I don't know if you've given this any thought or not, but has the Westeros realm ever invaded the mainland to the east?
There have been a few attempts to claim some of the Stepstones, a chain of large islands in the narrow sea east of Dorne and Storm's End.
And after the death of the Targaryen dragons, did the lords ever rebel against their king?
Yes, there have been rebellions, most notably by the Blackfyre pretenders.
Several months ago I asked you who the POV would be in the last chapter of 'A Storm of Swords', but you said that you would not be certain until you wrote that chapter, if it is possible, could tell me who the final POV is now?
More than that, I shall not say.
The Rootes are said to be lords of Harroway. I presume this means that the Harroways were of Harroway -- giving their name to it -- before they were raised to the station of lords of Harrenhal, and the Rootes took up the rule of Harroway castle.
Ah.... not quite... there's a town on the Trident, a little upriver from the ruby ford, called Lord Harroway's Town... it's called Harroway for short, since the full name is a little much... that's where the Rootes have their lordship. We get a brief glimpse of LHT in ASOS...
A couple of bits of news...
There has been some confusion about the publication dates of A STORM OF SWORDS. It appears there are several different dates posted at various places on the web, particularly in regard to the British edition from HarperCollins Voyager. I asked my editor at Harper to clarify. Her reply:
"We'll now have bound stock July 21 and the book will be in the shops shortly thereafter, from July 28"
That is the latest and most reliable information I have.
The American edition of A STORM OF SWORDS, from Bantam, will be released in hardcover in October. It will be preceded in September by the release of the US paperback of A CLASH OF KINGS, which will contain a sample chapter from SWORDS ... the first Sansa chapter.
Another source of confusion has been the number of pages in the book. In manuscript, A STORM OF SWORDS weighed in at 1500+ pages, some 350 pages longer than A CLASH OF KINGS. But those are manuscript pages. All books shrink somewhat when set in type. I have corrected page proofs of SWORDS, and it will come in at just under 1000 pages.
Various readers tell me that Amazon has it listed at 600 pages, and want to know if half the book has been cut out. No. Nothing has been cut out. I have no idea where Amazon got that number. It means nothing.
There is yet further confusion about the cover of the book. Several different versions of the British cover seem to be up on the web.
Finally, the Meisha Merlin deluxe limited edition of A GAME OF THRONES continues to move forward. Jeffrey Jones has completed all the interior illustrations, as well as the four color paintings. I am told that the 52-copy lettered edition is almost sold out; seven copies remained as of a few days ago, for those who might want one. There are still plenty of the numbered edition available, but we expect those to go quickly as well, once Meisha Merlin's ads begin to run.
And no, for all those who keep asking, I have not yet started on A DANCE WITH DRAGONS. I'm still dealing with A STORM OF SWORDS at this point -- correcting proofs, working with the mapmakers, attending to revisions and copyediting, etc.
...there's some confusion about the death of Micah, the butcher's boy. Did the Hound personally kill him? Some feel that the book is inconclusive on this point given that we know he was out with a search party but we don't see them when he returns...
Ah... Ned does see them when they return... he is in the yard when the Hound rides in, with Mycah's hewn corpse wrapped up on the back on his horse. Sandor even tells Ned how he did it -- "He ran... but not very fast." I am confused myself about how there could be confusion on this point. Yes, the Hound killed him.
others note that Arya has him in her little litany for killing Micah which suggests she knew it was him.
Arya wasn't there, but of course she knows. Presumably Ned tells her.
This one is probably trivial, but when did Benjen join the Watch? Right after the war against the Targaryens, more or less?
Pretty much, yes. Probably around about the time Ned returned from the south and Catelyn and Robb and Jon took up residence.
[Note: This is an excerpt from a mail concerning a recent addition to the heraldry files. For the arms of the Freys, please look at the Heraldry section of the Citadel.]
One thing, though -- you gave us the quarterings for all save the two Rivers' with the Frey arms by the mother's arms. However, as I was about to start work, it struck me that at Winterfell the two Walders actually quartered their arms by those of their mothers and their grandmothers . . .
This of course makes me wonder whether Ser Cleos's arms should be the same -- quartered by Lannister and Royce. However, I suppose it wouldn't be inappropriate at all if Ser Cleos and the rest of Ser Emmon's brood preferred to keep the lion alone with the castle, since being the son of a daughter of a Great House is a pretty major "achievement."
Yes, I agree. Quartering is still not the usual practice in the Seven Kingdoms. It did not really become standard in real life until after knights had stopped carrying shields in battle, and for good reason -- the sort of grand quartered coats that later became common would have been really useless on a battlefield for purposes of indentification. Much too confusing to the eye. Since they still carry shields in Westeros, I think quartering is as far as they go... and even that is more the exception than the rule.
[Note: This is an excerpt from a mail concerning a recent addition to the heraldry files. For the arms of House Myre, Lord Rossart, and House Shett, please look at the Heraldry section of the Citadel.]
I think you once said that the Myre arms (ten nooses) had some special significance, but what that is escapes me. Was it commemorating a day ten men were hanged, perhaps?
Something like that, but I haven't fleshed out the story yet.
Similarly, you mentioned that you changed House Stonehouse's arms (which had a torch) because Lord Rossart, the pyromancer Hand of Aerys, took a torch as his personal sigil. We could toss that into the personal arms section. I'm guessing it's something like a hand of some hue holding a torch lit with wildfire, on red or perhaps flame.
I visualized a simple image of a torch, burning with normal fire colors... but I think I like your suggestion better. A pyrcomancer =would= prefer wildfire's jade flame.
Also, looking at the new Vale houses, House Shett is listed as being lords of Gulltown, although we already have House Grafton as that. Some sort of shared control?
Sure, why not. Gulltown is either a very big town or a small city, plenty large enough for two Houses.
We are hoping to differentiate between towns, cities, and castles on the new maps, which has got me thinking about such things. There are five cities in Westeros: King's Landing, Oldtown, Lannisport, Gulltown, and White Harbor. But the first two are much bigger than Lannisport, which is in turn much bigger than the last two.
[Summary: This is a conversation between Mr. Martin and Ser Benjen through AOL's Instant Messanger service. It has been edited for clarity.]
SerBenjen: May I ask you 2 questions?
SerBenjen: Thanks. How long were the Targaryens on Dragonstone before they invaded?
GeoRR: a couple hundred years
[Note: Skipping ahead for clarity.]
GeoRR: Well, there are lots of new characters... you met some of them in the four chapters... you sure you heard the name right?
SerBenjen: That's how they spelled it. I just thought it sounded a bit odd.
GeoRR: New characters in ASOS include...hmmm... the Queen of Thorns, the Magnar of Thenn, Tormund Giantsbane, Ser Garlan Tyrell, Queen Margaery's cousins, the sellswords Daario Naharis, Brown Ben Plumm, and Mero the Titan's Bastard, the singer Tom o' Sevens, the outlaws Lem Lemoncloak, Jack-Be-Lucky, and Anguy the archer, the black brothers Small Paul, Satin, Owen the Oaf, and Sweet Donnel Hill, a Dornish paramour named Ellaria Sand... many more...
In the North: Lake, Condon, Fenn, Marsh, Slate, and Harclay...
These all look great too. Including Harclay, which is just what I intended. I am trying to keep the northern shields significantly simpler, to underline the fact that the northmen aren't into the whole chivalry thing as deeply as the southrons. That's the reason for Lake, Marsh, Fenn, Slate, etc. -- simple names, simple shields.
[Note: This is an excerpt from a mail concerning a recent addition to the heraldry files. For the arms of House Brune and those of Ser Lothor, please look at the Heraldry section of the Citadel.]
For House Brune (listed under King's Landing) . . . is this the senior branch to Lothor Brune's new knightly house? Or is Lothor taking on a personal addition to his chosen arms?
Lothor is actually a distant cousin (read: poor relation) to House Brune. When he receives knighthood after the battle, however, he reassumes the house arms differenced by the addition of his own achievement vis a vis the Fossoways.
In a message dated 6/1/00 8:43:49 AM Mountain Daylight Time, Green Gerg writes:
<<One interesting note -- we will have two different sets of maps this time.
Fascinating....all the more reason for diehards like myself and the board people to snap up both editions.... It's been difficult for me at times to visualize the Free Cities in relation to each other and Westeros, so for myself, I can say I'm thrilled to see even a partial Eastern map.
It =is= a partial map, though, and I fear that the Free Cities aren't on it. I will include them in a future volume, probably A DANCE WITH DRAGONS.