The Citadel

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

So Spake Martin

Correspondence with Fans

Lady Olenna and the Tyrells at the Blackwater

Who was the Queen of Thorns betrothed to? Her age is kind of indeterminate, but if she's 85, I figure it could be Aerion Targaryen himself. Her comment about him is what makes me think that. On the other hand, if she's younger, I suppose it was one of Egg's sons.

She's not that old. Remember, she's Mace Tyrell's mother, not his grandmother. She's in her sixties, I'd say. Did I say she was older in the manuscript? If so, I need to go back and fix that. As to her betrothal... that's a story yet to be told.

"A fanfare of trumpets greeted each of the heroes as he stepped between the great oaken doors. Heralds cried his name and deeds for all to hear..."

The Tyrells are given pride of place. Are the heralds recounting deeds on the battlefield of the Blackwater or something more general ('knighted at 15, defeated the Kingslayer in the final tilt on Joffrey's nameday, etc.')? This has to do with the whole Renly's ghost thing, I admit, but if Loras and Garlan both have an arm-long list of deeds from the battle recited as they enter the hall...

The Knight of Flowers fought gloriously on the Blackwater, and I have no doubt that the heralds mentioned that, but his other martial accompishments were also mentioned, no doubt.

Dragons in Westeros

In 'The Hedge Knight' ancient dragons are mentioned, thousands of years olds. Were there Dragons in Westeros before the Targaryens brought them, or did the Targaryens bring the skeletons of the old Dragons with them?

There were dragons all over, once.

The follow up question, which I realise may be something you keep for the books, is what happened to the Dragons out of Westeros? If I understood correctly, the Alchemists say that there were no more Dragons anywhere. Was that so?

There are no more dragons known to exist... but this is a medieval period, and large parts of the world are still terra incognita, so there are always tales of dragon sightings in far off mysterious places. The maesters tend to discount those.

Edric Dayne

What relation is Edric Dayne to Ser Arthur and Lady Ashara? Will we get to meet him in ASOS?

Edric Dayne is the nephew of Ser Arthur and Lady Ashara.

(Ran, I also asked him why would Dany want to invade the Seven Kingdoms if she is barren (no heir, you know). He said no comment on that one.)

Others’ Defeat 8,000 Years Ago

How were the Other's defeated 8K years ago? In large numbers, they seem like they'd be invincible. Because their offensive against the Wall was checked, does that constitute a defeat? Was there a Human counterattack?

Well, it was thousands of years ago, so many of the facts are lost in the mists of time or have become legend. You will learn more in future volumes... but probably not everything, no...

The Cost of Faceless Men

[Note: This mail relates to a discussion on one of the boards, where an estimate at the cost of hiring a Faceless Man was made based on comments by Littlefinger. Martin responded, when presented with the estimates, that Littlefinger's statements were taken too literally.]

The Faceless Men don't post a list of prices on their door. The way it works, you go to them and tell them who you want killed, and then they negotiate the price. The prominent the victim, the more difficult to get to, the more dangerous for the assassin and the guild, the higher the price.

Answers to Old Questions

I've gone back to looking over the historical material, in particular Aemon the Dragonknight and things related to him. There's a mention by Sansa (in GoT) of Aemon defending Queen Naerys against the accustations of 'the evil' Ser Morgil. Is this one of the embroideries of the singers after Aemon's lifetime or is it based an actual event?

Well, the singers embroider everything, but there was a Ser Morgil and he did accuse Naerys of various things... probably adultery and treason with Aemon, but I haven't nailed all that down yet...

Also, just how much impact did the Rhoynar have on the modern customs of Dorne? Beyond the gender-blind inheritance laws, the couple of Rhoynish gods that smallfolk might have turned into saints or angelic-type beings, and perhaps the round shields, that is. In particular, given that Nymeria was a warrior-queen, is there a certain amazon tradition?

The Rhoynar did impact Dorne in a number of ways, some of which will be revealed in later books. Women definitely have more rights in Dorne, but I would not call it an "Amazon" tradition, necessarily. Nymeria had more in common with someone like Daenerys or Joan d'Arc than with Brienne or Xena the Warrior Princess.

Tywin and the Reynes

I am still hashing out the backstory of the Reynes, Tarbecks, and Lannisters, so nothing is fixed in concrete... but Tywin was not actually lord when he dealt with the Reynes (of Castamere) and the Tarbecks (of Tarbeck Hall). His father was still alive. Lord Tytos was an altogether different character, amiable but ineffectual, and he allowed himself to be pushed around a good deal, by a number of people.. including Lord Walder Frey (ever wonder how Genna came to marry so poorly?) and the Red Lion of Castamere, the richest and most powerful Lannister bannerman, and a formidable soldier/warrior in his own right...

Well, like I said, I'm still fine tuning it in my head. Not sure how much of it will make it into the books in any case...

Jeyne Poole and the Black Cat

1)What happened to Jeyne Poole?

All will be revealed in the fullness of time.

2)Is the black tomcat (the one that Arya catches briefly) Rhaenys' kitten Balerion?

Could be.

More Houses

Also, I hate to tell you, but I have added some more houses lately. Mostly just inventing for the sake of inventing... (I seem to make up heraldry as a means of unwinding these days) but two of them, now extinct (Tarbeck and Reyne, both in the Westerlands) are referred to several times in SOS. They were rebellious Lannister vassals crushed by Lord Tywin in his youth. The Reynes even have a song about them...

Age of Majority

At what age does a boy in Westeros legally become a man?


And how does age effect the enforceability of oaths? Specifically, if Jon Snow was 14-15 years at the time he swore his oaths to the Night Watch can he avoid them as he was, maybe, a minor?

No loopholes. Once you say the words, you're in.

That being said, the Watch would not give the oath to a boy that was seriously minor, like a 12 year old.

The Hornwood Inheritance and the Whents

[Summary: Maia asks about the Hornwood inheritance, given that Lord Hornwood's sister is not being considered for the lordship but her son is and so is one of his bastards. Given that we have seen female heads of houses (Mormont, Whent, and other examples listed), this doesn't seem to make sense. Moreover, how could Lord Hornwood's wife or a future husband of herself be considered a legitimate holder of her lands over Lord Hornwood's blood relatives. Also, Maia asked about Lady Whent being called the "last of her line" given that a female Whent is listed as married to a Frey, but GRRM did not answer that one.]

Well, the short answer is that the laws of inheritance in the Seven Kingdoms are modelled on those in real medieval history... which is to say, they were vague, uncodified, subject to varying interpertations, and often contradictory.

A man's eldest son was his heir. After that the next eldest son. Then the next, etc. Daughters were not considered while there was a living son, except in Dorne, where females had equal right of inheritance according to age.

After the sons, most would say that the eldest daughter is next in line. But there might be an argument from the dead man's brothers, say. Does a male sibling or a female child take precedence? Each side has a "claim."

What if there are no childen, only grandchildren and great grandchildren. Is precedence or proximity the more important principle? Do bastards have any rights? What about bastards who have been legitimized, do they go in at the end after the trueborn kids, or according to birth order? What about widows? And what about the will of the deceased? Can a lord disinherit one son, and name a younger son as heir? Or even a bastard?

There are no clear cut answers, either in Westeros or in real medieval history. Things were often decided on a case by case basis. A case might set a precedent for later cases... but as often as not, the precedents conflicted as much as the claims.

In fact, if you look at medieval history, conflicting claims were the cause of three quarters of the wars. The Hundred Years War grew out of a dispute about whether a nephew or a grandson of Philip the Fair had a better claim to the throne of France. The nephew got the decision, because the grandson's claim passed through a daughter (and because he was the king of England too). And that mess was complicated by one of the precedents (the Salic Law) that had been invented a short time before to resolve the dispute after the death of Philip's eldest son, where the claimants were (1) the daughter of Philip's eldest son, who may or may not have been a bastard, her mother having been an adulteress, (2) the unborn child of the eldest son that his secon wife was carrying, sex unknown, and (3) Philip's second son, another Philip. Lawyers for (3) dug up the Salic Law to exclude (1) and possibly (2) if she was a girl, but (2) was a boy so he became king, only he died a week later, and (3) got the throne after all. But then when he died, his own children, all daughters, were excluded on the basis of the law he's dug up, and the throne went to the youngest son instead... and meanwhile (1) had kids, one of whom eventually was the king of Navarre, Charles the Bad, who was such a scumbag in the Hundred Years War in part because he felt =his= claim was better than that of either Philip of Valois or Edward Plantagenet. And you know, it was. Only Navarre did not have an army as big as France or England, so no one took him seriously.

The Wars of the Roses were fought over the issue of whether the Lancastrian claim (deriving from the third son of Edward III in direct male line) or the Yorkist claim (deriving from a combination of Edward's second son, but through a female line, wed to descendants of his fourth son, through the male) was superior. And a whole family of legitimized bastard stock, the Beauforts, played a huge role.

And when Alexander III, King of Scots, rode over a cliff, and Margaret the Maid of Norway died en route back home, and the Scottish lords called on Edward I of England to decide who had the best claim to the throne, something like fourteen or fifteen (I'd need to look up the exact number) "competitors" came forward to present their pedigrees and documents to the court. The decision eventually boiled down to precedence (John Balliol) versus proximity (Bruce) and went to Balliol, but those other thirteen guys all had claims as well. King of Eric of Norway, for instance, based his claim to the throne on his =daughter=, the aforementioned Maid of Norway, who had been the queen however briefly. He seemed to believe that inheritance should run backwards. And hell, if he had been the king of France instead of the king of Norway, maybe it would have.

The medieval world was governed by men, not by laws. You could even make a case that the lords preferred the laws to be vague and contradictory, since that gave them more power. In a tangle like the Hornwood case, ultimately the lord would decide... and if some of the more powerful claimants did not like the decision, it might come down to force of arms.

The bottom line, I suppose, is that inheritance was decided as much by politics as by laws. In Westeros and in medieval Europe both.

Writing Women

[Summary: Emilie found the female characters in the books very well realized and wondered what Mr. Martin thought about this ability to depict women so well.]

That's very flattering, and also very hard to answer.

I like women. Hell, I like women a lot. But in the end I try to write all my characters as people. All characters are built on observation -- observation of those around you, and observation of yourself as well, since all of us male and female have many of the same basic drives. I have written the viewpoints of dwarfs, aliens, werewolves, vampires, and many other fantastic creatures, all a lot more different from myself than a woman.

And besides, if I screw up, one of the women in my life is sure to tell me. <g>

But thanks for asking.

Jaime and the Kingslaying

[Summary: KAH asked about Jaime's feelings and tone when he reminisced about his killing of Aerys and how it was greeted by the rest of Westeros.]

Some think that he sounded bitter; personally I feel that he was somewhat amused.

You're both right.

Age of Sexual Relations in Westeros

The nature of the relationship between Sandor and Sansa has been a hot topic on Revanshe's board. Sansa's youth has been one focus of the discussion. What is the general Westerosi view as to romantic or sexual relationships involving a girl of Sansa's age and level of physical maturity?

A boy is Westeros is considered to be a "man grown" at sixteen years. The same is true for girls. Sixteen is the age of legal majority, as twenty-one is for us.

However, for girls, the first flowering is also very significant... and in older traditions, a girl who has flowered is a woman, fit for both wedding and bedding.

A girl who has flowered, but not yet attained her sixteenth name day, is in a somewhat ambigious position: part child, part woman. A "maid," in other words. Fertile but innocent, beloved of the singers.

In the "general Westerosi view," well, girls may well be wed before their first flowerings, for political reasons, but it would considered perverse to bed them. And such early weddings, even without sex, remain rare. Generally weddings are postponed until the bride has passed from girlhood to maidenhood.

Maidens may be wedded and bedded... however, even there, many husbands will wait until the bride is fifteen or sixteen before sleeping with them. Very young mothers tend to have significantly higher rates of death in childbirth, which the maesters will have noted.

As in the real Middle Ages, highborn girls tend to flower significantly earlier than those of lower birth. Probably a matter of nutrition. As a result, they also tend to marry earlier, and to bear children earlier.

There are plenty of exceptions.

The Lannister Fleet

Mr. Martin, we found it peculiar that Tyrion considered the importance of the Greyjoy fleet in aCoK (when Balon's message reached him in KL), since he never thinks about the West's own naval strength and it's usefulness against the Starks.

So we began to doubt said strength.

Did Tywin ever rebuild the Lannister fleet, after Euron burned it eight years ago?

And if he rebuilt it, did he ever appoint a permanent commander of this fleet?

Yes, Lord Tywin certainly replaced the ships that were lost.

However, as far as naval power goes, the only fleets comparable to that of the Greyjoys are the royal fleet (most of it destroyed on the Blackwater) and the Redwyne fleet, based on the Arbor. Besides the king, the Greyjoys and Redwynes are the traditional sea powers of Westeros.

The lords whose lands abut the coast of the Sunset Sea all keep a war galley or three about for coastal defense, and of course those shores are home to scads of fishing boats as well. The Lannisters have a larger and much grander fleet, but we're still only talking about twenty to thirty ships, perhaps. To fight a major battle, they would call the ships of their various bannermen, just as Stannis summoned the lords of the narrow sea for the battle on the Blackwater.

For what it's worth, however, their ships would be larger and more formidable than the longships of the ironmen -- cogs, carracks, and war galleys of various sides, up to the great dromonds with scorpions and catapults on deck.

The Tyrells are in more or less the same position as the Lannisters, though they depend even more on their bannermen, especially the lords of the Shield Islands off the mouth of the Mander. The Hightowers have only a few warships, but control Oldtown, home to numerous trading vessels.