The Citadel

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

So Spake Martin

October 2001

Direwolves and the Seven
Submitted By: Daniel J. Linehan

Just one question here. Why did he [Dolorous Edd] take the black?

Yoren told him girls couldn't resist a fellow in a uniform. He left out that bit about celibacy, though.

Direwolves and the Seven
Submitted By: Daniel J. Linehan

1) About the direwolves, I assume that, like in RL, a direwolf's main source of food is the larger animals (elk and such) that grey wolves can't catch as easily. The only place we see the really large animals, too, are beyond the Wall. Is this why direwolves live almost exclusively beyond the Wall, or is there something I'm missing?

There are large animals south of the Wall as well, especially in the wolfswood, the kingswood, and the rainwood, the three largest forests in the south. But I suspect that direwolves fled the advent of man, or were hunted out... they are far more dangerous to humans than ordinary wolves.

2) I'm also curious about the religion of the Seven. They seem to be (superficially, at least) an analogue to the Catholic Church, but the Great Sept is in modern times simply the mouthpiece of whoever's in power. Before Aegon unified the Seven Kingdoms, did they enjoy more of a powerbroker?

Generally yes... although (as with the Catholic Church), the Faith's power depending in great part on who was chosen as High Septon. Even Aegon tred lightly where the Faith was concerned... it was his son Maegor who broke their power, but even then the Faith came back under kings like Baelor the Blessed.

Portuguese Translations
Submitted By: cteresa

No need to answer this, it's just to confirm that there are not any portuguese translations of your books.

Maybe in Brazil, but not in Portugal. The sf/fantasy translation market is not so big and many things don't get translated. Actually this was a huge incentive to make me want to read *whole* books in English when I was a teenager.

As it turns out, since you wrote me this letter, my agent has closed a deal for a Portugese translation of A GAME OF THRONES. It will be my first book-length appearance in Portugese. If the book does well enough, presumably the rest of the series will follow.

There's also a Spanish translation in the works, which will come out much sooner than the Portugese, since they have a long head start.

There are plenty more sf addicts reading in English in Portugal and there are definetely more people reading ASOIAF - I have since seen even more paperback copies of ACOK and AGOT which disapeared from the bookshops faster than recalled books, and have seen ASOS under this desk...

To tell the truth, I don't much care which language my readers read the books in... so long as they read them, enjoy them, and come back for more.

Let's hope I get a good translation.

Concerning Dorne
Submitted By: Trebla

1. Well, okay. Before the unification of Dorne with the rest of the Seven Kingdoms, what did they do for a High Septon? Was there an Antipope-type of rival supported by the Martells? An Archsepton of Sunspear? Or did Dorne accept the High Septon, despite being based in King's Landing and beholden to the Targaryens?

The Faith is not limited to the Seven Kingdoms proper, any more than the medieval Church was limited to Italy. So no, no Dornish antipopes. And the High Septon was not especially "beholden" to the Targaryens. In fact, he was a dangerous rival... well, until the reign of Maegor the Cruel, at least.

I suppose this leads into the larger question of who controlled the High Septon prior to the Targaryen Conquest.

See preceding answer.

2. You've mentioned that Dawn has an illustrious history -- is there a ballpark figure for how long the Daynes and/or Starfall/Dawn have existed?

Oh, I'd say Dawn goes back a couple thousand years... and before that, things get a little fuzzy anyway.

3. You've also mentioned that properly, saying just "Martell" isn't accurate, and pointed to Oberyn and Doran beying listed as "Nymeros Martell". Are the women of the line also "Nymeros Martell", or does the Nymeria-reference take a different ending to indicate gender?

No. Nymeros indicates "of the line of Nymeria."

4. Do all Houses of Dorne follow the first born heir law?

The vast majority, yes. May be a few stony Dornishmen in the mountains who go their own way, those least touched by the Rhoynar.

5. Is the spear the chief weapon of choice in Dorne? And what type of armor do they wear?

Lighter armor than elsewhere in the realm, due to the heat. And yes, they use several forms of spear (not just the long spear that the Red Viper employed against Gregor), but also swords, lance, axe, and the rest of the usual arsenal.

Message Board

Well, I have thought about adding a message board to my own website, but I hesitate to do it for a couple of reasons. I am a bit concerned about the number of questions it might generate. I don't really have time to answer a bunch of questions, but it would seem rude to just ignore them all. And if the fans want to discuss the books and argue about theories and such, that's not something that I should be reading, so it is better off somewhere like the EZboard BBS rather than on my own site.

Vance, King, Cornwell, and More

Jack Vance would head the list. Stephen King is up there. Bernard Cornwell, at least for his Sharpe's books. I like his new medieval series as well, but not the Civil War stuff. Whenever a new Flashman novel comes out I grab it right away. I watch for William Goldman's byline. And I confess to being addicted to Colleen McCullough's "First Man in Rome" series, despite the fact that she's an awful writer in some ways. Even so I find the books compulsively readable.

Archon Meeting (October 5-7)
Submitted By: Trebla

[Note: This report and the following one are recaps of answers GRRM gave to various questions during Archon, rather than verbatim quotes of his answers.]

1) Would it be exceptional for a junior member of the Kingsguard to be made Lord Commander over Brothers who have worn the white for a longer time? Or is the Lord Commander position something chosen solely on ability?

The Lord Commander of the Kingsguard is picked by the king. Seniority might play a part, but ability would also be considered.

When was Jon Snow born in relation to the Sack of King's Landing? Around the same time, a month earlier or later?

GRRM stated that he would have to look at his noted to be able to answer but doubted he would answer this question anyway. ;)

What's Hardhome? It's on the map of the area beyond the Wall, but it's never mentioned in the book.

Hardhome is the closest thing that the Wildlings have to a city.

Did Tywin Lannister's campaign against the Reynes and Tarbecks play a part in him being named Hand of the King?

A: It played a small part. Aerys and Tywin knew each other from their youth. Aerys was 19 when he took the throne and wanted a young court, not a bunch of old men around him. Jahaerys was 39 when he died.

Where did the idea of the Red Wedding come from?

A: It is loosely based on the "Black Dinner" from Scottish history. The king invited the sons of his dead rival to a dinner. He feasted them and then had a final dish served to them, with a single drum playing in the background. The dish was a black bulls head, which was the symbol of death. The sons were then executed.

Archon Meeting (October 5-7)
Submitted By: Castellan Hauberk

In regards to the conversation about the dire wolves and the Starks the point was made (I forget by whom) that Lady was dead and Sansa still alive to which I replied that Sansa wasn't really much of a Stark anymore. IIRC (this is a little hazy), at this point GRRM kind of leaned back in his chair, smiled and said something to the effect of "A very astute observation." (Note: I was hoping someone else would bring this up as I didn't want to do any hornblowing... since Terra brought it up, but didn't recall the wording I felt the need. If anyone remembers his words differently I'll gladly recant.)

The next Wild Cards book will be an anthology of stroies set all across the Wild Cards history. Unfortunately due to other obigations the Great and Powerful Turtle will not appear.

Discovered on the way down that GRRM played any number of RPGs earlier in his career - many of them from Chaosium (so dammit get over to Storm's board to comment on my attempts to adapt the Chaosium system to ASoIaF - no you don't have to know the system to comment!). Wild Cards is, in fact, based on Super World characters.

GRRM is interested in putting together a source book but probably not before AFfC and possibly not until later still. Didn't really comment on whether or not it would be on line with a good version (my words, not his) of the Big White Book or something on line with Karen Wynn Fonstad's Atlas of the Land/Middle Earth.

.... Glenn Cook was also present at the show. He resides in the St Louis area and, judging from his booth in the dealers room, actually runs a bookstore. I managed to find a couple of the Dread Empire books and got him to sign them and my Black Company books. He wasn't very talkative as he had other customers but he did say that he planned on revisitng the Black Company but that he has four or five other things that he has to do first. While I was talking to Cook, Robert Jordan stopped by to peruse his wares. I hung around long enough to greet him and introduce myself and to see what he was buying - picked up at least one Orson Scott Card book (couldn't tell of it was Ender's Shadow or Shadow of the Hegemon).

Archon Meeting (October 5-7)
Submitted By: Trebla

Gareth and I made it to the Opening Ceremoy where George was the Toastmaster. He introduced all of the guests, doing a real good job of mixing in humor. Some of the more notable guests were Steve Jackson, David Cherry, and the lucious Virginia Hey. Another guest was Jack Stauffer from Battle Star Galactica. When he heard that George had worked in the TV industry, he wrapped himself around George's knee and begged for a job!

George finally got to Robert Jordan and informed the audience that he had an announcement. George stated that he would like to address the Internet rumors regarding the fact that he and RJ had never been seen together. He announced that he was in fact Robert Jordan!!!! RJ had been listening and snuck up behind him. A surprised George said, "Oh, hi!"

.... The reading was of course great and afterwards, as Terra mentioned, George stood in the hallway with us and answered questions. I posed a number to him and he answered a bunch. One he didn't but was kind of interesting was when I asked him who was the crown prince: Duncan or Jahaerys? He said something like, "Which time?" Huh?!? He then said we would have to RAFO.

[Note: Immediately below is a brief description of GRRM's "near-death experience". See this report.]

.... George was very gracious during the meal, telling stories and answering questions. He told us one about being stuck in a bad cold spell and being almost out of gas while looking for a friend's house. He made it to the house and spent the night. The next day they tried to leave and barely made it out of the driveway before the car ran out of gas!!

Terra covered a lot of the conversation. He was amused at who some of our favorite characters were. He remembered talking to the 3 of the cute girls from BwB at Worldcon and who they all liked: One liked Theon, one liked Jaime, one liked Sandor. He was exasperated that none of them liked nice, sweet Samwell!! I brought up the dead direwolf with the antler in the throat and asked if it was an omen. He said it certainly was, but the whole concept was debatable. Did the sign mean it was destined to happen? Or did the reaction to it MAKE it happen, i.e. Cat's urging Ned to go South, Nymeria attacking Joffrey, etc. Another subject was guest rights. He mentioned the time the Tyrion came to Winterfell and Robb met him with bare steel across his lap. That meant that there was no guest rights for Tyrion. God, we talked about so much, I hope I can remember everything!

Archon Meeting (October 5-7)
Submitted By: TerraPrime

[Note: Edited for brevity,]

... Then my partner and I went to get a bite, thinking we'll make it to the Opening ceremony in time. Wrong. We got back after Martin had spoken. Apparently, Jordan made a short speech when he was introduced. You all should ask Trebla or Gareth to report it, since I wasn't there. But it's funny.....

.... Next morning, grabbed the complimentary breakfast at the hotel. Went to Martin's reading and met Hauberk (already with Trebla and Gareth) in the hallway. There were roughly 30 people, I think. Was in heaven for an hour. The room was reserved for anohter function (very minor and unimportant, not worthy of mentioning) so we had to vacate after Martin was done reading. Martin held court in the hallway answering questions while the child-care room right next door was doing sing-along with The Lion Sleeps Tonight and American Pie. People asked questions for about half hour.

... Off we went to dinner. Had to wait 5 minutes for large table. Took pictures outside of restaurant while waiting. Then we had a barbecue dinner. Good stuff.

Dinner conversation highlights:

1. Martin lamented that this group has no pretty ladies.

2. Trebla (?) mentioned that some board members would really love to see more of Bronze Royce, and Martin commented on the preculiarity on how some readers will become attached to a character who had so little screen time and pratically no dialogue. He related a story from the Wild Card, where he had to kill a supporting character that has been in 5 scenes and had one line of dialogue "Where's the food?" He received quite a few angry fanmails about the death of that character.

3. Martin mentioned that he had a SF show written and the pilot shot, but the plot was stolen (unproven, of course) by Sliders. Basically, his concept was a multiple universe setting like the one Sliders' has, "except that the show is intelligent," said Martin.

4. Martin said that he can't see the books being adapted to a movie. A TV miniseries, maybe, but even then it's unlikely. But perhaps short stories like Hedge Knight can be made into a movie that can stand on its own.

5. Two new books in the Wild Card series will be coming out. One novel and one anthology, I believe.

6. A short discussion on Stannis' slaying of Renly. Martin just sat and listened. I made the point that killing someone on the battlefield is different from assasinating someone in their sleep, and Martin asked "Is it really? Are you saying that you would not have participating in the attempted bombing of Hitler? Instead, you'd prefer to kill him in battle where he'd have a fair chance in fighting?"

7. Short discussion on the significance of the wolf to the Stark kids. Martin made a rather assertative comment about the significance of Lady's absence in Sansa's life. Though I can't recall the exact wording.

8. Martin said he'll be attending Wis Con. Woohoo!

9. Martin recalled a near-death (okay, not THAT near) experience in Wisconsin when he was attending Wis Con in the late 70s.

10. Seems like ArchCon is Martin's regular stomping ground. He was their first Guest of Honor 25 years ago. He's been to all but last year's.

... Oh, I forgot who, but someone asked me to ask Martin about Bronn (Amryc?), whether he'll live till the end of the series. Martin said he can't answer a question like that. Sorry!

.... The interview was held at 2pm on Saturday. We went to that one after lunch. Martin introduced Jordan, and he repaid Jordan for his quip during the oepning ceremony. I'll post both parts since Trebla hasn't come on to post yet.

In the Opening Ceremony, Jordan got up and he started saying that his mother had had some mental illness issues with manic depressive disorder. He went on to say that he had inherited her depressive mood swings and that he's been fighting it on and off for years now. Once in a while, when he's in the depressed mood, he'll write and later on, publish the work under the pseudonym of George R R Martin (because his real name is actually George B B Martin, of course). Hah.

So in the interview session, Martin got up and said that it's true that he didn't write the Song of Ice and Fire, that it was actually Jordan who wrote it. That's why Jordan didn't have time to actually write the WoT, and instead, the WoT was written by David Eddings. Muwahahahahah.

Okay, so the interview went on. The interview was about Jordan. I mean, it was all him. Very little Martin. So I don't think I'll repeat the majority of it. The pertinent part is that Jordan said he had planned the WoT series to be 5 books (I did a good job not to scoff), but the story has its own mind and can't be contained (again, I didn't laugh). Martin said that he had the same problem. He had originally planned that GoT and CoK to be one book.

Other than that, it was about Jordan. Not even mostly about his series. Just himself. The highlight is that he served in the Vietnam war and he was, apparently, quite an efficient soldier. It did a job on his psyche, it seems. One thing he mentioned was that there was a picture that his friend took of him, where he was sitting on a log eating his ration, with 3 or 4 dead bodies around him. One of them was a guy with half his brain blown off by a grenade or something. Quite gruesome.

At the end, Jordan said there's a poll on Motley Fool (not sure if he's making it up or not) asking:

Which event will take place first?

1. Robert Jordan finishes WoT series

2. GRRM finishes SoIaF series

3. Obscure reference I didn't catch

4. Heat death of the universe

and the poll has #4 leading 5:1 to all other choices.

A Feast for Crows

A FEAST FOR CROWS is scheduled for fall, 2002, provided I can finish it on time. Check my website for updates on that and other subjects.

Six Books…

I am still hoping to do it in six books... however, I have backtracked on that "shoot me in the head" promise, which might have been a bit, ah... rash.

I haven't stopped posting here entirely, but I don't visit the board as often as I did. The amount of activity here has decreased considerably.

Archon Schedule
Submitted By: Elio M. García, Jr.

Finally got my Archon schedule:


3 pm -- autograph session
7 pm -- Opening Ceremonies
8 pm -- baseball panel
9 pm -- autograph session


10 am -- reading
12 noon -- autograph session
2 pm -- Robert Jordan Interview
3 pm -- panel, how to work with your editor


11 am -- autograph session
12 noon -- GOH speeches and awards
4pm -- closing ceremonies

All this is subject to last minute changes.

Sequential Tart Interview

[Note: The precise date, beyond October 2001, is unknown.]