The Citadel

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

So Spake Martin

Correspondence with Fans

Donnel of Duskendale

[A brief mail, in which GRRM is commenting on my speculation in the Heraldry pages that Ser Donnel of Duskendale, from "The Hedge Knight" was a Darklyn.]

Hmmm... no, probably not. If he was a Darklyn I would have used his house name. But no doubt he was inspired by their example.

R’hllor and Evil

I just want you to know that your books are great. They are the best I have ever read. I must say, even better than Tolkien. I hope I am not shot for that.

It's quite a compliment, but don't worry, I seldom shoot my readers.

I hope you are okay after tuesday's events. Gods know, I would really hate for you not to finish those books.

Me too. September 11 had its impact on me, as on everyone else, but I was two thousand miles away in Santa Fe, so I'm okay.

Not that we all don't value your person. Just to those of us you haven't knighted at the cheesesteak place, your books problay are more real.

Perfectly understable. I feel the same way about my own favorite writers.

About my question. Melisandre, I hope I am not butchering the spelling, really seems to be evil to me. She births shadow babies, and talks very much of blood. This seems to be blood magic to me. Perhaps its not.

But if it is, then is it evil, for Mirri was evil. Or just a vengeful bitch like the terriorists.

Mirri Maz Duur considered herself a hero, and no doubt Melisandre feels the same. What they are in truth... well, that's for each reader to determine for himself. I don't intend to make it easy.

Thoros is a totally different person. He is kind hearted and nice. Is this just because he washed out and became a fake priest. Or is this the way most red priests act?

Red priests are human beings, and like other human beings, they vary greatly.

And then there are the dragons, and the apparent increase in magic they brought on with their birth. Is R'hllor only truly able to touch the world when dragons live. And are the seven affected. Like Davos and the mother.

You'll need to keep reading to learn more.

Once again, I hope you are alright.

I'm fine. Thanks for your concern.

Concerning the Tower of Joy

I have a question which I'm sure you can (and will?) answer. It's about the Tower of Joy. The image we get from Ned's description is pretty powerful. But it doesn't make sense. The top three kingsguards, including the lord commander amd the best knight in ages, Ser Arthur Dayne are present there. Lyanna is in the tower, she asked Ned to promise him something. This, so says the general consensus us little Jon Snow, who is Lyanna's and Rhaegar's. No sense denying this ;)

However, what are the Kingsguards doing fighting Eddard? Eddard would never hurt Lyanna, nor her child. The little one would be safe with Eddard as well, him being a close relative. So I ask you, was there someone else with Lyanna and Jon?

You'll need to wait for future books to find out more about the Tower of Joy and what happened there, I fear.

I might mention, though, that Ned's account, which you refer to, was in the context of a dream... and a fever dream at that. Our dreams are not always literal.

Also, did the Kingsguards know what was in the Tower?


Cheers, I really hope you will answer these questions for me, I'll not bother you again if you do, I promise hahaha.

Merry Christmas btw, it's almost on us!

And a happy new year to you.

Valyria-related Subjects

Did Tohbo Mott ever teach Gendry the secrets of reworking Valyrian steel?

Interesting question.

Who or what were the Stormsingers? What could they do?

Another eastern magical discipline.

What happened to Ser Arthur Dayne's sword Dawn after Ned brought it back to Ashara?

Dawn remains at Starfall, until another Sword of the Morning shall arise.

In Valyria did they work Dragonbone into Valyrian steel?


Did Tyrion ever finish reading the book concerning dragons that he borrowed from Winterfell?


Touring and Hollywood Interest

I am coming to Europe twice... to the Netherlands in April, and the Czech Republic in June/July...

_A Game of Thrones_ is now uncontested #1 on the Internet Top 100 SF/Fantasy list, passing even the Lord of the Rings. First time that LotR has lost the position since about four editions into the list ... nearly 7 years ago.

That's pretty astonishing, considering the huge LOTR presence right now. Very gratifying. I hope I can hold on.

Have you seen _The Fellowship of the Ring_ movie yet? There are not a few fans curious as to your reaction to it, and whether you think it'll spell the beginning of a revival of major Hollywood fantasy projects. :)

I have seen the movie three times so far. I have quibbles, certainly... but all in all I thought it was magnificent, far and away the best fantasy film ever made.

As to whether it will mean a general revival of fantasy in Hollywood... well, we can hope. If they are all done as well as FELLOWSHIP, that would be exciting indeed, but I fear they won't be.

On a personal level, the studios aren't lining up to buy A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE yet, but it does look as though I am about to close a film deal on "The Skin Trade," and there is some interest in WILD CARDS as well.

The WILD CARDS revival is going very well, by the way. I just turned in the first new book, DEUCES DOWN, which is scheduled for publication this summer. Jim Steranko will do the cover, and Tim Truman the interior illustrations.

Religion and Knighthood

I just want to start by saying that I a great fan of your work. In aSoS Davos said that he expected Devan to be eventually made a knight. If Devan keeps to R'hllor is that possible?

Could be a problem there, but it's possible that Stannis will change the rituals.

Can someone who keeps to the old gods be made a knight too or is it a exclusive of the Seven?

The latter. Those who follow the old gods can be the northern equivilent of knights, but it's not quite the same.

The Mood in the North

I don't want to waste your time, so I'll get right to the point. (Its obvious I love your books, by my writing to you) -- How would you characterize the current feelings in the North.

Depressed - "Man we got screwed...time to get drunk"
Angry - "Now that was the shit that made me mad!"

Trying to get an understanding of what the North is feeling after all that has happened to them.

Thanks for your time!

Wait till the next book, and you can read about the mood in the north for yourself.

Concerning Baby Aegon

Long time fan of the series here, I obtained your e-mail at the Westeros messageboard and thought I'd try to get this question answered. There's so much speculation about it, partly because of a comment of you that seems to imply that he's not dead. So, is Aegon dead or has he survived somehow? I'm not asking if he will be the new POV in book four, but I sure would like to know if he's still alive or not.

Any thoughts on what's going on with him?

Plenty of thoughts on Aegon.

Milk Brothers, Dragons, and Foreshadowing

I wanted to let you know that I have thoroughly enjoyed reading A Song of Ice and Fire. What's more, every friend to whom I have recommended the books, from engineers to athletes to writers, has felt the same way. I am amazed at how such an intricately-constructed story can be so compelling.

Thanks for the kind words. And I'll gladly take all the recommendations I can get, so do keep spreading the word.

After reading the books for the second time a couple months back, I have to get a few questions off my chest. I know you may not have the time or inclination to answer them, but I just can't help myself, so here goes ... =)

1. How could Edric Dayne and Jon Snow be milk brothers if they are several years apart in age - 12 and 16 or so? Can a nursemaid really produce milk for so long a stretch, or perhaps did Wylla have a(nother) kid of her own when Edric was born? Or if Edric was lying, and why didn't Arya call him on it?

Edric is stretching the term a little... "milk brothers" more usually refers to two infants of different parents who were nursed simultaneously by the same woman, but Jon had long been parted from Wylla's breasts by the time Ned came along.

2. At the beginning of the final chapter of A Clash of Kings, Summer appears to see something strange above a burning Winterfell - the description makes it sound an awful lot like a dragon. Is it meant to be a dragon, a vision of a dragon, or something else entirely, say Summer's misinterpretation of the comet in the sky? But if the latter, why would Summer bare his teeth at it when he's seen the comet for quite a while at that point? Moreover, why would it vanish when Summer looks again?

No comment. I like it to my readers to make sense of signs and portents.

3. In Arya's first chapter, before she knows about Needle, Jon admonishes her to run back to Septa Mordane if she does not want to sew through winter: "When the spring thaw comes, they will find your body with a needle still locked tight between your frozen fingers." Is this foreshadowing? I really like Arya despite her dark path, and am now terrified at the prospect of her being turned into a wight, potentially the first Faceless wight at that! Aaargh!!

Again, no comment. Foreshadowing is another area where you're on your own.

And finally, I have to say that when Tyrion shot Tywin, I felt this immense surge of somewhat twisted satisfaction. I think I need professional assistance. Of course, I'm looking forward to the next installment of said assistance when I read A Dance with Dragons.

The fourth book is now called A FEAST FOR CROWS. I had to scrap my planned five-year gap, which just wasn't working. A DANCE WITH DRAGONS will be book five.

Thank you very much for your time. I plan to continue finding new people to whom I can recommend your wonderful books!

Please do.

A Multitude of Questions

Hi! I am a member of Ran's board and a curious rumor has sprung there, one I hope you can clarify. It seems that at, there is a book written by you called "A Feast for Crows" that will be published November 4 2002, with 704 pages. The number of pages matches that of "A Dance with Dragons," but ADwD is now listed August 5 2002. What's going on? Have your publishers there decided to split the book in two parts?

No, I changed the game plan. A DANCE WITH DRAGONS will now be the fifth book. A FEAST FOR CROWS will be the fourth.

And while I'm at it, I might as well ask a few (well, okay, more than a few) questions, if you don't mind...

1- Are you still holding to your "six books, no more no less" vow?

That's my intent, yes.

2- Will ADwD come out later in the US than in the UK (I hope not!)?

Based on the past two books, the Brits will probably get theirs out first again.

3- I know you've answered no to this question before, but it could have changed... Will there be a new PoV in ADwD? (A new thread speculating on who it would be springs up from time to time on the board.)

Two new viewpoint characters. One of them will be Cersei.

4- How is ADwD progressing?

A FEAST FOR CROWS is coming slowly.

5- Do you expect that it will reach bookstores before Winter 2002?

About a year from now, I hope.

6- Do you still aim at making ADwD "slimmer" than ASoS (I hope not - I want all ASoIaF books to be as fat as possible! :-)

I'd like a book the size of ACOK, but whether I achieve that remains to be seen.

7- When will Dany and her army arrive on Westeros in ADwD (beginning of book, middle, end)?

No comment.

8- If Jon wanted to, could he continue the training regimen he had set for himself at the end of ASoS despite being Lord Commander? I ask this question because I hope Jon will be one of the best swordsmen around come ADwD. Some people have argued against it on the board, but it has been pointed out that Ser Barristan was a Lord Commander, too (and thus had to take time away from training to sit on the small council), and did quite well at the Hand's tourney.

Jon can train as much as he wants, though he will have some real fighting to do as well.

9- Just where is Tyrion's ship taking him (some people think he'll end up in Dorne)?

No comment.

10- Will there be more important weddings (and funerals) in ADwD?

A big funeral right to start with in AFFC.

11- The Crown owes a lot of money to the Lannisters. Now that they've have taken power and the war is over, will they start squeezing the land dry to recover on that debt?

The Crown owes money to a lot of people. It's the debts to the Faith and the Iron Bank of Braavos that should concern them, not the one to Casterly Rock.

12- Is it a valid possibility that Littlefinger might covertly support the Brotherhood without Banners to harass the Freys to get back at them for Cat and get them in line (Littlefinger is now Lord Paramount of the Trident IIRC, and the Freys aren't likely to be the most obedient of subjects)

With Littlefinger anything is possible.

Keep reading.

Direwolves and the Seven

Just one question here. Why did he [Dolorous Edd] take the black?

Yoren told him girls couldn't resist a fellow in a uniform. He left out that bit about celibacy, though.

Direwolves and the Seven

1) About the direwolves, I assume that, like in RL, a direwolf's main source of food is the larger animals (elk and such) that grey wolves can't catch as easily. The only place we see the really large animals, too, are beyond the Wall. Is this why direwolves live almost exclusively beyond the Wall, or is there something I'm missing?

There are large animals south of the Wall as well, especially in the wolfswood, the kingswood, and the rainwood, the three largest forests in the south. But I suspect that direwolves fled the advent of man, or were hunted out... they are far more dangerous to humans than ordinary wolves.

2) I'm also curious about the religion of the Seven. They seem to be (superficially, at least) an analogue to the Catholic Church, but the Great Sept is in modern times simply the mouthpiece of whoever's in power. Before Aegon unified the Seven Kingdoms, did they enjoy more of a powerbroker?

Generally yes... although (as with the Catholic Church), the Faith's power depending in great part on who was chosen as High Septon. Even Aegon tred lightly where the Faith was concerned... it was his son Maegor who broke their power, but even then the Faith came back under kings like Baelor the Blessed.

Portuguese Translations

No need to answer this, it's just to confirm that there are not any portuguese translations of your books.

Maybe in Brazil, but not in Portugal. The sf/fantasy translation market is not so big and many things don't get translated. Actually this was a huge incentive to make me want to read *whole* books in English when I was a teenager.

As it turns out, since you wrote me this letter, my agent has closed a deal for a Portugese translation of A GAME OF THRONES. It will be my first book-length appearance in Portugese. If the book does well enough, presumably the rest of the series will follow.

There's also a Spanish translation in the works, which will come out much sooner than the Portugese, since they have a long head start.

There are plenty more sf addicts reading in English in Portugal and there are definetely more people reading ASOIAF - I have since seen even more paperback copies of ACOK and AGOT which disapeared from the bookshops faster than recalled books, and have seen ASOS under this desk...

To tell the truth, I don't much care which language my readers read the books in... so long as they read them, enjoy them, and come back for more.

Let's hope I get a good translation.

Concerning Dorne

1. Well, okay. Before the unification of Dorne with the rest of the Seven Kingdoms, what did they do for a High Septon? Was there an Antipope-type of rival supported by the Martells? An Archsepton of Sunspear? Or did Dorne accept the High Septon, despite being based in King's Landing and beholden to the Targaryens?

The Faith is not limited to the Seven Kingdoms proper, any more than the medieval Church was limited to Italy. So no, no Dornish antipopes. And the High Septon was not especially "beholden" to the Targaryens. In fact, he was a dangerous rival... well, until the reign of Maegor the Cruel, at least.

I suppose this leads into the larger question of who controlled the High Septon prior to the Targaryen Conquest.

See preceding answer.

2. You've mentioned that Dawn has an illustrious history -- is there a ballpark figure for how long the Daynes and/or Starfall/Dawn have existed?

Oh, I'd say Dawn goes back a couple thousand years... and before that, things get a little fuzzy anyway.

3. You've also mentioned that properly, saying just "Martell" isn't accurate, and pointed to Oberyn and Doran beying listed as "Nymeros Martell". Are the women of the line also "Nymeros Martell", or does the Nymeria-reference take a different ending to indicate gender?

No. Nymeros indicates "of the line of Nymeria."

4. Do all Houses of Dorne follow the first born heir law?

The vast majority, yes. May be a few stony Dornishmen in the mountains who go their own way, those least touched by the Rhoynar.

5. Is the spear the chief weapon of choice in Dorne? And what type of armor do they wear?

Lighter armor than elsewhere in the realm, due to the heat. And yes, they use several forms of spear (not just the long spear that the Red Viper employed against Gregor), but also swords, lance, axe, and the rest of the usual arsenal.

Archon Schedule

Finally got my Archon schedule:


3 pm -- autograph session
7 pm -- Opening Ceremonies
8 pm -- baseball panel
9 pm -- autograph session


10 am -- reading
12 noon -- autograph session
2 pm -- Robert Jordan Interview
3 pm -- panel, how to work with your editor


11 am -- autograph session
12 noon -- GOH speeches and awards
4pm -- closing ceremonies

All this is subject to last minute changes.