The Citadel

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

So Spake Martin

Correspondence with Fans

Concerning Doorways

[Note: This is GRRM's reply to a mail informing him that DOORWAYS, an SF pilot he was involved in, was finally making an appearance on American television.]

Hot damn! I had no idea. Shows you how well they keep you informed.

I am pleased it's finally going to get seen by an American audience... albeit only on cable, and nine years too late.

Interesting to reflect that DOORWAYS was the project that caused me to put A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE on the shelf for two years. If DOORWAYS had never happened, I might be finished with ICE AND FIRE by now... or at least I'd be one book further on. On the other hand, if DOORWAYS had gone to series, A GAME OF THRONES might still be sitting gathering dust in my file cabinet, along with BLACK AND WHITE AND RED ALL OVER.

A Myriad of Questions

Have you come back from Spain? Did you enjoy? I go to Spain quite once a year and the only thing I remember with love is fish...

I loved Spain, and hope to visit again. But the next country in my travel plans is the Netherlands, followed by the Czech Republic.

The sun shines and I will spend my afternoon reading the discussion about ASoIaF in internet.

One topic in particular has caught my attention:

- Has GRRM ruined Fantasy?

... picking up new Fantasy books, I am having immense difficulty finishing them - I'm constantly thinking "Martin writes better," "Martin's characters are better,"...

(Bloody well obsessed as everyone. Do you imagine what sorrow when the saga will end definitely? Think carefully about it)

Anyway I haven't difficulty finishing boring books, my problem is finding something enough valuable to be brought home (like a dog). I think, yes, in some ways you have spoiled Fantasy market, now re-considering my favourite books I don't see them so well developed as before. It's your fault.

There's still a lot of great fantasy out there. Try Robin Hobb. Try the later books of Guy Gavriel Kay. Try Tad Williams. Try Jack Vance, still the greatest living fantasist.

A part from gossips, I agree with them you gave an uncommon depth to all female characters; and this is something not easy to find in Fantasy books, where women are usually beautiful princess, warrior princess or similar cliché.

I try. Thanks, that's high praise.

Today I have some questions:

1) Can a woman marry without someone (father, king or anyone) that stands for her? Or they are passed from hand to hand like horses as Cersei showed to Sansa, and that's it?

Well, the truth is somewhat in between. But yes, fathers have a lot to say about who a girl marries... a widow, however, especially an older one with property or a title, might have a deal more say.

2) The mixture called Tansy (or something similar, I haven't the book to check, so please forgive any names' distortion) is truly an abortion mixture or something you have invented?

No, it's real enough. Tansy and pennyroyal are two powerful (and DANGEROUS) natural abortifactants. Carelessly used, however, they can kill, so I was purposely vague and added a few fantasy touches to "moon tea." I did not want anyone trying them in real life. A web search will turn you plenty of both of them.

3) Speaking about women there's is a hidden figure: Ned's mother, you only say "she was Lady Stark and she died". Nothing more? Nothing important or something too important? (please at least choose one hypothesis).

If there is anything important, I will reveal it in due time.

(Did Tolkien ever get letters asking about Aragorn's mother, I wonder?)

4) When you say: bastard's sword, do you mean an half hand sword with general historical measures, or Jon's Long Claw has different size?

A "bastard sword" was a genuine historical term for a hand-and-a-half sword, larger than an ordinary broadsword but not large enough to be a true two hander.

5) The temperature on the Wall?


6) How old is Howland Reed?

He'd be in his thirties.

7) And how would have been Ashara Dayne?


8) A part from Tyron, is there any female character you love more than the others?

Oh, probably Arya... but as with the men, I love them all.

A lot of females on stage in A FEAST FOR CROWS, by the way. The women are taking over...

Feast for Crows Information

there's a lot of stuff in the forum after WorldCon in Philadelphia!

- The next book in the ASoIaF series will be called A Feast for Crows.

Good title, I'm afraid the Italian translation will spoil it. Anyway, I'd prefer crows rather than dragons.

A FEAST FOR CROWS is next, but A DANCE WITH DRAGONS will follow.

- There will NOT be a 5 year gap.

Well, it will be easier to understand the whole story.

True. Couldn't make the gap work.

- There will be 2 new PoVs - Cersei and another PoV.

Firstly, the not revealed new PoV, is someone Known or completely unknown? Can you tell me?

Someone known.

I hope Cersei will not became a "saint".

Small chance of that.

Anyway, it will be very interesting see her POV. I like her evil and frustrated, that Sansa-chapter where she told how disappointed had been when Jaime and her had grown up was illuminating. I've read your chapter's summaries in the forum, I regret not being there, I could have tried to kidnap you and made you read again!

Ah! I was forgetting: I loved the Spanish interview appeared on El Pays! Spanish is warm and suits perfectly your words; I've asked them for some information to get the other books in Spanish.

I don't think the Spanish editions are out yet... but soon, I hope.

Go on writing, and do not complain. You know? One day we will make you write the 7th...

PS: I've written so you many times and I don't know nothing about the "small things".

For examples: favourite food, colours, season, where you write, how and when (day or night), any animals?

Two cats and a dog. Write best in the morning. Autumn is my favorite season, purple is my favorite color, and I've never met a food I didn't like.

Geographical Information

Let me begin by saying how much I have enjoyed your "Song of Fire and Ice" series, and how much I am looking forward to the succeeding volumes.

Since I have two degrees in Geography and I work with maps, whenever I read a book, I am obsessed with the spatial relationships between cities/locations/continents/etc. I have a few geographic questions for you, if you would be so kind as to answer (although I understand you not answering if an answer would give away a plot detail).

1) Are we ever going to see a full map of your world, showing Westeros, the Summer Sea, the Jade Sea, etc?

There will be new maps in each book, so the pieces will gradually come together... but I am not sure that I will ever do a map of the entire world.

I like the idea of far off realms being fabulous places, and the maps getting vaguer out toward the edges... as they did in real life. "Here There Be Dragons," and all that.

2) What is the approximate distance between Westeros and Valyria (shown in the map labeled The Lands of the Summer Sea). Also, what general direction would you head if you travelled from Westeros to Valyria?

To get to Valyria from Westeros you would likely have to go south a bit, then hang a left and head east.

3) Along those same lines, how far is it from Valyria to the 9 Free cities? Are the 9 Free Cities located in the general area of Qarth on the map "The Lands of the Summer Sea"?

No, the Free Cities are much closer to Westeros than to Qarth. Several of them are just across the narrow sea -- Braavos, Pentos, Myr, Tyrosh, Lys.

The others are a bit further east.

4) What did the Broken Arm of Dorn connect to? Was it the eastern continent? Did it connect somewhere around Sothoryos?

It was a land bridge that connected Westeros to the eastern continent.

Sothoryos is the southern continent, roughly equivilent to Africa, jungly, plague-ridden, and largely unexplored.

5) Does Westeros connect to the eastern continent through the north?


I hope that helps. Keep reading.

Euron and the Globe

I have a few questions for you.....

1) I live in NYC. R u ever going to come to the city so i can meet you and get a book signed? I hope so!

I have family in Bayonne and often visit the NYC area, but no NYC bookstore has ever expressed any interest in having me sign there.

2) I was wondering if you could tell me if Euron CrowEye is a faceless man himself or if he simply hired a faceless man? Will we see more of Euron? He seems like a great idea for a character and id love to see you develop him somemore.

Euron is not a faceless man. Yes, you'll see the Crow's Eye in A FEAST FOR... hey, what a coincidence...

3) Is your world round. I mean if Dany traveled far enough east couldnt she come to the other side of westeros?

Yes, the world is round. Might be a little larger than ours, though. I was thinking more like Vance's Big Planet.... but don't hold me to that.

Series Ethnicities and Real World Comparisons

Oh, stupid fan question. I've been trying to get a visual of what the Quarth look like in my mind. In terms of what race they might be in our world. Tall and pale but I don't believe their hair color was mentioned. Would they be Western European looking? Slavic? Whenever their culture is mentioned I always think of either Persian or Indians.

I have tried to mix and match ethnic and cultural traits in creating my imaginary fantasy peoples, so there are no direct one-for-one correspodences. The Dothraki, for example, are based in part on the Mongols, the Alans, and the Huns, but their skin coloring is Amerindian. The Qartheen are an even more exotic hybrid, and offhand I don't recall where I got all the cuttings.

A Feast for Crows Release

Hey is this George R.R. Martin?


I was just wondering... Well I wanted to email to you that I am a great fan! I love your work and wish to tell you so. I was kinda upset with the part in ASoS with what the Freys did to the Starks... I won't ask alot of questions about what Arya will do if she does anything to get revenge.

I also just wanted to let you know I am kinda depressed. I thought AFfC was going to come out in the Summer "August" but its comming in the Fall? :( Is their anyway you can make it come out sooner like Summer?

Please! :)

I wish I could, but it is coming more slowly than expected. These books are huge and they take a long time to write... especially if you are determined to do it right.

P.S. What is Bran doing anyway and who and WHAT is Coldhands... Is the "Lord Of Light" all good as the Red Woman says? Sorry just currious...

You'll have to wait and see. Keep reading.

Brynden Tully’s Bachelorhood

First off, thanks for writing my absolute favorite fantasy novel series. I hope that all is well with you and yours, and you're having a good time with all the travelling you've been doing.

Mostly I've been home the past few months, but I do have some travel coming up.

Once again, the boards have gotten themselves up into a tizzy about a very small detail that is likely to remain forever in mystery, and I've decided to use my first e-mail to you to attempt to get an answer. The question is: why did Brynden Tully not marry at Hoster's request? A lot of folks suspect that he is gay. Others suggest that it is brotherly rivalry. Or lost love. Or impotence. Any light you could shed on this?


I know, I know, it seems a very small (and to me) unimportant detail, but the conversations have made me a bit curious...anyway, the usual disclaimers apply about understanding if you won't tell me, because of future spoilers etc. Though it would be nice to know that it would be revealed in the future. I for one hope we haven't heard the last of the Blackfish.

The Blackfish will be seen in A FEAST FOR CROWS, have no fear. In fact, I was working on a scene with him and Jaime just the other day.

Hmmm. As sad as it sounds, this seems to be it for questions regarding the books right now. Weak, I know. How is AFFC going? Can we expect you to come visit the Northwest any time soon?

FEAST is coming along, but more slowly than I'd like. My appearance schedule is posted on my webpage. At present my next trip to the northwest will be for Foolscap in 2004, but if Bantam sends me on a book tour for FEAST it is likely that I will included Portland and Seattle once again.

Knights and Lords

[This is in response to a question concerning just what the style used by characters such as the Knight of Lemonwood or the Knight of Griffin's Roost meant after receiving some Heraldry-related information.]

As I see it, the title "lord" -- when used formally, and not simply as an honorific --conveys not only prestige, but certain legal rights as well. The right of pit and gallows, as they were once called, for instance -- i.e. authority to hang people and toss them into dungeons.

A landed knight has rather less prestige -- a lord outranks a knight at feasts and tourneys, for instance -- and also somewhat lesser rights.

But certain landed knights, of ancient houses, with extensive lands, and large strong castles, may be lords in all but name. These uber-knights may actually be more powerful than many smaller lordlings, so there's an overlap. Their peculiar status if often reflected by taking a style that incorporates the name of their castle, such as the Knight of Ninestars.

Connington is a special case, and you have the essence of it. Details are made clear in FEAST FOR CROWS. When Jon Connington was defeated at the Battle of the Bells, Aerys exiled him and stripped his House of all its lands and wealth. After the Rebellion, Robert restored the castle to a cousin of Lord Jon's... but only the castle, and some small grounds around it. The extensive Connington lands were parceled out to others, and the house's wealth remained in the treasury. Nor was Robert willing to recall Lord Jon from exile, since he had been among Prince Rhaegar's closest friends. Thus the Conningtons were once great lords... but Red Ronnet, their present head, is simply a landed knight, the Knight of Griffin's Roost.

Somewhat the same sequence is true of the Merryweathers of Longtable, by the way, though in that case Robert was prevailed upon to restore the lordship as well as the castle. Even so, the present Lord Merryweather is nowise as rich and powerful as his grandfather, the old man who served as Aerys's Hand after Lord Tywin and before Jon Connington.

Numerous Questions

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?)

Not yet.

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.

You're welcome.

Magic, the Darrys, and POVs

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.

No comment.

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???

No comment.

Strength of the Regions

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.

Tyrion’s Tumbling

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.

Chronology and Distances

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.

Dunk and Egg and A Feast for Crows

I've just heard rumours of a planned sequel to LEGENDS, could you confirm this. Assuming you plan to contribute to another short story collection would your piece be another tale of Dunk and Egg?

If LEGENDS II does indeed happen -- that is not entirely certain as I write -- I will indeed contribute a second Dunk and Egg story, "The Sworn Sword."

Will A FEAST FOR CROWS span the same 5 year peroid you originally intended to have between A STORM OF SWORDS and A DANCE WITH DRAGONS or will it be more condensed time frame?

I hope to cover the five years.

Finally I don't suppose you have a burning desire to reveal key plot details (or any details for that matter) from AFFC to a complete stranger. I just thought I'd ask on the off chance :)

Nice try.