The Citadel

The Archive of 'A Song of Ice and Fire' Lore

So Spake Martin

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The Mother and the Onion Knight

[GRRM is asked if Davos Seaworth really heard the Mother answer his prayer, or was it delirium? Was it meant to be ambiguous?]

It was. Which is why I won't answer the question. My readers are free to come to their own conclusions.

HBO Series and Roy Dotrice

[Given the length of time the series is taking to write, is it possible that there'll be issues if the HBO series goes into production and catches up before he's finished?]

Well, I have a considerable head start.

[Does GRRM have a say in who reads the audio book, and will Roy Dotrice read for the next audiobook?]

I do have a say. Roy Dotrice was my selection. Unfortunately, he was busy doing a play when A FEAST FOR CROWS was recorded. It's our hope to have him back for the next book.

Erikson, Rothfuss, and Forums

[GRRM is asked about Steven Erikson.]

I met Erikson last year in Saratoga at the World Fantasy Con. He seemed to be a nice fellow, but I haven't read any of his books yet, alas. No judgment there. There's too many books and too little time. A lot of my fans seem to like the Malazan series, though, and I imagine I will get to it eventually.

I do read other fantasists all the time. I've raved about Scott Lynch and Daniel Abraham on my website. Right now I'm reading the first novel by a guy named Patrick Rothfuss, and enjoying it hugely, though I have some quibbles with the structure.

[Does GRRM read any fan forums?]

I am aware of such forums, certainly, but I try to avoid them.

[If GRRM does read speculations on fan forums, is he tempted to change things in the story to make sure everyone remains surprised?]

And this is one of the big reasons WHY I avoid them.

Parallel Books

[GRRM is asked about the pros and cons of writing a parallel book.]

I don't necessarily recommend the whole "parallel books" thing. I've done it before, with Wild Cards volumes 6 and 7, and to a lesser extent volumes 4 and 5, and there's some cool things you can do... but all in all, I would have preferred to do it all in one book. There were special circumstances behind the split of DANCE from FEAST, as previously related.

Attentive Reading

[Does GRRM prefer his readers to get very involved in the story or should they just read them as great stories and not think too much about them?]

I think every writer appreciates attentive reading of his work. We labor over these books for years, after all. Then they come out, and the readers gulp them down in days or even hours. Which is very gratifying, in one sense, but can also be frustrating, if we feel that they are missing all the grace notes and little subtleties and clever allusions and ironies and turns of phrase that we sweated blood over for so long. I try to write books that will stand up to rereading, so that every time you go through you will find more to appreciate... and therefore I'm thrilled when readers tell me that they do reread the books.

Writing Direwolves, Valyrian, Lyanna and Harrenhal, and Giants

[Fan thanks GRRM for participating in the forum.]

Thanks. I have to admit, though, that the number of questions is getting to be overwhelming, especially in this topic. Good thing I'm only doing this for a week.

[GRRM is asked about the correct interpretation of Bran's vision concerning the stone giant.]

Sorry, but you'll have to interpret the dreams and visions yourself.

[What's it like trying to write sections from the point of view of the direwolves?]

Impossible, really. I keep staring at the drafts and saying, "a wolf wouldn't know that word." Of course, a wolf wouldn't know ANY words, really. And writing without any words is hard. All I can do is try to flavor those sections, to suggest that the wolf is perceiving the world much differently than a man would... but I'm always wondering if I have gone too far, or not far enough.

Yes, the wolf scenes are killers.

[How developed is Valyrian?]

"How little" have I developed Valyrian is the real question. I am not, alas, J.R.R. Tolkien, and I cannot imagine taking a decade to actually work up not one, but two, entire languages. I have something like eight words of Valyrian. When I need a ninth, I'll make one up.

Sorry if that disillusions any of you. It's all smoke and mirrors, kids.

[Will we learn more concerning Lyanna and Harrenhal?]

Yes, you'll hear more about Lyanna and Harrenhal.

[Any link between the giants in the series and the New York Giants?]

Absolutely no link. Clever notion, though. And go G-Men!

Beauty and the Beast

[A fan compliments Beauty and the Beast as being unique.]

I agree. It was a great show to work on as well. Oh, we had our ups and downs and disagreements, but there were a lot of talented people on that series, and I'm proud of the work we did.

[The friendliness of the Beauty and the Beast fandom is discussed.]

They always seemed like nice people, at least for the first two seasons. Then we got to season three, and that wasn't pretty. It's true what they say about love and hate being close cousins.

[Is GRRM aware that the Beauty and the Beast fans still carry out regular activities, and would he be willing to answer some questions for an upcoming event?]

I'm aware of it. How "few" questions? I can take a crack at it, sure, although B&B was twenty years ago, so I am not sure how much I'll remember.

[When shows have multiple writers, how is a single vision kept in focus?]

That's ultimately the responsibility of the showrunner and the staff of writers. In our case the showrunner was Ron Koslow, who created the characters, and he did a very good job of defending his vision and keeping us true to it.

Twilight Zone Scripts

[GRRM is asked about his Twilight Zones work.]

I see somebody has already answered this question. The list includes all the episodes of mine that were produced. I did work on several other scripts. In a couple cases I did uncredited rewrites, and there were also some stories that never got filmed.

Ti Malice

[GRRM is asked about the Wild Cards villain Ti Malice, and whether he'll appear in the future.]

Ti Malice was created by the talented John Jos. Miller. Glad you enjoyed him. Did you notice his cameo in DEATH DRAWS FIVE?

Reprinting Wild Cards

[Will the older Wild Cards books be reprinted?]

We would love to get the older books back in print, yes. We're exploring the possibilities with Tor right now, looking at the idea of perhaps reissuing the original run in giant omnibus editions that woule each include several volumes.

That would only apply for volumes 1 through 15, however. Volumes 16 and 17 are still in print, supposedly, and the rights to those two now belong to Brick Tower Press, who bought out many of the contracts of iBooks in the bankruptcy settlement. We've talked with Brick Tower about paperback editions for those two, and are hopeful that will happen too in the near future.

Of course, everything depends on how well the new books sell. So run right out and buy another ten copies of INSIDE STRAIGHT.

Increasing Magic and Graphic Content

[Is the changing of the setting towards having more prominent magic something GRRM always planned?]

Planned from the beginning.

[Publisher concerns with the graphic content of the series?]

My publishers are perfectly happy with the adult tone of my books. There are plenty of squeaky clean YA fantasies out there for them who don't like that sort of thing,

I do get occasional letters from readers who object to the sexual content in the books... but oddly enough, no one seems to object to the violence. It is a sad commentary on American society that there are people who will be outraged by a description of a penis entering a vagina, but not troubled at all by a description of an axe entering a head.

Size of Westeros

[How big is Westeros? Is it the size of Europe, or even larger?]

I have deliberately tried to be vague about such things, so I don't have obsessive fans with rulers measuring distances on the map and telling me Ned couldn't get from X to Y in the time I say he did.

However, if you really must know, you can figure out the distances for yourself. The Wall is a hundred leagues long. A league is three miles. Go from there.

But if you turn up any mistakes in travel times by using that measure, let it be your secret.

Littlefinger, Caligula, and Tyrion

[Is Littlefinger based on Caligula?]

Definitely not. Gaius Caligula was nuts, and Petyr Baelish is as sane as can be. Caligula was flamoyant and drew attention to himself. Littlefinger is more subtle.

[Why is Tyrion so great, and what inspired his creation?]

He's drawn from a wide variety of sources. Including myself. I'm taller.

Future Appearances in Madison

[A reader found out that he missed GRRM in Madison, Wisconsin.]

This happens every time I do a con or make an appearance. Inevitably, the week after I get back from Xville, someone emails to say, "Why don't you ever come to Xville?"

All I can say is, read the Appearances page of my website. All my scheduled appearances are listed there, for years in advance. The Oddcon listing has been up for at least three years.

[Will GRRM be appearing in Madison again soon?]

Well, I did a signing for in Madison for FEAST FOR CROWS in 2005, a signing for THE ICE DRAGON in nearby Dubuque, Iowa in 2006, and a signing for A CLASH OF KINGS in Milwaukee back in 1998 or so. So the odds are I will signing somewhere near you. Just watch my Appearances page.

That being said, anyone who truly wants to meet me would do better to come to a con than to a booksigning. At a con, we might end up drinking together in the con suite, and you'll hear me talk on panels, give readings, etc. Hours of quality time. At a booksigning, you'll get maybe thirty seconds while I sign your book.

Doorways and Writing for the Screen

[Which of the two pilots for Doorways would he prefer be used if it was picked up for airing on television?]

The original version, as seen in DREAMSONGS. Although the second half of the pilot as filmed could be used later as an episode.

[Who would GRRM cast in a new Doorways series?]

I love the cast we had. Anne LeGuernec, the French actress who played Cat, was wonderful, and would have become a major star if we had gone to series, I think.

[Television scripting vs. fiction writing.]

The forms are definitely different. Television and film requires a strong sense of structure and a good ear for dialogue. Prose requires... well, those, but also a good feel for, well, prose. (Nobody cares about elegant languages in the body copy of a screenplay).