[The response to this mail concerns a question about a statement Renly makes (quoted by myself and included in Martin's response) about justification for the Baratheon claim to the throne after the rebellion.]
"Oh, there was talk of the blood ties between Baratheon and Targaryen, of weddings a hundred years past, _of second sons and elder daughters._"
Ummmm... I think you are putting a lot more weight on this slender branch than it can bear. Renly was a carefree and careless soul, and he was speaking in broad generalizations here. He cared almost nothing about the legal basis of his brother's claim, as the context makes clear; so far as he was concerned, the only thing that mattered was the size of your army.
HarperCollins UK just sent me some copies of an advertising supplement they did in the GUARDIAN newspaper. It includes a "Timeline" of landmarks of SF and fantasy through history, and they included A GAME OF THRONES (they had better, they publish it over there).
The best part, though, is the capsule description, wherein they call ASOIAF "the 12 CAESARS of fantasy literature, with characters so venomous they could eat the Borgias."
I must say, being compared to Suetonius certainly beats being compared to David Eddings, but my various part is "CHARACTERS SO VENOMOUS THEY COULD EAT THE BORGIAS!" With ketchup or hot sauce, I wonder?
I am under impression, that unlike in historical middle ages, the land estates in Westeros are neither splitted among several children, nor combined. Basically, the heir inherits all and if another title comes their way, it goes to a hetherto landless sibling. Am I right?
More or less. Holdings are seldom divided. Nor are they combined, as a rule, although one person could concievably hold more than one title. The other major factor is the current lord -- if one decided to do something unusual with his estates, that would carry weight. (Might also cause disputes, though)
Yet being a landless son of a noble family doesn't prevent one from marriage (as it did in the middle ages). So, is a lord in Westeros bound by law and custom to support his relatives with a designated portion of his income?
No. Some do (the Freys, the Lannisters). Some don't (Gregor Clegane with Sandor). Some put their excess relatives to work (the Freys again) in the castle, or give them vassal holdfasts (the Starks and Targaryens).
And if so, why aren't excessive relatives shunted into the Faith, Citadel, etc. in order to concerve the family fortune?
Some are. The Freys again. The Tyrells as well.
Also, what about dowries?
What about them?
And what's the difference between landed knights (Ser Gregor Clegane) and very small lords (i.e. Lord Baelish the Elder)?
The title. A lord has greater powers of rulership over his domain (the power of pits and gallows, it was called in some medieval cultures) Lord would generally be considered the more prestigious title. A knight is (or was) a fighting man, however; that title has its own specific martial and religious meanings -- and in a culture that reveres the warrior, its own prestige. Not all lords are knights.
A landed knight could concievably have greater holdings than a small lord.
First; did Ser Forley Prester send any part of his 4000 men at the Golden Tooth to Ser Stafford Lannister at Oxcross, in order to augment his host? Or were they all kept at the Tooth by Prester?
That's much too big a garrison for a small castle like the Tooth, so I expect that he sent many of them down to Ser Stafford. Blooded veterans to help train the raw green levies... of course, that didn't work out too well...
Second; what did Robb do with the Tyroshi sellsword who dipped his banners at Riverrun?
I don't know what Robb did with him... but =I= forgot all about him, I blush to admit.
Now that you've reminded me... I imagine he kept most of them with him when he went west. Having just marched through the westerlands when they were on the other side, they would have had a certain value.
I also would expect that he suffered some desertions... these men were not bound to him by oath or ancient loyalty, and there was plenty of plunder to be had...
There's at least one Tyroshi outlaw in the riverlands in SOS... good chance he was a deserter, although whether it was Jaime or Robb that he deserted, I couldn't tell you right now...
Who was the Queen of Thorns betrothed to? Her age is kind of indeterminate, but if she's 85, I figure it could be Aerion Targaryen himself. Her comment about him is what makes me think that. On the other hand, if she's younger, I suppose it was one of Egg's sons.
She's not that old. Remember, she's Mace Tyrell's mother, not his grandmother. She's in her sixties, I'd say. Did I say she was older in the manuscript? If so, I need to go back and fix that. As to her betrothal... that's a story yet to be told.
"A fanfare of trumpets greeted each of the heroes as he stepped between the great oaken doors. Heralds cried his name and deeds for all to hear..."
The Tyrells are given pride of place. Are the heralds recounting deeds on the battlefield of the Blackwater or something more general ('knighted at 15, defeated the Kingslayer in the final tilt on Joffrey's nameday, etc.')? This has to do with the whole Renly's ghost thing, I admit, but if Loras and Garlan both have an arm-long list of deeds from the battle recited as they enter the hall...
The Knight of Flowers fought gloriously on the Blackwater, and I have no doubt that the heralds mentioned that, but his other martial accompishments were also mentioned, no doubt.
In 'The Hedge Knight' ancient dragons are mentioned, thousands of years olds. Were there Dragons in Westeros before the Targaryens brought them, or did the Targaryens bring the skeletons of the old Dragons with them?
There were dragons all over, once.
The follow up question, which I realise may be something you keep for the books, is what happened to the Dragons out of Westeros? If I understood correctly, the Alchemists say that there were no more Dragons anywhere. Was that so?
There are no more dragons known to exist... but this is a medieval period, and large parts of the world are still terra incognita, so there are always tales of dragon sightings in far off mysterious places. The maesters tend to discount those.
I am a huge fan of Tad Williams. Although I loved Tolkien for many years, I had pretty much stopped reading modern fantasy, since so much of it was awful derivative stuff. Then I tried Tad's DRAGONBONE CHAIR, and sat up and said to myself, "Yes! This genre can be terrific, in the hands of a good writer."
I would likely never have written A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE without that inspiration.
So, yes, "Josua and Elyas" are definitely a tip o' the hat to one of my favorite fantasy writers. And here's a hint... there are numerous similar homages to other favorites buried in the text, if you can find 'em.
What relation is Edric Dayne to Ser Arthur and Lady Ashara? Will we get to meet him in ASOS?
Edric Dayne is the nephew of Ser Arthur and Lady Ashara.
(Ran, I also asked him why would Dany want to invade the Seven Kingdoms if she is barren (no heir, you know). He said no comment on that one.)