The Citadel: SSM

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March 2006

Afterburn SF Interview

[Note: The following interview is made available through the Internet Archive. The precise date, beyond April 2006, is unknown.]

http://web.archive.org/web/20061109131851/http://afterburnsf.com/George_R_R_Martin.htm

The Three Stooges
Submitted By: Tony Altovilla

Dear George, I'm new to your work and just started reading A Game of Thrones. I just ran across the names Kurleket, Lharys and Mohor. I'm sure I'm not the first to make the connection to the Three Stooges but, I did want you to know that I nearly fell on the floor with laughter. Thanks for the laughs! Are there more hidden characters? (I'm looking forward to the cameo appearances of Shempus and Kurle Johor.)

The Three Stooges? In my book? C'mon, you've got to be kidding. Would I do something like that? That's a very tense chapter, charged with menace, what are you laughing for? If I were to insist that the names were purely a coincidence, you'd buy it, wouldn't you?

Okay, okay, what can I say? Guilty as charged. I don't know what came over me. I'm not even that big a Stooges fan (that's my friend Howard Waldrop). I much prefer Abbott and Costello... hmmm...wonder if I can work in Bud and Lou somewhere...

Shemp and Curley Joe do not appear (yet), but there are indeed more "hidden characters," though I prefer to think of them as "homages" or "a tip of the hat." Writers, mostly -- fantasists or historical novelists whose names I borrow for background characters. A few funny book superheroes get mentioned in passing as well, and here and there you can spot places and people from some of my older books peeking through the bushes.

No, I won't tell you who they are or when to find them. Spotting them is half the fun.

Naerys Targaryen
Submitted By: Amoka

[Note: The following continues GRRM's series of descriptions of notable Targaryens (and Targaryen bastards) for Amoka.]

The sister of King Aegon the Unworthy and Prince Aemon the Dragonknight was beautiful as well, but hers was a very fine and delicate beauty, almost unworldy. She was a wisp of a woman, smaller even than Dany (to whom she bears a certain resemblence), very slender, with big purple eyes and fine, pale, porcelain skin, near translucent. Naerys had none of Dany's strength, however. She was sickly as a child and almost died in the cradle; thereafter she found most physical activity to be very taxing. She loved music and poetry, played the harp very well, enjoyed sewing and embroidering. She was devout as well, and often found solace in the pages of The Seven-Pointed Star. After the birth of her son, she begged Aegon to have the Faith release her from her marriage vows so she could become a septa, but he refused. Naerys dressed well, but simply, and seldom wore her crown or any other jewelry. Though she had the silver-gold hair of the Targaryens, she often bound it up beneath a hair net or concealed it beneath a cowl. She ate but little and was painfully thin, almost emaciated. Her marriage was a very unhappy one, and it was said that only her son Daeron and her brother Aemon knew how to make her laugh. You will probably want to paint her sitting in a window seat, sewing or reading, with a sad and tired look on her face.

Shiera Seastar
Submitted By: Amoka

[Note: The following continues GRRM's series of descriptions of notable Targaryens (and Targaryen bastards) for Amoka.]

Lady Shiera was the natural daughter of King Aegon IV by the ninth and last of his mistresses, Lady Serenei of Lys, the last daughter of an ancient but impoverished line of Valyrian nobility. "Sweet Serenei," Aegon called her, but about his court she was considered cold and haughty, and some said that she was much older than the king, and preserved her beauty by the practice of dark arts. Considered by many the most lovely of Aegon's mistresses, Sweet Serenei died in childbed, bringing forth the last of the king's "Great Bastards," the daughter she named Shiera, Star of the Sea.

Shiera was born with one dark blue eye and one bright green one, but the singers said that this flaw only accentuated her loveliness. She was the greatest beauty of her age, a slender and elegant woman, slim of waist and full of breast. She had the silver-gold hair of the Targaryens, thick and curling, and wore it very long. At some points in her life it fell well below her waist, almost to the back of her knees. She had a heart-shaped face, full lips, and her mismatched eyes were strangely large and full of mischief; her rivals said she used them to melt men's hearts. Even at an early age, she was a great reader. She spoke a dozen tongues and surrounded herself with ancient scrolls. Like her mother, she was reputed to practice the dark arts. Though she never wed, she had many offers, and several lovers through the years. Duels were fought over the right to sit beside her, men killed themselves after falling from her favor, poets outdid each other writing songs about her beauty. Her most ardent admirer was her half-brother, Bloodraven, who proposed marriage to her half a hundred times. Shiera gave him her bed, but never her hand. It amused her more to make him jealous.

As to how to paint her... she was fond of ivory and lace and cloth-of-silver (but not gold, which she considered too vulgar). Her favorite piece of jewelry was a heavy silver necklace of emeralds and star sapphires, alternating.