through, too, but all my questions would be of the, “Can we have someone from Yi Ti show up at some point?” variety, which. Y’know.”

Balerion says, “Not opposed to some plot where a scholar or adventurer of Yi Ti comes along to record the histories of the barbarians out west.”

Balerion says, “Larra’s not around. Let me see…”

You say, “That reminds me, there are a few things we need to get into the family trees now that the book is out, stuff we felt was too spoilery beforehand.”

Balerion says, “Oh, another feast day: Smith’s Day”

Balerion says, “So, yeah, the Seven each have a feast day except maybe the Stranger…”

Jyana says, “Don’t think I’m not tucking that Yi Ti thing away for later.”

Balerion says, “There it is. She goes back to Lys in 139, and passes away in 145.”

Elmer says, “Thanks!”

Damphair says, “Any big ones, Nym?”

Balerion says, “Rhaena Targaryen marries Ser Garmund Hightower and has six daughters… and Alyn Velaryon weds Baela Targaryen, but we know somewhat less about their offspring.”

Balerion says, “Also the fact that Aliandra Martell was wed to a Rogare.”

Damphair says, “Oh, that reminds me. Alyn’s six great voyages. Has GRRM given any information on where he sailed off to? Even if it can’t be revealed, I’m curious.”

Balerion says, “The second voyage is to Old Volantis. Of the others, we know nothing, alas.”

You say, “I think we are also due some more Stark updates, to fit in some more children for Cregan and their spouses.”

Jyana says, “Armed with all this context, I am excited to raise the bar on any future ideas to ridiculous heights.”

Balerion chuckles.

You say, “Just don’t forget, if you live in Dorne, all your castles are slag heaps, except Sunspear. ;)”

Jyana says, “I hadn’t really thought about that before, that there aren’t any proper cities in Dorne.”

You say, “True. And if there had been, they would probably have been toasted too.”

Balerion says, “Okay, any last questions? Fire away, and we’ll wrap it up.”

Jyana says, “I’m sure I’ll have dozens tomorrow.”

You say, “Hah, well, we’re always going to be open to answer more, we just figured it could be nice to do some as a collection. :)”

Jyana says, “It really is very nice. Thank you, guys. :)”

Syrax says, “Yeah, this was really great. :)”

You say, “You’re very welcome. As we said, there should be some perks to playing on the game. ;)