The Citadel

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

So Spake Martin

Bran Missing from Feast

[Summary: In a response to Arion214 asking why Bran did not appear at the feast in Winterfell early in _A Game of Thrones_.]

Pam, thanks for your post, and all the kind words about A GAME OF THRONES and "The Hedge Knight."

As to your question about Bran... well, he =is= present at the banquet, of course. Jon doesn't mention him, that's true, but of course there are hundreds of others who are present as well that Jon also fails to mention... and Bran is an everyday familiar sight to Jon, who is likely more curious about the guests... the king and queen, their children, the Lion and the Imp.

That's one explanation, anyway.

The other one is that the author just slipped up and neglected to mention him.

But either way, he =was= there, definitely. There's even a moment in A CLASH OF KINGS when he thinks back on that feast.

Authors Worthy of Legends

[Summary: In response to a thread speculating on authors who should be included in a second LEGENDS anthology. As a note, Robert Silverberg (editor of Legends) stated from the onset that he had no particular plans to do a second volume, but was interested in hearing from the posters about potential authors.]

Jack Vance, Guy Gavriel Kay, Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Jack Vance, Gene Wolfe, Jack Vance, and Poul Anderson.

Did I mention Jack Vance? IMNSHO, Vance's Dying Earth was one of three seminal creations from which all modern fantasy has sprung, the other two being Tolkien's Middle Earth and Robert E. Howard's Hyborian Age.

The real shame is that there wasn't a LEGENDS ten years ago, so that it could have included a Fafhrd/Mouser story from Fritz Leiber and an Amber story from Roger Zelazny.

Egg and the Targaryens

Yes, ultimately Egg will become king, but that's a long and winding road, and the subject for many a later story... which I hope to write after I finish all the millions and zillions of words I've still got to write for A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE.

The Targaryens have heavily interbred, like the Ptolemys of Egypt. As any horse or dog breeder can tell you, interbreeding accentuates both flaws and virtues, and pushes a lineage toward the extremes. Also, there's sometimes a fine line between madness and greatness. Daeron I, the boy king who led a war of conquest, and even the saintly Baelor I could also be considered "mad," if seen in a different light. ((And I must confess, I love grey characters, and those who can be interperted in many different ways. Both as a reader and a writer, I want complexity and subtlety in my fiction))

Lastly, some fans are reading too much into the scene in GAME OF THRONES where the dragons are born -- which is to say, it was never the case that all Targaryens are immune to all fire at all times.

Various Pronunciations

I was just wondering how you pronounce some of the charcters names in A GAME OF THRONES.

Is the 'ae' in many Targaryen names pronounced 'ay' ?

yes, in most cases

For example, is Maester 'Master' (like normally pronounced) or is it 'May-ster' or is it 'My-ster') or something else?


And what about Cersei? (I say Seer-see)


Is Lysa - Lee-sa or Ly-za?


Is Benjen benjen or Ben-yen?

Ben - Jen

Is Tyrion 'Tee-re-yon' or 'Ty-REE-yon' or something else?


Targaryen Ages

You're the second person to raise this issue of the ages of the various Targaryens from Daeron I through Daeron II. Some keen-eyed fan also pointed it out on the message board (here if you're interested in checking it out).

There's no good answer, except that I goofed. I worked out the ages (roughly) forward from Aegon II through the "present" of A GAME OF THRONES, but never thought to work them out backwards as well. It does indeed seem that they don't add up right, and that I am going to have to fiddle with the Targaryen succession. How, I don't know, but I'll make some change.

Targaryen Succession

[Note: This mail is a response to the exchange depicted in this mail.]

If Viserys II (reigned 171-172) is a younger brother of Aegon III, rather than one of his sons, I believe the ages of the kings that follow will work better.

Magic in Fantasy

Good question, Jason. The proper use of magic is one of the trickiest aspects of writing fantasy. If badly done, it can easily unbalance a book.

In my case, one of the things I did was go back and reread the Master, J.R.R. Tolkien. Virtually all high fantasy written today, including the work of most of the authors in LEGENDS, in heavily influenced by Tolkien.

Rereading LORD OF THE RINGS, it struck me very forcefully that Tolkien's use of magic is both subtle and sparing. Middle Earth is a world full of wonders, beyond a doubt, but very little magic is actually performed on stage. Gandalf is a wizard, for instance, but he does most of his fighting with a sword.

That seemed to be a much more effective way to go than by having someone mumbling spells every paragraph, so I tried to adapt a similar approach in A GAME OF THRONES.

Many Questions

[Summary: sandrews asks if Duncan from the Hedge Knight fathered a family, is the family existant at the time of the books, why Aemon Targaryen did not appear in the story, and whether Dany has any kin in Lys because of Aerion Brightfire's exile.]

The answers to (i) and (ii) will have to wait until I write more stories of Dunk and Egg, or possibly until later volumes in A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE.

As to (iii), well, Aemon was at the Citadel in Oldtown, studying for his maester's chain. He had no part in the story I was telling in "The Hedge Knight," so I saw no reason to drag him on stage.

Lastly, (iv), well, Aerion Brightfire did not stay in Lys all his life, only a few years. He may have fathered a few bastards there, which would mean Dany has "relatives" of a sort in Lys... but they would be very distant relatives, from the wrong side of the blanket.


I'll probably tell some more stories about Dunk and Egg one of these days, but most likely not for a few years. I still have thousands of pages in my current series to write first.

I hate "What Has Gone Before" summaries. Instead, I tried to write the opening chapters of A CLASH OF KINGS in such a way as to jog the readers' memories of all that happened in A GAME OF THRONES. There's also the geneologies to help keep things straight.

The War of the Roses

In broad terms, the action in A GAME OF THRONES and its sequels is definitely informed by the War of the Roses, one of my favorite historical periods. It's not a one-to-one correspondence, however; I had considerable fun playing with expectations and mixing things up, and the characters grew more from my own head than from history.

Yes, the series was originally a trilogy, but it has grown... to four initially, but now I am inclined to think it will be longer than that. What can I say? It's a BIG story, and a cast of thousands. Chat for the Nebula Awards

[Note: The following chat is made available through the Internet Archive.] Interview

[Note: The following chat transcript is made available through the Internet Archive. The precise date, beyond late 1996, is unknown.]

Omni Magazine Interview

[Note: The following chat transcript is made available through the Internet Archive.]

Sci-Fi Talk Interview

ASoIaF Outline

[Note: Sent in October of 1993, this letter to one of Martin's agents, Ralph Vicinanza, provides a glimpse of GRRM's original conception of the A Song of Ice and Fire series at the point where he had completed about a dozen chapters in A Game of Thrones. It is a very substantially different narrative than what eventually came to be published.]

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