The Citadel

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

So Spake Martin

2018 Worldcon Question

When George was here during the promotion tour for A Dance with Dragons I got to ask him a question as well. Knowing that he is not going to reveal any great spoilers and not wanting my answer to be "KEEP READING," I chose a rather obscure topic that interests me. I wanted to know something about Ser Barristan the Bold. Selmy is a walking contradiction. He is portrayed as a man of impeccable honor and tremendous courage. Yet he admits he may deserve a "traitor's death." When he accepts Robert's offer to join his Kingsguard, he abandons his duty to Viserys, then a child in need of his protection and knowledge. This choice has always fascinated me. In particular, I wanted to know if Ser Barristan makes his decision before or after he finds out that Hightower, Dayne, and Whent are dead. Does he do so knowing he is the only loyal Kingsguard alive - Jaime having quite spectacularly killed the King he was sworn to protect. I'm not sure knowing he is alone makes his decision to go over to Robert better or worse, but it helps me in understanding the man's thinking. Anyway, that's the question I asked him many years ago and George's answer was not "keep reading" but an equally frustrating "that's interesting. I'd have to think on that." An answer that is no answer.

So while waiting in line, I thought what should I ask this time? After considering a question about the timing of different views of the comet (Maester Luwin's and Daenerys's which I have long thought take place at the same time) I decided to ask my original question on Ser Barristan again. After all, George has had a few years to think on it. Well he did answer it. Kinda. Sorta. When I asked if Selmy knew of the deaths of the Kingsguard Trio when he decided to go over to Robert, his response was "Yes, .... quite probably. He was hurt and recovering so there is enough time for him to know." Not quite the clear answer I was looking for, but a great improvement over the "I have to think on that" response. Given the glacial pace in which I have been asking this question, I'm quite sure that I will get my definitive, clear answer at Worldcon 2022.