I have loved reading (and re-reading) the books you have written so far in the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series, and that I am greatly looking forward to the forthcoming books. I've been told that you sometimes answer reader's queries relating to the books over email, and was wondering if you could answer some of mine if you're not too busy? I realise you may not be able to answer some of these questions without compromising what plot twists you may have planned, but for what it's worth:
1. Was Mirri Maz Duur telling the truth when she told Daenerys Targaryen that the latter could never have children again?
I am sure Dany would like to know. Prophecy can be a tricky business.
2. Is Varys truly a eunuch, or is it just another of his many disguises?
Guess we won't know till someone takes a peek inside his breeches.
3. Is Daenerys Targaryen or anyone in her entourage able to tell whether her dragons are male or female? (Is the question relevant to dragons?)
4. Daenerys Targaryen believed that her brother Rhaegar loved Lyanna Stark. Does she also believe that Lyanna Stark returned this love?
Dany is not sure what to believe.
5. Since all of their mothers died, who gave Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen and Tyrion Lannister their names?
Mothers can name a child before birth, or during, or after, even while they are dying. Dany was most like named by her mother, Tyrion by his father, Jon by Ned.
6. I can understand why Robert Baratheon was sent to be John Arryn's ward -- his parents had died -- but why was Eddard Stark sent as well? Was this an established practice among noble houses? Were Stannis and/or Renly Baratheon sent to be wards with anyone?
Yes, fostering was common among noble houses, both in Westeros and in the real middle ages. Especially for boys. It was considered both a means of education, and a way to cultivate friendships and alliances.
Thank you once more for your time and all the best for your future works.
I was wondering if Valyrian steel could stand against the swords of the Others and also if they could kill Others.
The Night's Watch would like to know as well.
In ACoK it was mentioned that the Darrys line had been ended except for a unnamed bastard. Since in ASoS we learned that the Darrys had stayed loyal to the Targaryen and lost most of their power for it, and since a Darry saved Dany, I was wondering if Dany was going to meet the bastard and legitimize him?
Anything is possible. Some Freys have Darry blood as well, though.
Bran often speaks of the crow teaching him how to "fly". Is it fly in the physical sense or fly in the sense of improving his minds ability to leave his body.
Also, I have heard that Bran and Arya will spend AFfC training and that they will have the least amount of POV chapters. Is that true???
I first wanted to say thank you for all of your wonderful writing, and great job with Jaime Lannister, he is rapidly turning into my favorite character.
He has a certain deadly charm, I will admit.
Quick question - We have seen all of the seven kingdoms in action in one way or another except Dorne and the Vale. I am trying to get an understanding of the various strengths of the different realms. When Robb calls the Northern Banners he gathers a host of about 18 thousand men. How do Dorne and the Vale compare to this (I don't expect numbers, just general feeling)
I'd say these three kingdoms were roughly equal in the force they could assemble... but the north is much bigger, so it takes longer for an army to gather. And life is harsher there as well, so lords and smallfolk both need to think carefully before beating those plowshares into swords.
I also gather that Highgarden is the most populated place (Renly mentions 40,000 men), with the Lannisters being next (two combined hosts in GoT seem to be about 35,000).
The Reach is the second largest domain (after the north), and the most populous and fertile as well. The westerlands are the richest, with all the gold and silver in those hills. Those two regions also have the greatest strength at sea, after the Iron Islands.
Dragonstone appears to be the least powerful. The Riverlands and Stormlords appear to fall in the middle I imagine.
Dragonstone is last, agreed. The riverlands are rich and fertile and populous, but suffer from divided leadership and a lack of natural boundaries. The stormlands have lots of trees and rocks and rain.
Keep writing, and many thanks!
You're welcome, and keep reading.
I have one other small thing I wanted to ask if that's okay. I was re-reading GOT and I noticed that you had Tyrion doing flips and handstands at the feast at Winterfell and I was wondering if you had planned on giving him a "gymnasts" skills or a sort of circus midgets skills and then decided you didn't want that, because I don't ever remember him doing anything like that again in the series.
Well, the occasion did not call for it... but you may see some more along those lines in the new book.
I know chronology on a story this size must be tough, but there seems to be a slight discrepancy concerning stannis and the wall. Now, the others attack the fist not long before the wildings show up to find the remains.
Sam sends off a raven and in turn ravens are sent to the kings asking for help. It appears that the message has been on dragonstone for some time, before Davos finds out and decides to act on it. Now judging from the maps, and the timeline i've got in my head, there is no way that stannis would have made it in time to save the wall from the Mance.
Here's my take, maybe you could correct me if i'm wrong.
-Others attack the fist, sam sends off a raven, a few days later it reaches the wall.
-a few days later the wildings come upon the fist, probably about the same time the raven reaches the wall.
-messages are sent to the kings, judging from the distance in the maps, stannis receives the message 1 month later.
-Jon scales the wall and a week to 2 weeks later he gets back to the wall. I'm sure by this time the raven hasn't reached stannis or is just reaching him.
-let's say for example, the message wasn't brought to attention for a couple of weeks, then Stannis sails from dragonstone, takes app. a month to reach eastwatch by the bay. Takes another few days to reach castle black. so if we add all that up, stannis is late by about a month and a half.
The reason I am never specific about dates and distances is precisely so that people won't sit down and do this sort of thing.
My suggestion would be to put away the ruler and the stopwatch, and just enjoy the story.