[This is an extract from a longer mail. The first question involved noting the possibility that the Drowned God was simply an echo of the original gods of the First Men.]
The other one is about the Drowned God. Clearly enough, the ironborn didn't take up the gods of the children because there were neither children nor (apparently) carved weirwoods there. Is the Drowned God a unique invention of the Iron Islands?
Yes, it's an ironborn thing.
Are the Bloody Mummers an old mercenary company? Or did Vargo Hoat create it within his life time?
No, I think the Brave Companions go back further than the goat, although they are not as old as some of the other sellsword companies. Nor as young as others. It is not especially a Qohorik company either. The Mummers are basically scum from all over the west, and a few from the east and south. A Qohorik leads them now, but their last leader was likely from somewhere else, and their next might be a Lyseni or a Dornishman or even an Ibbenese.
That's it of those I came up with, although the web page has spurred one more question from others. You didn't block the Houses Ryswell and Dustin in the North as dead, and I said as much, but given that Lord Dustin and Ser Mark Ryswell fought and died at the Tower of Joy ... Were they the last of their houses? I don't think so, but I suppose one can't be certain, especially as no Dustins and Ryswells appear in the novels (both in the text and the appendicies.) Then again, neither are the Burleys or Liddles (I think), and certainly not the Flints of Flints Finger or any of the lords of Skagos.
Well, Robin Flint is one of Catelyn's companions when she rides to Bitterbridge, though I never say which branch he's from, I don't think. No, there are still Dustins and Ryswells in the north, and maybe even in Robb's army. I mean, he had twenty thousand guys or near about when he marched south, I couldn't characterize them all. I have always figured that there are =dozens= of minor lords and =hundreds= of knights and such in all these armies. Simply because someone isn't mentioned doesn't mean they are not there.
The lords of Skagos, though... they are a special case. Skagos is a =real= backwater, with very little contact with the mainland. In theory, the island is part of the north and subject to Winterfell. In practice, they pretty much go their own way.
Also, was Mark Ryswell the lord of the house before his death?
It's interesting that some knighted lords (Ser Helman Tallhart, for example) in the North seem to go by 'ser' rather than 'lord,' although this is probably just personal preference (Lord Locke has a knighted son, so might well have been a knight himself, and the same for Lord Manderly.)
Yes, there are more knights in the south North (so to speak) than in the north north, and the Manderlys in particular have bought into the Seven, chivalry, etc. White Harbor is the major port of the north, so they have been most exposed to southron influences, and have more of a mixed population.
Just out of being curious how a writer goes about his work -- do you generally write a certain POVs chapters in batches? Or are Dany's chapters, given how generally unconnected they are to the rest of the books as she goes along her own plot thread, easier to do that way? I suppose the momentum can help with a tough character.
Yes, I generally get in a groove on a particular character and write several chapters or chunks of chapters at once, before hitting a wall. When I do hit a wall, I switch to another character. Some characters are easier to write and some harder, however. Dany and Bran have always been toughest, maybe because they are heaviest on the magical elements... also, Bran is the youngest of POV kids, and very restricted as well because of his legs. At the other end of the spectrum, the Tyrion chapters often seem to write themselves. The same was true for Ned.