The Citadel

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

So Spake Martin

March 2002

Concerning Doorways
Submitted By: Kli

[Note: This is GRRM's reply to a mail informing him that DOORWAYS, an SF pilot he was involved in, was finally making an appearance on American television.]

Hot damn! I had no idea. Shows you how well they keep you informed.

I am pleased it's finally going to get seen by an American audience... albeit only on cable, and nine years too late.

Interesting to reflect that DOORWAYS was the project that caused me to put A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE on the shelf for two years. If DOORWAYS had never happened, I might be finished with ICE AND FIRE by now... or at least I'd be one book further on. On the other hand, if DOORWAYS had gone to series, A GAME OF THRONES might still be sitting gathering dust in my file cabinet, along with BLACK AND WHITE AND RED ALL OVER.

A Myriad of Questions
Submitted By: Mariangela

Have you come back from Spain? Did you enjoy? I go to Spain quite once a year and the only thing I remember with love is fish...

I loved Spain, and hope to visit again. But the next country in my travel plans is the Netherlands, followed by the Czech Republic.

The sun shines and I will spend my afternoon reading the discussion about ASoIaF in internet.

One topic in particular has caught my attention:

- Has GRRM ruined Fantasy?

... picking up new Fantasy books, I am having immense difficulty finishing them - I'm constantly thinking "Martin writes better," "Martin's characters are better,"...

(Bloody well obsessed as everyone. Do you imagine what sorrow when the saga will end definitely? Think carefully about it)

Anyway I haven't difficulty finishing boring books, my problem is finding something enough valuable to be brought home (like a dog). I think, yes, in some ways you have spoiled Fantasy market, now re-considering my favourite books I don't see them so well developed as before. It's your fault.

There's still a lot of great fantasy out there. Try Robin Hobb. Try the later books of Guy Gavriel Kay. Try Tad Williams. Try Jack Vance, still the greatest living fantasist.

A part from gossips, I agree with them you gave an uncommon depth to all female characters; and this is something not easy to find in Fantasy books, where women are usually beautiful princess, warrior princess or similar cliché.

I try. Thanks, that's high praise.

Today I have some questions:

1) Can a woman marry without someone (father, king or anyone) that stands for her? Or they are passed from hand to hand like horses as Cersei showed to Sansa, and that's it?

Well, the truth is somewhat in between. But yes, fathers have a lot to say about who a girl marries... a widow, however, especially an older one with property or a title, might have a deal more say.

2) The mixture called Tansy (or something similar, I haven't the book to check, so please forgive any names' distortion) is truly an abortion mixture or something you have invented?

No, it's real enough. Tansy and pennyroyal are two powerful (and DANGEROUS) natural abortifactants. Carelessly used, however, they can kill, so I was purposely vague and added a few fantasy touches to "moon tea." I did not want anyone trying them in real life. A web search will turn you plenty of both of them.

3) Speaking about women there's is a hidden figure: Ned's mother, you only say "she was Lady Stark and she died". Nothing more? Nothing important or something too important? (please at least choose one hypothesis).

If there is anything important, I will reveal it in due time.

(Did Tolkien ever get letters asking about Aragorn's mother, I wonder?)

4) When you say: bastard's sword, do you mean an half hand sword with general historical measures, or Jon's Long Claw has different size?

A "bastard sword" was a genuine historical term for a hand-and-a-half sword, larger than an ordinary broadsword but not large enough to be a true two hander.

5) The temperature on the Wall?


6) How old is Howland Reed?

He'd be in his thirties.

7) And how would have been Ashara Dayne?


8) A part from Tyron, is there any female character you love more than the others?

Oh, probably Arya... but as with the men, I love them all.

A lot of females on stage in A FEAST FOR CROWS, by the way. The women are taking over...

Feast for Crows Information
Submitted By: Mariangela

there's a lot of stuff in the forum after WorldCon in Philadelphia!

- The next book in the ASoIaF series will be called A Feast for Crows.

Good title, I'm afraid the Italian translation will spoil it. Anyway, I'd prefer crows rather than dragons.

A FEAST FOR CROWS is next, but A DANCE WITH DRAGONS will follow.

- There will NOT be a 5 year gap.

Well, it will be easier to understand the whole story.

True. Couldn't make the gap work.

- There will be 2 new PoVs - Cersei and another PoV.

Firstly, the not revealed new PoV, is someone Known or completely unknown? Can you tell me?

Someone known.

I hope Cersei will not became a "saint".

Small chance of that.

Anyway, it will be very interesting see her POV. I like her evil and frustrated, that Sansa-chapter where she told how disappointed had been when Jaime and her had grown up was illuminating. I've read your chapter's summaries in the forum, I regret not being there, I could have tried to kidnap you and made you read again!

Ah! I was forgetting: I loved the Spanish interview appeared on El Pays! Spanish is warm and suits perfectly your words; I've asked them for some information to get the other books in Spanish.

I don't think the Spanish editions are out yet... but soon, I hope.

Go on writing, and do not complain. You know? One day we will make you write the 7th...

PS: I've written so you many times and I don't know nothing about the "small things".

For examples: favourite food, colours, season, where you write, how and when (day or night), any animals?

Two cats and a dog. Write best in the morning. Autumn is my favorite season, purple is my favorite color, and I've never met a food I didn't like.

Geographical Information
Submitted By: Brandon

Let me begin by saying how much I have enjoyed your "Song of Fire and Ice" series, and how much I am looking forward to the succeeding volumes.

Since I have two degrees in Geography and I work with maps, whenever I read a book, I am obsessed with the spatial relationships between cities/locations/continents/etc. I have a few geographic questions for you, if you would be so kind as to answer (although I understand you not answering if an answer would give away a plot detail).

1) Are we ever going to see a full map of your world, showing Westeros, the Summer Sea, the Jade Sea, etc?

There will be new maps in each book, so the pieces will gradually come together... but I am not sure that I will ever do a map of the entire world.

I like the idea of far off realms being fabulous places, and the maps getting vaguer out toward the edges... as they did in real life. "Here There Be Dragons," and all that.

2) What is the approximate distance between Westeros and Valyria (shown in the map labeled The Lands of the Summer Sea). Also, what general direction would you head if you travelled from Westeros to Valyria?

To get to Valyria from Westeros you would likely have to go south a bit, then hang a left and head east.

3) Along those same lines, how far is it from Valyria to the 9 Free cities? Are the 9 Free Cities located in the general area of Qarth on the map "The Lands of the Summer Sea"?

No, the Free Cities are much closer to Westeros than to Qarth. Several of them are just across the narrow sea -- Braavos, Pentos, Myr, Tyrosh, Lys.

The others are a bit further east.

4) What did the Broken Arm of Dorn connect to? Was it the eastern continent? Did it connect somewhere around Sothoryos?

It was a land bridge that connected Westeros to the eastern continent.

Sothoryos is the southern continent, roughly equivilent to Africa, jungly, plague-ridden, and largely unexplored.

5) Does Westeros connect to the eastern continent through the north?


I hope that helps. Keep reading.

Euron and the Globe
Submitted By: Papz

I have a few questions for you.....

1) I live in NYC. R u ever going to come to the city so i can meet you and get a book signed? I hope so!

I have family in Bayonne and often visit the NYC area, but no NYC bookstore has ever expressed any interest in having me sign there.

2) I was wondering if you could tell me if Euron CrowEye is a faceless man himself or if he simply hired a faceless man? Will we see more of Euron? He seems like a great idea for a character and id love to see you develop him somemore.

Euron is not a faceless man. Yes, you'll see the Crow's Eye in A FEAST FOR... hey, what a coincidence...

3) Is your world round. I mean if Dany traveled far enough east couldnt she come to the other side of westeros?

Yes, the world is round. Might be a little larger than ours, though. I was thinking more like Vance's Big Planet.... but don't hold me to that.

Series Ethnicities and Real World Comparisons
Submitted By: Ben

Oh, stupid fan question. I've been trying to get a visual of what the Quarth look like in my mind. In terms of what race they might be in our world. Tall and pale but I don't believe their hair color was mentioned. Would they be Western European looking? Slavic? Whenever their culture is mentioned I always think of either Persian or Indians.

I have tried to mix and match ethnic and cultural traits in creating my imaginary fantasy peoples, so there are no direct one-for-one correspodences. The Dothraki, for example, are based in part on the Mongols, the Alans, and the Huns, but their skin coloring is Amerindian. The Qartheen are an even more exotic hybrid, and offhand I don't recall where I got all the cuttings.

A Feast for Crows Release
Submitted By: glddraco

Hey is this George R.R. Martin?


I was just wondering... Well I wanted to email to you that I am a great fan! I love your work and wish to tell you so. I was kinda upset with the part in ASoS with what the Freys did to the Starks... I won't ask alot of questions about what Arya will do if she does anything to get revenge.

I also just wanted to let you know I am kinda depressed. I thought AFfC was going to come out in the Summer "August" but its comming in the Fall? :( Is their anyway you can make it come out sooner like Summer?

Please! :)

I wish I could, but it is coming more slowly than expected. These books are huge and they take a long time to write... especially if you are determined to do it right.

P.S. What is Bran doing anyway and who and WHAT is Coldhands... Is the "Lord Of Light" all good as the Red Woman says? Sorry just currious...

You'll have to wait and see. Keep reading.

Brynden Tully’s Bachelorhood
Submitted By: Kalbear

First off, thanks for writing my absolute favorite fantasy novel series. I hope that all is well with you and yours, and you're having a good time with all the travelling you've been doing.

Mostly I've been home the past few months, but I do have some travel coming up.

Once again, the boards have gotten themselves up into a tizzy about a very small detail that is likely to remain forever in mystery, and I've decided to use my first e-mail to you to attempt to get an answer. The question is: why did Brynden Tully not marry at Hoster's request? A lot of folks suspect that he is gay. Others suggest that it is brotherly rivalry. Or lost love. Or impotence. Any light you could shed on this?


I know, I know, it seems a very small (and to me) unimportant detail, but the conversations have made me a bit curious...anyway, the usual disclaimers apply about understanding if you won't tell me, because of future spoilers etc. Though it would be nice to know that it would be revealed in the future. I for one hope we haven't heard the last of the Blackfish.

The Blackfish will be seen in A FEAST FOR CROWS, have no fear. In fact, I was working on a scene with him and Jaime just the other day.

Hmmm. As sad as it sounds, this seems to be it for questions regarding the books right now. Weak, I know. How is AFFC going? Can we expect you to come visit the Northwest any time soon?

FEAST is coming along, but more slowly than I'd like. My appearance schedule is posted on my webpage. At present my next trip to the northwest will be for Foolscap in 2004, but if Bantam sends me on a book tour for FEAST it is likely that I will included Portland and Seattle once again.

Knights and Lords
Submitted By: Elio M. García, Jr.

[This is in response to a question concerning just what the style used by characters such as the Knight of Lemonwood or the Knight of Griffin's Roost meant after receiving some Heraldry-related information.]

As I see it, the title "lord" -- when used formally, and not simply as an honorific --conveys not only prestige, but certain legal rights as well. The right of pit and gallows, as they were once called, for instance -- i.e. authority to hang people and toss them into dungeons.

A landed knight has rather less prestige -- a lord outranks a knight at feasts and tourneys, for instance -- and also somewhat lesser rights.

But certain landed knights, of ancient houses, with extensive lands, and large strong castles, may be lords in all but name. These uber-knights may actually be more powerful than many smaller lordlings, so there's an overlap. Their peculiar status if often reflected by taking a style that incorporates the name of their castle, such as the Knight of Ninestars.

Connington is a special case, and you have the essence of it. Details are made clear in FEAST FOR CROWS. When Jon Connington was defeated at the Battle of the Bells, Aerys exiled him and stripped his House of all its lands and wealth. After the Rebellion, Robert restored the castle to a cousin of Lord Jon's... but only the castle, and some small grounds around it. The extensive Connington lands were parceled out to others, and the house's wealth remained in the treasury. Nor was Robert willing to recall Lord Jon from exile, since he had been among Prince Rhaegar's closest friends. Thus the Conningtons were once great lords... but Red Ronnet, their present head, is simply a landed knight, the Knight of Griffin's Roost.

Somewhat the same sequence is true of the Merryweathers of Longtable, by the way, though in that case Robert was prevailed upon to restore the lordship as well as the castle. Even so, the present Lord Merryweather is nowise as rich and powerful as his grandfather, the old man who served as Aerys's Hand after Lord Tywin and before Jon Connington.