The Citadel

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

So Spake Martin

Eurocon (Czech Republic; July 3-7)

Q: When AFFC is going to come out?
A: It is going slow, but I hope to finish it before the end of the year, so it should be published several months later.

Q: And how long is it going to be?
A: Certainly not as long as ASOS. Perhaps about ACOK length.

Q: How many books are there going to be in the series?
A: I still hope it is going to be six, but it may as well be seven. It depends how the story will flow. I am not going to force anything.

Q: There was a preview of AFFC posted on How much it has in common with what is really happening in the book? I am asking because there were some unexpected things happening in it.
A: It has some in common. I send it more than a year ago and I could change my opinion in some matters. Remember that the chapters I read at the conventions also aren't the final versions. I can change my opinion there as well.

Q: Are you definitely going to write more Hedge Knight stories.
A: Yes, there is a deal made for the second story in the anthology Legends 2. I hope to write several stories and put them together in a book.

In Tuesday there was a meeting in some bar which was supposed to be meeting with local fans, but not many of those showed up. There were some fans form Poland who knew ASOIAF, but they didn't yet read ASOS. One of them mentioned that his favorite character is Robb. Poor guy. GRRM said only that he have some surprises coming.

GRRM's speech was in Thursday evening. It was titled "Bat Durston, the Bard and Me". I believe it is already known. he told abut his career as a writer, mentioned that he wrote science fiction, fantasy and horror from the very beginning and doesn't think there is any great division between those genres. He added that in seventies science fiction was fashionable genre whilst fantasy was considered somewhat quaint and archaic. He also said that he wrote some science fact articles for Analog. It ended with his famous furniture theory: The furniture rules. Where you have spaceships in the story, it is SF, when you have dragons, it is fantasy, and when you have vampires, it is horror, even if the story itself is basically the same.

At the midnight tea party with GRRM which lasted two hours into the night (he is really wonderful guy. It was scheduled only for one hour) there was a lot of questions asked. There are some of them:

Q: You often kill off your characters. Why?
A: I often like to kill one of the main character at the beginning, to establish that I play for keeps. Nobody is safe! It is not the first time I did it. I admire Tolkien, but I think he made a mistake returning Gandalf to life.

Q: Your characters are paricularly well-drawn and people care for them astonishingly much. Which character you like the most and which perhaps the least?
A: My favorite character is Tyrion. He is perhaps the most like me and his chapters are the easiest to write. I don't really dislike any of my characters. When I write, I become them to some extent and it wouldn't be possible for me to despise them.

Q: Isn't it very difficult to write from the point of view of character that is less intelligent than you? I mean, you must ask yourself: How stupid this character can really be?
A: I don't think any of mine characters is really very stupid. It would be certainly dfficult to write from the point of view of someone like Hodor.

Q: Are you going to return to your science fiction universe? I know that you have unfinished SF novel Avalon.
A: I have several unfinished novels. I love my science fiction universe and I would like to return to it, but I am afraid it is a little bit dated. There are no such things as personal computer, Internet or nanotechnology in it. The question it: Do I write it into the new stories, risking lack of consistency, or does it stay as it was? I also had at some point a deal for second Tuf book, but nothing came of it. Still, who knows?

Q: Do you give your books to read to some friends, and do you change things when they say you they don't make sense?
A: I do. I especially want them to seek out discrepancies. They do, but still some mistakes slip through. There was a matter of Targaryen dynasty when had to change brother of one kings into an uncle, because a fan wrote to me that the dates aren't consistent. He was right. Sometimes the eyes of some character change color, and my Dutch translator wrote to me an a mail tahn one of the horses changed sex between AGOT and ACOK.

Q: Do you know how the story is going to end, or are you making it all up as you come?
A: Yes, I know the end. I know the basic outlines of the story, but not necessarily all the details, because it would take fun out of writing.

Q: What do you think about open ended series?
A: I think it is all right in, say, detective stories, when you have a detective resolving still new cases, but each story can stand alone. A fantasy series should have an ending. I may return to Westeros, to write stories set in the distand lands, as Braavos and other free cities, in the past, or in the future (important! It shows that Westeros does have a future), but ASOIAF will end.

Q: How your day of work looks like?
A: I rise in the morning, I start the computer and I answer e-mails (a lot of e mails) I have a coffee, I start to write and I have second coffee. In in the best days, after hours the coffee is cold, because I went to Westeros and forgot about it. But it is only on the best days. Usually it is more tough.

Q: Do you strive for originality in your stories?
A: I think originality is overrated quality. Consider H, G. Wells who has come with the whole idea of time travel. It was terribly original, because nobody did it before him. Then came another person who wrote about time travel into the past. It was also very original, because Wells wrote only about travel into the future, but he was already working on the second story of the whole edifice. The came another person who wrote about time paradoxes, and it was also original, but it was already the third story. Today we are all working on the forty seventh story and we can only add new details to the things invented by others. That is why I think the quality of the story takes precedence before originality.

There was a lot more, but I think those are the most interesting.