The Citadel

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

So Spake Martin

October 1998

Various Pronunciations
Submitted By: Revanshe

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
Submitted By: Linda Antonsson

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
Submitted By: Linda Antonsson

[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.