The Citadel

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

So Spake Martin

May 2001

Kinslaying in Westeros
Submitted By: Jeff

A ton of us Boarders have been debating the taboo against kinslaying in Westeros, and have been trying to define exactly what "kinslaying" is. Is it limited only to the situation where you kill a kinsman by your own hand, or would it include anything that leads to the death of a kinsman? In other words, had Renly's army defeated Stannis', and Stannis died in the battle at the hands of Loras Tyrell, would Renly still be considered a "kinslayer"?

Maybe by some, but that's a stretch.

There are degrees in kinslaying, as in anything else. Fighting a battle in which a brother dies might be frowned upon, but killing him with your own hand would be considered far worse.

In the scenario you propose, another factor might be whether Renly gave any orders in respect to Stannis. Did he command Loras to kill him, or offer a reward to whosoever slew his brother? Did he tell his men to see that his brother was taken alive? Did he not address the issue either way? There are obvious degrees of guilt, depending...

The other factor, which you haven't raised, is degree of kinship. Killing a parent is probably worse than killing a sibling, but either one is a lot worse than killing a distant cousin. Lord Karstark was stretching that aspect of it when he tried to accuse Robb of kinslaying... but of course he was hoping to save his head.

A Number of Questions
Submitted By: Maia B.

[Note: This mail is in part a continuation of the discussion in the previous entry.]

I mainly asked because many feel that it was Cat freeing Jaime which caused Robb's death. What's your opinion about it? For that matter, do you think that Cat's actions were foolish and entirely motivated by emotion?

Well, I showed you her actions and let you see the thoughts processes that led up to them. Beyond that, I will leave the interpertations to my readers.

"The castle is so large it requires an army to hold it" according to Ser Aenys Frey in ACOK. Was he mistaken?

Well, not mistaken, but perhaps overstating the case. Still, the castle walls were extensive enough to require a much larger garrison than most actual medieval castles did in the real world sieges.

And how on earth could Tywin expect a sellsword company to be loyal enough to sit out a prolongued siege? Not to mention that Lorch and Hoat were known enemies...

Lorch's men were not sellswords, and Hoat's were assigned to plunder, foraging, and terror, three of their favorite things. Lord Tywin did perhaps underestimate the extent of their emnity (he had other things on his mind), and he did not anticipate Roose Bolton making such a generous offer to the goat... or the trickery that not the northmen "captives" inside the castle.

Would you by any chance consider writing a "Rains of Castamere" story from Tywin's POV ;)?

Anything is possible, but I wouldn't hold my breath. My plate is pretty full.

BTW, I think that your idea of replacing POVs for ADWD (and the subsequent books?) was a very interesting one. I presume that you meant the older POVs which started in AGOT, not the newer additions.

It was just a notion. I never refined it sufficiently to decide exactly which I meant.

What color do you have in mind when you write that someone has "pale" eyes?

Very light grey or blue. In the most extreme cases, like Roose Bolton's, the eyes would look almost colorless.

A Number of Questions
Submitted By: Maia B.

1. Many feel that Tywin wouldn't have supported Lord Frey in his plans for the "Red Wedding" if Jaime was still captive in Riverrun. Is that an accurate assessment?

"What if" is always a hard question to answer. Jaime's imprisonment might have made Lord Tywin more cautious, but there are no certainties.

2. Was "file Tyrek" closed in ASOS with the hint that he ended in a bowl of stew?

Maybe he did. Maybe he didn't.

3. That one is from me personally (it is a bit of burning issue for me because it debunked my favourite theory ;)), but - was Tywin really obligingly marching into Robb's trap when Edmure stopped him at the Red Fork? Did he really count on Lorch and Hoat with their IIRC 300 men holding Harrenhal and the northern prisoners in his absence?

Harrenhal is an immensely strong castle, and a garrison of three hundred is quite sizeable in medieval terms. Ser Amory =should= have been able to hold it. Lord Tywin likely thought that Roose Bolton might descend on the castle and besiege it, in which case Lorch could likely have held out for half a year or longer. The wild card here was Vargo Hoat changing sides.

4. Were circumstances and timing of Tywin's death something you planned for a long time or another case of characters "taking intiative", like with Cat?

That scene was largely written even before A CLASH OF KINGS was published. Hell, I'd been setting up that "Lord Tywin shits gold" line since his very first appearance in A GAME OF THRONES.

The Stone Giant and Oxcross
Submitted By: Kay-Arne Hansen

[Summary: KAH asks GRRM about Bran's vision in A Game of Thrones, where he sees his sisters before a snarling hound, a golden figure, and a giant knight in stone armor looming over them. Specifically, he wants to know which of various theories is correct in regards to the knight.]

Well, it's an interesting question, but not one I care to answer. Puzzling out the meanings of dreams and visions is an excercise best left to the characters, I think... and of course to the readers. So argue on...

Another question I've wanted to ask for some time, is concerning the Lannisters. Given Tywin's death and Tyrion's exile, the Lannisters appears to have suffered a _grievous_ brain drain. Will there be other Lannisters to come forth and take their place ('intellectually' speaking, that is)? Daven Lannister, perhaps?

There will be other Lannisters who will =try= to come forth and take their places, undoubtedly. Ser Daven, as you mention, though Ser Kevan is considerably more senior and more experienced. And do not neglect the women. Only Kevan remains of Tywin's three brothers, but there was a sister as well. A younger generation is coming up as well, and there are more distant cousins and the like too. The Lannisters are a large family.

Oh, and while I remember it - how big was Ser Stafford Lannister's host in ACoK, anyway? (I and Ran debated whether it was 10 or 20 thousand, respectively, just to find out that the number isn't really mentioned in the books at all. ;o) )

Even in real life, estimating the size of medieval armies was always tricky. Try researching how many people fought at Agincourt or Crecy, and you will get a dozen different numbers. Why should Oxcross be any clearer?

The Lannister Family
Submitted By: Rania

[Note: This mail is a continuation of the discussion in this message.]

I do understand your point, but even among the Lannisters, Tyrion who was by far the best of them (well Jaime is getting close now) was still working for the family good even if it was not a good goal for the rest of the Seven Kingdoms or the Starks. I always thought that Tyrion was sort of the good guy who works for a bad cause.

Remember, there are many Lannisters you haven't met yet -- Lady Genna, Ser Daven, all sorts of cousins... it's a large family.

Several Questions
Submitted By: p.fitz

[Note: This mail has been edited for conciseness by removing opening and closing paragraphs]

At time I started I was getting so pissed with the fantasy genre after having lately read some terrible books I' sure you know the sort full of youngsters who's destiny it is to save the world overcoming insurmountable odds without a scratch.

There's some great work being done in fantasy by writers like Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Guy Gavriel Kay, and others, but I fear that sometimes it gets lost amongst all the yardgoods and hackwork. I am glad I was able to revive your interest in the genre.

A Game of Thrones came as a breath of fresh air, while reading it I knew it was good but when I came to Ned's death I saw the series was going to be unlike any other I have read and may I say it's only getting better.

I hope it will continue to get better. Some days I have my doubts...

Anyway to business I was wondering if you could settle something for me while re-reading "The Hedge Knight" I got the impression (due to his blushes when questioned) that Dunk may never have been knighted by the old man. Can you shed any light on this for me please.

No, I can't. Sorry.

If I could ask you another question I had assumed that Theon Greyjon was killed by a fire maddened horse towards the end of A Clash of Kings and that the Boltons were lying when they claimed to have him but I have found from discussions on the messageboard A Song of Ice and Fire that many people hold a contrary view. Could you please clear this up either way (of course feel free to tell me to mind my own business without fear of causing offence).

Sorry, can't help you on this one either. Keep reading the books.

By the way I am rapidly heading for the privilege of a custom title on the aforementioned board you wouldn't have any ASOIAF related suggestions for a good title would you. I know I'm been cheeky but I had to ask since when am I going to get a chance to pick your brains.

I am not sure what you mean by a "custom title." A title from the books? There are a few in the volume I'm presently working on that readers haven't seen yet... a guy who calls himself King of the Mummers, frinstance... another one who is called Harry the Heir... these are informal titles, though, on a par with the Knight of Flowers or the Kingslayer, and so on...

Dornish women
Submitted By: Casper Marie

Do the women of Dorne fight?

Some do. The Sand Snakes, for instance. But it's not the rule.

Nymeria was a war leader but not a warrior -- that is, a commander rather than a combatent.

Or does their "equality" to men only refer to the eldest child being heir instead of the eldest son?

That's the big one, but their customs differ gives women more rights in other ways as well. Not to say that Dorne is an egalitarian society. Far from it.

About the Westerlings
Submitted By: Rania

I have been wandering about the Westerlings and their involvement in the plot against Robb. It seems pretty obvious from the fact that they were not only pardoned by Tywin Lannister but that Jeyne's uncle was given Castamere, that they were hand-in-glove with the Lannisters/ Boltons and Freys in the plot against Robb also the fact that Jeyne's mother was giving her a contraceptive or tansy every morning that they meant to make sure that there was no chance that Jeyne would ever get pregnant.

Well, we shall see.

But I think it is a mistake to generalize about "the Westerlings," just as it would be to generalize about "the Lannisters." Members of the same family have very different characters, desires, and ways of looking at the world... and there are secrets within families as well.