The Citadel

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

So Spake Martin

February 1999

Elder Gods’ Rave #14 Interview
Submitted By: io9 Interview

[Note: The following interview is archived.]

Re: Greyjoy Fleet
Submitted By: Kay-Arne Hansen

[Summary by Kay-Arne Hansen: Anyway, I asked how big the Iron Fleet was. And this was the answer he came up with. I do not recall how many major lords Balon has under him, but I think we speak about a fleet counting perhaps a thousand ships. (but only small ones :)

Oh yeah, this is just before he goes touring - hence the comment about his rush.]

No time for a lengthy answer. I leave town tomorrow and there are a million things to do.

In brief, though... the Iron Islands can float a lot more than a hundred ships. Each of the major lords probably commands that any.

However, it is important to remember that the longships are smaller and simpler than the fleets that Joffrey and Stannis warred with on the Blackwater. The former are Viking longboats, more or less; for the latter, think Venetian/Byzantine dromonds of war.

Tad Williams

[Summary: Dan Kenny noted 'the two brothers' (Josua and Elias, sons of Lord Willum of Renly's court) was an obvious nod to Tad Williams. At first he was concerned that it wasa rip-off, but then thought it was more likely a friendly nod.]

Definitely. I was a huge fan of Tad's MEMORY, SORROW, AND THORN -- in fact, I doubt I would ever have written my own series without the inspiration his provided.

There are a number of other "nods" to my favorite fantasy authors buried in the books as well.

As for answering too much questions... ... well, I know what you mean. I'm about to leave on my book tour for CLASH OF KINGS, however, so I'll be pretty much gone from here for the next month.


I will post the dates and times of my signing tour in the "touring" thread uptopic. Thanks for asking.

As for your other questions (boy, you folks are relentless), I don't have the precise population of King's Landing on the exact area of Westeros immediately on hand.

In very general terms, however... King's Landing is more populous than medieval London or Paris, but not so populous as medieval Constantinople or ancient Rome.

Some readers have likened Westeros to England because they see some general similarities in its shape, and in its location off the west coast of a larger landmass. The latter is true enough (I don't see the former, myself), but Westeros is much much MUCH bigger than Britain. More the size (though not the shape, obviosuly) of South America, I'd say.

The other continent is bigger, Eurasia size.

Yes, a league is three miles.

Several Questions
Submitted By: Fourthman

Are those purple amethysts in Sansa's hairnet the same type of purple amethyst in Cressen's chamber?

No comment.

When the Shadow emerges from Melisandres womb, it is described as looking like "the man who'd cast it." Does this mean "who would" (Cortnay) or "who did" (Stannis).

"who had"

On the Legends Bulletin Board, in response to my question regarding the stretch of time of "A Song of Fire and Ice," you have a small typo in your answer. You reply "there will be a stretch of five or year" between ASoS and ADwD. Please clarify.

Five or six years

Also, if I swear on my honor (admittedly I'm not Ned) could I persuade you to tell me who the new viewpoint will be in ASOS?


Davos will be included, yes.

Fan Sites

[Note: Some of these links and sites mentioned are no longer active.]

I don't maintain a web page myself, but fans and friends have been kind enough to put up some for me.

There's a lot of bibliograpic and biographic info at the SFWA website at:

And there's a list of some of my out of print books for sale at:

A number of Seven Kingdoms websites (more every day, it seems) have been established to discuss A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE and "The Hedge Knight." The oldest of them is Dragonstone, which can be found at: [url=][/url]

If you follow the links from Dragonstone, they will take you to the rest of the sites.

All that being said, I'm afraid I don't answer questions on most of these sites. Some of them can get very busy, and I'd rather spend my time =writing= the books instead of answering questions about them. Also, I prefer to let my readers kick around their own theories and viewpoints about the books, and the author's presence would inevitably inhibit such free-wheeling discussion.

Allegory in The Lord of the Rings

Tolkien always indignantly denied that LOTR was an allegory.

Yes, there are sometimes things to be found in a book of which even the author is unaware. This is particularly true for those writers whose stories sometimes seem to come bubbling up from the subconscious (which is by no means all writers, let me add). We all have monsters from the Id, and sometimes they escape into our stories with us being none the wiser.

I don't, however, believe that anything of the sort happened here, and in this case I am strongly disposed to believe Tolkien. He despised allegory, by the way.