The Citadel

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

So Spake Martin

April 2003

Concerning the False Spring
Submitted By: WaterDancer

When was the year of the false spring?

Don't have my references to hand, but it was a year or two before the start of Robert's Rebellion.

Submitted By: Donald

I am re-reading AsoIaF (I am about of the way through AsoS as I write this). I would have to say that this series, considered as a single work, is one of my favorite stories - definitely the best within the genre.

Thanks. That's high praise indeed.

About a year ago I was lucky enough to find a first ed. HC copy of A Game of Thrones offered for sale on the internet by a used bookstore in Washington state. I happily paid over the $35 or so dollars that the seller wanted for it.

You got quite a bargain. That book goes for several hundred dollars now. Take good care of yours.

Well, it turns out that you were doing a signing in another area bookstore and the seller offered to have it signed at no additional charge. Of course I agreed. I'm proud to have that book as the centerpiece of my growing collection of books.

Anyway, I look forward to reading your latest installment. I know it will be great. Thanks for writing it.

A FEAST FOR CROWS continues to grow, though slowly. Sorry it has taken so long. I hope it will be worth the wait.

Meanwhile, there is an excerpt from the new book in the March issue of DRAGON magazine, available at most good newsstands and gaming stores. It's called "Arms of the Kraken." Check it out. It may help pass the time until the novel is done.

Please consider visiting the Chicago area for a signing. I would love to meet you in person and have you personalize a copy of the new book for me!

I did signings in Chicago for the first and second books, but the turnout was pretty meagre, so my publisher did not send me back for the third. Whether or not Chicago will be back on the tour for the fourth volume, I couldn't say. It's my publisher who makes these calls, not me. All I can tell you in to watch the Appearances page on my website.

Naming Characters
Submitted By: Bale Dayne

Let me start with the big fan opener: I am one, read ASOIAF 5 times over, can't wait for the next book, etc., etc...

Glad to hear it.

Now to the meat of this email.

Where do you get the names of your characters?

I make them up. In many cases, they are variants of real names -- Eddard for Edward, for example. They have to have the right "sound," though. It is hard to explain... and hard to do as well.

I am a big proponent of the theory that "names have power". Not in the fantasy sense, where the holder of a true name can make you stand on your head or somesuch, but in the phonetic sense, for lack of a better description. I feel that names can evoke a feeling about a character, describe a character, better than a whole page devoted to just that.

I agree.

You should read some Jack Vance. He's marvelous with names. Tolkien was very good as well.

Almost every name you use in ASOIAF do just that.

Greatjon Umber Gregor Clegane Lannister Stark

I could go on and on.

So, Where do you get the names of your characters? How do you come up with them? Do you TRY to give characters names that will evoke feelings in the mind of the reader, or is that just a lucky coincidence?

You want the names to be evocative, yes.

Would you think about naming any of your characters Bale, in honor of my EZboard nick...? ;)

Nice try.

Thank you, and keep up the great work! We are all rooting for you!

I appreciate it.

Some Questions
Submitted By: Lord Baelish

I hope I'm not intruding on your writing time, and I hope your writing is going really well. But I have a couple of questions about your work (which is brilliant) that I would like to ask you.

Are you going to let Littlefinger survive the series? I really hope so, because you should see the number of arguments that he causes at our message boards. He is one of your best characters, and I for one hope he lives.

That's not something I am like to answer in a letter. Keep reading.

Are the Others just pure evil, or are we going to find out more about their motives later on?

Keep reading.

Did one of the Brandon Starks ever reach Asshai by the Shadow?


Does Littlefinger feel an attraction to Sansa solely because of her beauty, or is it because she is Catelyn's daughter? I personally prefer the former, though. :)


Finally, on a slightly different topic, can you recommend any good informative books for want-to-be fantasy writers like me?

Lisa Tuttle's recent book on writing SF and fantasy is valuable. There's a link on my website, under "What I've Read."

Thank you for reading this e-mail, and I hope it hasn't taken up too much of your time. I look forward to reading your reply.

Good luck.