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August 2000

Ned’s Return After the War
Submitted By: Jeff

[Summary: Jeff reports his enjoyment of A Storm of Swords. He specifically mentions the epilogue and its final twist.]

The twist was fun, yes, and I like some of the dialogue... though while I was writing it I almost began to feel sorry for poor, hapless Merrett Muttonhead, who never did have any luck, just as he complained...

But thanks for the kind words. I'm glad you liked the book.

Second, when Ned Stark and Howland Reed returned North from Dorne after the events at the Tower of Joy, etc. were they completely alone during that journey, or were they accompanied by some household guards, etc. for security?

You'll likely learn more about Ned's homecoming in future books. It's a long way from Dorne to Winterfell, a journey of months. More than that I'd rather not reveal just now.

Trade with Asshai
Submitted By: Kay-Arne Hansen

Is there any trade between Westeros and Asshai over the Sunset Sea, or are those uncharted waters?

Over the =Sunset= Sea? No. No one has ever crossed the Sunset Sea to learn what lies on the other side.

Trading ships bound for Asshai go east through the Summer Sea and the Jade Sea, which are connected by the straights at Qarth.

Also, do the Westerosi have the concept of a round world, or do they think it's flat (maybe the maesters know this...)?

Interesting question. I suspect the maesters and more educated classes realize the world is round, but the common folk may still believe in a flat world.

Aerys and Rhaegar
Submitted By: Rania

Am I reading things between the lines that aren't really there, but was Rhaegar and Aerys' relationship not all that it could be?

There were definitely tensions between father and son. More will be revealed in future books.

A Number of Questions
Submitted By: Daniel J. Linehan

[Summary: Words of praise, particularly for the surprising plot twists.]

Thanks for the kind words. I'm pleased I was able to keep you surprised.

I have six questions; I hope that doesn't overwhelm you. Feel free to take the fifth on any of these.

You keep upping the ante; are you concerned that A Dance With Dragons won't be able to top this one, as this improved on ACOK, and ACOK improved on AGOT?

Yes, of course. In any series like this, you are always concerned about the next book. The last thing you want to do is fumble at the goal line.

Have you started A Dance With Dragons yet?

Well, not the writing, but thinking about it, yes...

If not, do you have any idea when you will?

After worldcon.

Could you reveal any "dead" POV's (like Cat's, Theon's, and Ned's), and maybe the new ones too (Rickon, mayhaps)?

No.

Is it well known that Renly and Loras are gay? (Jaime's comment seems to indicate as much.)

What do you think?

Do you have any idea what Rhaenys and Aegon looked like? (Hair color, eye color, etc.)

Rhaenys looked more like a Martell, Aegon more a Targaryen.

That's it for me. Good luck on the next book...

Thanks.

Warfare and Chess
Submitted By: HAL9000

...Do you study ancient warfare as well as medieval warfare?

Yes, I've always been interested in ancient history. I draw on as many sources as I can.

Your homepage states that you "directed chess tournaments for the Continental Chess Association 1973-1976". I used to be an avid chess player myself (now I mostly play coffee-chess), and I wondered if you still play chess?

Not for many years, I'm afraid. I was a very active player in the 60s and 70s, and at one point had an expert's rating, but that was a long time ago...

Young Lord Connington
Submitted By: Rania

I was wondering if you would be kind of enough to tell me which Lord Connington fought the Battle of the Bells? Was it Rhaegar's friend? or his father? The debate seems to arise from the fact that Rhaegar's friend is referred to as Young Lord Connington whereas the Hand who fought and lost the Battle of the Bells was Lord Connington, are they one and the same? Or was the Hand the father of Rhaegar's friend?

It's the same man in all these references.

Aerys initially replaced Lord Tywin with the elderly, amiable Lord Merryweather, a courtier who was famed for throwing lavish feasts and flattering the king shamelessly. When Robert and Ned and Jon Arryn began their rebellion, Merryweather declared them outlaws and sent commands to various lesser lords to deliver them or their heads, but never stirred from King's Landing.

His methods proved largely ineffectual.. so much so that the paranoid king suspected him of deliberately helping Robert through inaction. So he stripped Merryweather of lands, title, and office and sent him into exile, and chose a very different man for Hand -- the young, vigorous Lord Connington, a friend of Rhaegar's who had a great reputation as a warrior.

Connington assembled an army and led it into the field personally... but as you read, his methods were no more successful than Merryweather's had been.

T-Shirts
Submitted By: Rania

FYI, Parris just got back from Denver, where she printed the long-awaited Baratheon and Lannister t-shirts. They look awesome, if I do say so myself.

I got the first ones hot off the silk screen, and will be wearing mine at worldcon.

Wonderful Moira Peters artwork, as with the earlier Targaryen and Stark designs: the gold Lannister lion on crimson, and the crowned stag of Baratheon black on gold.

Some Questions
Submitted By: Markus Rasch

Mance's, Sandor's and Gregor's fate wasn't entirely clear to me. Was this your intention...

Oh, yes. I like to leave a few people hanging from cliffs...

Now that Tywin is dead, does this mean that Casterly Rock goes to Cersei as his only eligible child? Or to Kevan?

Cersei has the strongest claim. It is not impossible that the Rock will be a bone of contention among the Lannisters, however.

Neither Robb nor the Night's Watch learned that Dreadfort man had attacked Ser Rodrik and his host at Winterfell, and had burned castle and town. Does this then mean that nobody of Ser Rodrik's host could flee to tell the truth about the role of Ramsay Snow?

Most of the leaders of Ser Rodrik's host were slain, but a good many of the common soldiers survived and have doubtless straggled back to their villages and holdfasts, spreading tales as they go. Of course, the situation was confused enough so that the tales may disagree, even with each other...

We were repeatedly told that Ashara Dayne threw herself into the sea. I wonder how this is known for sure. Was her body ever found?

No.

We know that Roose Bolton had already taken Walda Frey to wife before Robb married Jeyne Westerling. Does this then mean that Walder Frey had already planned to ally himself with Bolton to murder Robb before Robb's marriage betrayal, or was his anger towards Robb and his reasoning towards his own family as to why Robb had to be killed more than just a pretext, and the genuine reason for the Red Wedding?

"What if" questions are impossible to answer with any certainty... knowing old Lord Walder's character, it is likely he would have searched for some way to disentangle himself from a losing cause sooner or later, but his desertion would likely have taken a less savage form. The Red Wedding was motivated by his desire to wash out the dishonor that was done him...

As for Bolton, if you reread all his sections carefully, I think you will see a picture of a man keeping all his options open as long as he could... sniffing the wind, covering his tracks, ready to jump either way... even as late as his supper with Jaime at Harrenhal...

Thanks for all the kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed the book.

UnCat
Submitted By: Kay-Arne Hansen

First, the resolution of the poisoning of Joff mystified me. If Olenna Tyrell was going to do the actual poisoning, what was the reasoning behind giving Sansa the hairnet? Surely Olenna could have brought in poison herself - I cannot imagine they'd strip search her, or anything. Was the hairnet simply for the benefit of Sansa - to give her hope?

I'll leave you to puzzle this one out by yourself.

Secondly - the introduction of a revived Cat in the epilogue caused some dispute on the board. (BTW, after a few awkward meanderings on what exactly to call this 'revenant', we've dubbed her 'UnCat'. ;o) Some thought it was fine, some thought it cheapens the plot to use this device.

And some, like myself, would withhold judgement, until we see where you're going with this character. My question is whether Cat is exactly the same person now as she was just before her throat was cut (beyond the physical deterioriation, I mean), or whether she has changed.

Death does change a person. No, I do not think Catelyn is as she was, no more than Lord Beric...

And by the way, there will no Catelyn POVs in future volumes, which may tell you something.

Thanks, as ever. Glad you enjoyed the book.

Valarr and the Tourney
Submitted By: Rania

[Note: This is an edited transcript of a conversation between Rania and Mr. Martin, carried out over AOL's Instant Messanger.]

Rania: in the hedge knight, it was said that the KG didn't participatein the tourney becasuse it was agasinst their oaths to fight a prince of the blood. but we know that rhaegar fought against at least ser barristan and ser arthur in tourneys... what changed?

GeoRR: a tourney really isn't a fight... it's sport

Rania: i know. and i understand why baelor didn't worry about the king's guard fighting on areion 's side in the trial by combat. But even before that , the KGs who were at Ashfort said that they wouldnt fight in that tourney because they didnt want to fight against Valarr and Aerion..

GeoRR: well.... ssshhhhh.... but it's pretty plain in Hedge Knight, if you read between the lines, that everyone was bending over backwards to make Valarr look good

Arya’s Destination
Submitted By: Emilie

I have just read A Storm of Swords, and it was wonderful...well, beyond wonderful, really, but there aren't enough words to describe it properly. I cried at least three times.

I always strive for emotional impact. Laughter and tears are the most sincere praise... but your kind words are welcome too.

would ask two questions, if I may. First: Do people ever recognize you at bookstores or the mall?

Well, it happened once... but no, not very often...

Second: In the very last Arya chapter, we see her gain passage using the iron coin. I would assume this ship is going to Eastwatch, her intended destination. Would I be correct in this assumption?

No, the captain is sailing for home.

Jenny of Oldstone’s Song
Submitted By: Lommy

[Summary: Lommy compliments GRRM on A Storm of Swords and asks what the chances are at getting a look at the lyrics to the song about Jenny of Oldstones.]

The chances are not good.

I did write a few verses, but they were cut. I wanted that particular song to be very haunting and evocative, and I don't think I quite achieved that.

Worldcon Schedule
Submitted By: Elio M. García, Jr.

I have just received my schedule next month's worldcon in Chicago. If there are any readers who plan on attending Chicon and would like to meet me or get an autograph, they will be able to find me at the following events:

FRIDAY Sept 1

============

11:30 am Panel Discussion: BEYOND THE GENERIC MIDDLE AGES w/ Robert Jordan, Sean McMullen, Dennis McKiernan, Jane Routley

SATURDAY Sept 2

===============

1:00 pm KAFFEKLATSCH (note: attendance at these kaffeeklatsches is limited, and requires advance sign-up at the con)

4:00 pm panel discussion: THE IDEAL LENGTH FOR SCIENCE FICTION w/ Robert Reed, Adam Troy-Castro, Nick DiChario, Dennis McKiernan

SUNDAY Sept 3

============

10:00 am - 11:15 am AUTOGRAPHING

2:30 pm - 3:35 pm READING from A STORM OF SWORDS

Other items may be added later, and of course all these are subject to change, but this is my worldcon schedule as it stands at present.

I hope to see many of you in Chicago.

George R.R. Martin

The Westerlings
Submitted By: Rania

[Summary: Rania asks GRRM about the Westerlings and which of them knew of the plot (Rania assumes Jeyne was aware, but isn't sure about her brothers) and was Jeyne purposefully thrown at Robb?]

Interesting observations.

Sorry, no comment from this end.

Robb’s Crown
Submitted By: Rania

I had forgotten that all the others signed and witnessed Robb's decree. Also, wasn't Robb a King when he signed the decree? Granted not king of much, with the North lost but he was a King wasn't he?

He was a king in his own eyes and those of his followers... in the eyes of the Lannisters and Stannis and =their= followers he was a rebel, traitor, and would-be usurper.

Jon Snow
Submitted By: Rania

I have a question, since Robb actually legitimized Jon and named him his heir for Winterfell and the North before the Red Wedding (granted no one knows about this and is still alive or free, the Greatjon knows as does Edmure, but Idont see them getting out of the Twins any time soon and Catelyn would probably die before telling anyone) does this make Jon's rejection of Stannis' offer moot?

Edmure and the Greatjon are prisoners, true... but you are forgetting the envoys that Robb sent to Howland Reed... Galbart Glover, Maege Mormont, Jason Mallister... they are all alive and free.

As to what is and is not moot... the key point is, only a =king= can legitimize a bastard......

Elia’s Children
Submitted By: Tom R.

I was wondering if you could answer (or take the "fifth") one teeny little question I've been dying to ask for the past year: Are Aegon and Rhaenys, Elia's children, well and truly dead?

All I have to say is that there is absolutely no doubt that little Princess Rhaenys was dragged from beneath her father's bed and slain.

Duncan the Small and the Young Starks
Submitted By: Rania

[Note: This entry combines two consecutive mails between Rania and Mr. Martin, edited together because of their nature.]

In a message dated 8/6/00 4:34:13 PM Mountain Daylight Time, RMelhem writes:

Who is Prince Duncan the Small? Did Egg name one of his sons after Dunk?

Well, that would be telling...

[Note: Second mail begins here.]

telling what? are we going to find out more about Dunk, Egg and Duncan the Small?

Yes, I hope to write more Dunk & Egg stories one day.

I have also come to the conclusion that the reported death of Bran and Rickon doomed Robb as much as anything else that happened. If they were known to be still alive then there wouldn't be much point in killing Robb.

Well, I'm not certain that's so. Robb was still the war leader, after all. Even if they were "alive," neither Bran nor Rickon is old enough to rule, or lead a host...

The Stormlands
Submitted By: Ben

[Summary: The writer wonders at how the Stormlands could compare in any way with the other major regions, given its lack of cities, it's seemingly-average lands, and so on.]

Well, you're right that there are no major cities in the stormlands, but that doesn't necessarily mean the lands are poor. Cape Wrath, the rainwood, and the kingswood are all fertile enough, albeit somewhat rainy.

As for the marches, the marcher lords were for thousands of years the first line of defense against Dornish incursions, so they had a very strong martial tradition. Some strong castles, too. They had to be.

Aerion Brightflame
Submitted By: Rania

[Summary: This is a conversation between Mr. Martin and Rania through AOL's Instant Messanger service.]

Rania: Mr Martin, I noticed several references to Aerion Brightfire in A Storm of Swords. Who is he? Is he the same as Aerion Brightflame brother of Egg and Maester Aemon?

GeoRR: yes

Rania: so why the name change from brightflame to brightfire?

GeoRR: not a change, just a variant