The Citadel

The Archive of 'A Song of Ice and Fire' Lore

So Spake Martin

Reports from Signings, Conventions, Etc

Norescon (Boston, MA; September 2-6)

He also said that for A Feast for Crows he had about 1000 pages ready to go. He also said that there was maybe a few hundred that were written but not yet ready and that he was still looking for a way to end the book.

Norescon (Boston, MA; September 2-6)

He related that he had "drastically reworked" the prolougue chapters due to thier inordinate length.

Norescon (Boston, MA; September 2-6)

GRRM is still aiming for six books if he can manage it, which contradicts a prior report that GRRM seemed settled on seven books total.

Prior reports said the Iron Islands and Dornish chapters made up 12 chapters, 7 for one and 5 for the other. Os says it's 7 for the Iron Islands and 5 for Dorne, specifically.

Norescon (Boston, MA; September 2-6)

During his panel on Shared Worlds, GRRM mentioned that he has a deal in hand with the Sci-Fi channel for a pilot for Wild Cards. The contracts are not yet signed, but the ball is in his court. The only details I remember is that the pilot would be two hours and that the long-term plan is for a weekly series. GRRM would not be involved except in the most cursory of fashion. ("My role would be cashing checks").

Norescon (Boston, MA; September 2-6)

[Note: This report is pieced together from several posts by the reporter. It has been slightly edited.]

I did leave a bit early to get a spot in the George R.R. Martin reading. Which I did. Good thing I did because there was a very long line to get into the room, and I am not sure everyone made it in - and it was one of the larger rooms.

....

He read a chapter about Arya, and it was very moving, and well done. It was the first AFfC reading I have been to, I have no idea what chapter it was. He did say that after a reading he is giving in Seattle next week, he isn't going to read anymore new material from the book. He said it was getting to the point where what he was reading to the audiences was just a little behind what he was writing. I think he was also worried about reading the whole book before it was published, negating the need to purchase the book - though he didn't say that. After Seattle he said he would start to re-read chapters that he has already read. He also said he hoped not to be reading from AFfC next year. He wants to do Dance of Dragons next (it was supposed to be #2, then #3, then #4, and now hopefully #5).

He said several things about the book:

He is hoping it will not be as long as the last one - which caused technical problems for publishers in other parts of the world (they had to split it in 2 because of the size). However he said he won't just get to say page 1300 and say "To Be Continued" -- the book has to have an end even though it is part of a larger story arc. He is afraid though that if it is too large his publishers will refuse to publish it (not sure if thats really true or not).

Some of his problems have come because he has introduced new POV characters, and he really likes them. So he has more story to tell. At one point he was going to do a one chapter prolog that incorporated stuff from Dorne, and stuff from the Iron Isles. That became 2 chapters, then 12 (7 for one and 5 for the other). He realized he couldn't have a 250 page prolog that was all about characters that we have never met before, so he had to rip it up and start over. He wove the material in the prolog into the rest of the book. He is also finding that in some places where he was going to have a 5 year gap in when we see a character - that what the character does and learns in those 5 years was too interesting and important to skip over. So the story has grown bigger. The chapter he read today was somthing that he originally planned to skip over and then decided not to.

...

Gaiman won the short story award and had nothing prepared to say, but his didn't say f*ck again. George R. R. Martin presented the award and said he took credit for Gaiman's carreer. Seems he once pitched Martin this story about a character called The Sandman for Martin's anthology series Wild Cards and he rejected it, which led Gaiman to get it published elsewhere and the rest is history. Gaiman said he didn't know what to do with the award - since he was on stage all night, and Martin offered to take it. It ended up on the floor next to the podium.

Bubonicon (Albuquerque, NM; August 27-29)

George didn't mention a page count, but he is clearly frustrated that Feast isn't finished. He did say he was closer than last year, but has no idea when he will be done, since he has been wrong before about it. There were 2 auctions at bubonicon one Friday and one this afternoon in each George had donated a audio book. I won both times, and have a game of thrones and a clash of kings in audio for a mere $40.

...

Lots of jokes about George's big one after they mentioned Connie Willis Hugo's started mostly by Gardner Dozois. From questions on his reading is that he doesn't much believe in the happily ever after endings, he prefers the bittersweet ending much like the Lord of the rings. He did say he plans to continue doing the Egg novellas between novels. During the overrated/underrated panel he said that he felt Nueromancer by Bill Gibson is overated, while being a fine novel doesn't belong on list of top sf novels next to novels like Stars of my destination and another novel I can't recall. On underrated authors he mentioned Jack Vance and Howard Waldrop. also george asked Connie willis about Heinlein being her influence, and it came out that both Connie and George's first sf novel that they read was Have Spacesuit, Will Travel. Right now I'm jealous of the folks going to Worldcon, but I decided on World Fantasy this year. But I am so going to Worldcon in 2006 in LA.

Private Meeting (Santa Fe, NM)

Driving cross country across the U.S. with my parents (my first visit home in 5 years, and since they needed to make the trip, I figured what better than to experience it with them? It also let me see my siblings and extended family), I noticed that I wasn't going to be that far from Santa Fe. So ... long story short, details were sorted out. Very cool.

The drive to Santa Fe was remarkably beautiful. I hadn't realized how high up the city is -- elevation over 7,000 feet! Parts of it reminded me rather a lot of Monterey, California, which also has its roots as a Spanish colonial town. It's a lovely place, and I can see why GRRM and Parris live there. On arriving at GRRMs homes (yes, homes -- one across from the other; each day he takes his "morning commute" over to the house that serves as his office), GRRM came out to say hello. While my parents took off to dinner, GRRM and I went into the office, where I immediately noticed several things:

Miniatures on display. Foreign editions of ASoIaF. All kinds of books, actually, some which looked like references. And the computer on which all the magic happens. I later noticed that he had a lot of the art from the Fantasy Flight Games CCG hung up on the walls around the work area. Wow! As we went to his den (after he called Parris to let her know I had arrived), I commented that I knew people who'd pay to get a look at his place. He casually gestured to a box on a desk and said with a smile that that's what people would really pay for. "That" being -- you guessed it -- the latest partial manuscript of AFfC, ready to be shipped off to his editors for their perusal. I should have touched it, or something.

We chatted for a bit, then Parris arrived. I didn't know it was possible for someone to be so friendly, but Parris managed it. ;) She was tremendously kind, and generous with her praise of the work Linda and I had done with Westeros.org, as well as how great all the Brotherhood are (with particular regards sent Lodengarl's way)!

From there, we went into the older part of Santa Fe, to have dinner at a place called The Bullring. Wonderful food, suffice it to say, and at a great location. Following are some brief snippets amounting to my recollections:

GRRM and Parris are both really pleased with "The Hedge Knight" comic book adaptation, and the work that the Dabel brothers, Ben Avery, and Mike Miller have done.

Comic books were discussed somewhat, and Wild Cards as well. This connects to ASoIaF because GRRM's response regarding how popular Dorne and the Red Viper were among readers was how it was rather the "Boba Fett" effect. He himself had witnessed this in the WC books, when an extremely minor "red shirt" (in this case, a character specifically introduced early in the series to be killed off later on) was killed, only to have a fan club for that character send him an upset letter to him. The character only had one line in all of his appearances!

GRRM's quite pleased with reports of people spending a great deal of time arguing about characters, rather than just plot details (though that, too, is great). Yes, this came out when I was trying to lure him into discussing Stannis and/or Jaime, but he wouldn't indulge me that far. ;)

There are wyverns in the setting, and we'll learn something about them in AFfC. This came out during a discussion of heraldry.

Long ago, someone (LindaElane?) learned from GRRM that his visit to New Zealand and Rotorura park (full of geysers, natural hot springs, bubbling mud, and the smell of sulfur) had inspired a location that would appear in the books. That location hasn't appeared yet, but it will in time. Linda and I are guessing Valyria, or possibly Asshai.

Parris and GRRM were both enthused with how beautifully the Lord of the Rings films came out. We all shared a particular like for the introduction to the second film, with its gorgeous vista of New Zealand's Southern Alps and then its entering through the window to the scene at the Bridge of Khazad-dum. ("Yeah. Gandalf should have stayed dead." -- GRRM) In connection to LOTR, GRRM recalled how popular it was in his college days, and that an expression of that love was the popularity of maps of Middle-earth. You were likelier to see a map than a drawing of a character or a scene. This, he says, shows how Middle-earth was practically a character in its own right in the book. I think he hopes that Westeros is as alive for readers as Middle-earth is, with its castles, ruins, wonders, and history.

GRRM said he wanted to have the series be done at six books -- then noted that Parris said it'd be seven. She grinned rather impishly, nodding her head.

Daemon Blackfyre rebelled so many years after Aegon the Unworthy's death for several reasons. One was his growing resentment at having the status of a bastard, and what it meant. Another was that he gained councillors who urged him to it. Among them was Fireball, a knight of House Ball in the Reach, who had been master-at-arms at the Red Keep during Aegon's days. Aegon promised him a place in the Kingsguard, when an opening made itself apparent, but he died before that could happen. When a spot finally opened up under Daeron, Fireball reminded him of his father's promise ... and was not given a place in the Sworn Brotherhood. GRRM said that Fireball was loosely inspired by Hotspur Percy, hence the name (referring to his fiery temper).

There was no discussion about when AFfC would be finished -- it'd be done when it was done. But as already noted, he is sending manuscripts to his publishers, so it's certainly progressing.

Once dinner was done, we went back to his office, where more cool stuff was shown off. I saw his miniatures displayed, including the Brian Rodden figures that the fans bought for him as presents (he noted that the blue serpent of the Dukes of Milan was his inspiration for making Prince Oberyn the Red Viper), having pride of place with the Robert figure that Parris had commisioned for him. I also saw his Prime Collection, as he called it, which was a copy of every single thing he had ever been published in, in their first editions.

Then it was time to go. It was one of the best meals I've eaten in a very long time, but the company was better. :)

Boskone (Boston, MA; February 13-15)

Other meta-information, from the Q&A session: GRRM is at about 1000 pages; he anticipates maybe 300 more. He hasn't decided whether or not Bran will appear in AFfC, but if so will only appear briefly. Jon and Dany will be the two focal characters of AFfC (in the sort of way in which Ned was the focal character of AGoT). He's not averse to writing more stories in the ASoIaF world after he finishes the series (which perhaps may look more like seven books), but won't write direct sequels to the series. Future Dunk and Egg stories will be getting darker. (No detail was given as to when the next D&E story could appear.)

And both GRRM and Parris were wearing the Brotherhood T-shirts. I wish I'd remembered to wear mine.

...

Bran: somebody had asked whether the Starks would appear, and whether they would be a focus. GRRM mentioned Sansa and Arya, and said "of course Catelyn won't appear again" [this was previously known], and said "Jon also, if you consider him a Stark" [this was greeted with a lot of laughter]. He didn't explicitly mention Bran, so somebody asked whether Bran would appear in AFfC. GRRM's response was that Bran is one of the characters in training, and so at most he'll get a chapter or two, but that he hadn't decided yet. (He made a throwaway joke about kung-fu movies at this point.)

So, I think that Bran will play (at most) a minor role in AFfC, but he'll be back in future books. GRRM said explicitly that he doesn't like writing "training" chapters (hence the kung-fu references).

Torcon (Toronto, Canada; August 28-September 1)

[Note: This report fleshes out details given in Rhelle's report.]

OK, some more info:

That convo that was referred to above went like this:

Q: "Do you know how the books will end?"

GRRM: "YES" (emphatically)

Q: "So do you have it written down somewhere... just in case?"

GRRM: "Nope. It's all in my head. So if I die, you all are shit out of luck"

LOL, I wonder if Parris knows...

On POVs

George said that at first he was just going to use the original POVs from AGoT for the entire series, then he realized that he needed to see what Stannis was doing, but did'nt want to use Stannis as a POV. So he created Davos. Davos was his first added POV. The rest followed.

On writing his POVs, as Rhelle mentioned above, he uses their motivations and desires. What do they want? What do they want to achieve? What drives them? What SHOULD they do? Ethics, morals, ambitions, etc... all part of the mix.

On the 5 year gap this has probably already been discussed before, but here goes. George said that he was writing ADwD and was writing the flashbacks (he confirmed that they would have been flashbacks) and then he realized that he couldn't just skip things like Myrcella being crowned and the resulting dornish problems, for example. Originally he had wanted to skip the 5 years to make the kids older. But he said he realized that he was being impatient, and that those 5 years had too much important stuff to skim over. And as banditski noted above, Rickon will not be in AFfC. George's exact words: "no, he's not old enough yet." Hmmmmm. YET.

On Jaime

at a panel:

Q: "Did you know from the beginning that you would flesh Jaime out and make him a pov?"

GRRM: "I knew I would flesh him out, but no, I did not know he would be a pov."

Some pronunciations:

Lyanna = lye-anna
Catelyn = cat-linn
Maester = may-ster (that one's pretty obvious)
Moat Cailin = Moat Cah-lan
Sansa = Saun-sa
Khaleesi = Khal-eee-see
Missandei = mees-anday
Tommen = Toam-in
Davos = Dah-vos
Varys = Var-us

Many of you probably knew those, but they were new to me! So I thought I'd share

Something weird: I THINK he indicated that the dragons are NOT all the same sex. My question was intercepted, but I believe that was the answer. Cool. Reign of fire baby! One of my favorite things that George said: he was talking about how he uses ancient software on his computer and he said something like "no fucking dancing paperclip for me." LOL. we were dying.

Torcon (Toronto, Canada; August 28-September 1)

I too picked up a few things in talking with him...

In no particular order:

We won't see any (or very little) of Rickon in AFfC.

I was talking with george and the dude from FFG [Fantasy Flight Games] who does the card game, and George asked the FFG guy how he was going to balance the power of the families (Stark, Lannister, Greyjoy, etc) once the dragons are full grown. He said something like "once dany lands in westeros with full grown dragons, they are gonna kickass all over the place" (paraphrasing - it was something more like "they will be tougher than anything we've seen since Aegon the Conquorer.")

We probably won't get the POV from an Other, but we will find out more about them (history, motives, etc.)

Oh, I also asked George if he could say what new map(s) there will be in AFfC. He answered the Free Cities.

Torcon (Toronto, Canada; August 28-September 1)

[Note: This report fleshes out details given in this report.]

Fleshing out some of the notes Rhelle took on the Q&A:

"George was asked if he would change anything and he says nothing major."

The person asking the question noted that, when Tolkien wrote LotR, he had the advantage of completing the entire trilogy prior to publication, and therefore could revise portions of, say, the first book while he was writing the second. The person asked whether, since George's works are serial, were there any changes he would make? George said that there are a few minor details he's noticed that are inconsistent between books, and these are the only things he would change (and *has* changed in later editions).

"We are completely 'shit out of luck' if George dies." And "George gave out props to Ran and says he checks with Ran for mistakes. (GO RAN!!! Yes, we cheered you)."

I recall these being all part of one answer, but my memory could be faulty. I believe the question was: Did George have an idea how the books are going to end? Is it written down somewhere? How does he keep all the details straight? And what happens if he dies? George gave his, 'sorry, SOL' answer. He said that he does keep some details written down on his computer, but mostly it's all "up here" in his head. "Also, there's a man called Elio in Sweden, and he knows all the details, knows everything better than I do. I can just ask Elio."

I don't recall what the question was, but our Tolkien fans would be interested in a snippet George mentioned. He said one of the beauties of LotR is how the book starts out with a small world, and gradually expands. You start with this huge sprawling map, and it's just of the Hobbit lands, and this is all our hobbits really know of. There's no talk of, say, Minias Tirith [and no LotR fans better come excoriate me for spelling that wrong] at the beginning. Then, when the journey begins, the hobbits -- and the readers -- get this incredible sense of an ever-expanding world, and how they are just a small part of it.

The guy who asked whether Westeros was in the southern hemisphere was really quite certain George was gonna say yes to that one, and seemed shocked when George said, "Ummmm. No."

Tommen rhymes with "omen."

Chataya is shuh-TIE-yuh.

George mentioned over and over this weekend how he doesn't feel that there's really a boundary between fantasy and sci fi. My new prediction is that the Others are actually space aliens, that the "dragons" asleep below Dragonstone and Winterfell are actually space ships, and that we'll end with Dany's dragons in a fight with aliens shooting space lasers. You heard it here first, folks!

Torcon (Toronto, Canada; August 28-September 1)

[Note: Proofread for clarity. This is in response to a question regarding whether Brandon's duel with Littlefinger was before or after Harrenhal.]

And when I asked him your question, Ran, about Brandon, he said he couldn't be 100% sure without checking his notes but he thought it was after Harrenhal.

Torcon (Toronto, Canada; August 28-September 1)

Frey rhymes with "Day"

Jonquil is pronounced John-Kill.

Dolorous is pronounced Dollar-Us

Tobho rhymes with Bobo

Torcon (Toronto, Canada; August 28-September 1)

This chapter was originally part of the prologue, of which was 250 pages. Now the material will be spread throughout the book. POVs are listed and George says "Meeren with Dany" and it sounded to me like she was going to stay there throughout the book.

George was asked if he would change anything and he says nothing major.

We are completely "shit out of luck" if George dies.

Regarding the size and geography of Westeros: it is about the size of South America. It is Not in the southern hemisphere. Stop asking George about distances and travel time. Measuring the realm by the reference of how long the Wall is NOT valid.

George says he is drowning in POVs and will have to start killing some off soon. (said with laughter)

AFFC is getting longer and more difficult to fit the entire 5 years in.

Some people will never be POVs: Littlefinger, Varys, Howland Reed, and others who know too much.

George gave out props to Ran and says he checks with Ran for mistakes. (GO RAN!!! Yes, we cheered you)

ASOIAF is loosely based on the War of the Roses and the 100 year war.

Politics: look at all people, not just POVs and he thinks through what these people want-what they are after, what is in it for them.

No regrets about killing of chars.

George talks about nutty fans, and related a story about a woman who contacted him complaining that he killed her daughter, who was named Kathryn (Beauty and the Beast).

Boskone (Boston, MA; February 14-16)

[Note: There is a very large potential spoiler contained herein. We must note that there are contradictory claims from those who say GRRM addressed the issue at ConJose the previous year. It is entirely possible GRRM changed his mind between one point or the next, or that one person or another misheard him -- although the present reporter has said in a later mail that she is 99% certain that she heard correctly.]

I just came back from a weekend book convention in Boston at which George R.R. Martin was present. I went to several panels where he debated many issues with other fantasy authors. He talked about the difference between sci-fi and fantasy (or the lack thereof) and several other things. My husband and I got to go to an event called a Kaffeklatsche where about 10 people get to sit around a table with an author and ask questions. I will detail some of the questions that I recall.

"IS A FEAST FOR CROWS DONE YET?"

(Pointing to his hat that says, "No, AFfC is not done yet") He has several hundred pages of manuscript but he is not finished yet. This one is taking a lot longer to write than he expected. He hopes to be done with the manuscript this fall. He said that he started writing the book set several years after the events of the last book but after he was several hundred pages in he decided that that just wasn't working; that he had to leave too much out. He is doing a different type of prologue this time. It has chapters. He says that he is also planning on adding Theon (I think that was who he said) as a viewpoint character.

"DO YOU HAVE CULINARY EXPERIENCE?"

(asked since he has a wonderful knack for describing food) No, he doesn't love to cook, but he loves to eat. (a direct quote I swear!) He just thinks that in in order for something to seem "real" you have to describe the sights, smells and tastes of everything around you.

"DO YOU HAVE AN INTEREST IN HERALDRY?"

Yes, he does. He in fascinated by heraldry though the "tossed out" one of the major heraldic laws, the tincture rule.

"HOW MANY BOOKS WILL THERE BE"

He says there were only supposed to be three but he couldn't fit everything into three books. He says that he hopes there will only be six (but where have we heard this before?).

"WHY DO YOU KILL OFF EVERYONE?"

Because wars don't care who is "good" and who is "bad"

"WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE CHARACTER"

Tyrion

"DO YOU HAVE THE LANGUAGES ALL PLANNED OUT?"

No he'll make up a word here and there but he does NOT have the whole language written.

There were a whole bunch of other questions that I don't recall well enough to rewrite their answers. He did a signing on Sunday and after his line disappeared I got to go over and schmooze a little bit with Him, Alex Irvine and Tamora Pierce. And, the crown jewel of the weekend was the reading that he did. an hour and a half (two chapters) from AFfC that won't be in DRAGON magazine this month (for those who don't know, there will be four chapters from the prologue in DRAGON magazine this month and these were not two of the four). Martin seemed way more "down and dirty" with his fans that Jordan was. Jordan was a very pleasant individual but he seemed intent on keeping himself wrapped in a cloak of mystery. With Martin, what you see is what you get. In general, a way cool individual to chat with!

Wow, Jordan and Martin in three weeks! I don't think I'll get to Terry Goodkind until this summer. My mom is hoping to have him come and sign at her bookstore when his next book comes out. I will give you a full report after that happens as well. Have a wonderful evening!