The Citadel

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

So Spake Martin

August 2003

TorCon Speech

Torcon (Toronto, Canada; August 28-September 1)
Submitted By: Lyanna Wolfgirl

[Note: This report fleshes out details given in Rhelle's report.]

OK, some more info:

That convo that was referred to above went like this:

Q: "Do you know how the books will end?"

GRRM: "YES" (emphatically)

Q: "So do you have it written down somewhere... just in case?"

GRRM: "Nope. It's all in my head. So if I die, you all are shit out of luck"

LOL, I wonder if Parris knows...


George said that at first he was just going to use the original POVs from AGoT for the entire series, then he realized that he needed to see what Stannis was doing, but did'nt want to use Stannis as a POV. So he created Davos. Davos was his first added POV. The rest followed.

On writing his POVs, as Rhelle mentioned above, he uses their motivations and desires. What do they want? What do they want to achieve? What drives them? What SHOULD they do? Ethics, morals, ambitions, etc... all part of the mix.

On the 5 year gap this has probably already been discussed before, but here goes. George said that he was writing ADwD and was writing the flashbacks (he confirmed that they would have been flashbacks) and then he realized that he couldn't just skip things like Myrcella being crowned and the resulting dornish problems, for example. Originally he had wanted to skip the 5 years to make the kids older. But he said he realized that he was being impatient, and that those 5 years had too much important stuff to skim over. And as banditski noted above, Rickon will not be in AFfC. George's exact words: "no, he's not old enough yet." Hmmmmm. YET.

On Jaime

at a panel:

Q: "Did you know from the beginning that you would flesh Jaime out and make him a pov?"

GRRM: "I knew I would flesh him out, but no, I did not know he would be a pov."

Some pronunciations:

Lyanna = lye-anna
Catelyn = cat-linn
Maester = may-ster (that one's pretty obvious)
Moat Cailin = Moat Cah-lan
Sansa = Saun-sa
Khaleesi = Khal-eee-see
Missandei = mees-anday
Tommen = Toam-in
Davos = Dah-vos
Varys = Var-us

Many of you probably knew those, but they were new to me! So I thought I'd share

Something weird: I THINK he indicated that the dragons are NOT all the same sex. My question was intercepted, but I believe that was the answer. Cool. Reign of fire baby! One of my favorite things that George said: he was talking about how he uses ancient software on his computer and he said something like "no fucking dancing paperclip for me." LOL. we were dying.

Torcon (Toronto, Canada; August 28-September 1)
Submitted By: banditski

I too picked up a few things in talking with him...

In no particular order:

We won't see any (or very little) of Rickon in AFfC.

I was talking with george and the dude from FFG [Fantasy Flight Games] who does the card game, and George asked the FFG guy how he was going to balance the power of the families (Stark, Lannister, Greyjoy, etc) once the dragons are full grown. He said something like "once dany lands in westeros with full grown dragons, they are gonna kickass all over the place" (paraphrasing - it was something more like "they will be tougher than anything we've seen since Aegon the Conquorer.")

We probably won't get the POV from an Other, but we will find out more about them (history, motives, etc.)

Oh, I also asked George if he could say what new map(s) there will be in AFfC. He answered the Free Cities.

Torcon (Toronto, Canada; August 28-September 1)
Submitted By: Mouse

[Note: This report fleshes out details given in this report.]

Fleshing out some of the notes Rhelle took on the Q&A:

"George was asked if he would change anything and he says nothing major."

The person asking the question noted that, when Tolkien wrote LotR, he had the advantage of completing the entire trilogy prior to publication, and therefore could revise portions of, say, the first book while he was writing the second. The person asked whether, since George's works are serial, were there any changes he would make? George said that there are a few minor details he's noticed that are inconsistent between books, and these are the only things he would change (and *has* changed in later editions).

"We are completely 'shit out of luck' if George dies." And "George gave out props to Ran and says he checks with Ran for mistakes. (GO RAN!!! Yes, we cheered you)."

I recall these being all part of one answer, but my memory could be faulty. I believe the question was: Did George have an idea how the books are going to end? Is it written down somewhere? How does he keep all the details straight? And what happens if he dies? George gave his, 'sorry, SOL' answer. He said that he does keep some details written down on his computer, but mostly it's all "up here" in his head. "Also, there's a man called Elio in Sweden, and he knows all the details, knows everything better than I do. I can just ask Elio."

I don't recall what the question was, but our Tolkien fans would be interested in a snippet George mentioned. He said one of the beauties of LotR is how the book starts out with a small world, and gradually expands. You start with this huge sprawling map, and it's just of the Hobbit lands, and this is all our hobbits really know of. There's no talk of, say, Minias Tirith [and no LotR fans better come excoriate me for spelling that wrong] at the beginning. Then, when the journey begins, the hobbits -- and the readers -- get this incredible sense of an ever-expanding world, and how they are just a small part of it.

The guy who asked whether Westeros was in the southern hemisphere was really quite certain George was gonna say yes to that one, and seemed shocked when George said, "Ummmm. No."

Tommen rhymes with "omen."

Chataya is shuh-TIE-yuh.

George mentioned over and over this weekend how he doesn't feel that there's really a boundary between fantasy and sci fi. My new prediction is that the Others are actually space aliens, that the "dragons" asleep below Dragonstone and Winterfell are actually space ships, and that we'll end with Dany's dragons in a fight with aliens shooting space lasers. You heard it here first, folks!

Torcon (Toronto, Canada; August 28-September 1)
Submitted By: OsRavan

[Note: Proofread for clarity. This is in response to a question regarding whether Brandon's duel with Littlefinger was before or after Harrenhal.]

And when I asked him your question, Ran, about Brandon, he said he couldn't be 100% sure without checking his notes but he thought it was after Harrenhal.

Torcon (Toronto, Canada; August 28-September 1)
Submitted By: Bronn Stone

Frey rhymes with "Day"

Jonquil is pronounced John-Kill.

Dolorous is pronounced Dollar-Us

Tobho rhymes with Bobo

Torcon (Toronto, Canada; August 28-September 1)
Submitted By: Rhelle

This chapter was originally part of the prologue, of which was 250 pages. Now the material will be spread throughout the book. POVs are listed and George says "Meeren with Dany" and it sounded to me like she was going to stay there throughout the book.

George was asked if he would change anything and he says nothing major.

We are completely "shit out of luck" if George dies.

Regarding the size and geography of Westeros: it is about the size of South America. It is Not in the southern hemisphere. Stop asking George about distances and travel time. Measuring the realm by the reference of how long the Wall is NOT valid.

George says he is drowning in POVs and will have to start killing some off soon. (said with laughter)

AFFC is getting longer and more difficult to fit the entire 5 years in.

Some people will never be POVs: Littlefinger, Varys, Howland Reed, and others who know too much.

George gave out props to Ran and says he checks with Ran for mistakes. (GO RAN!!! Yes, we cheered you)

ASOIAF is loosely based on the War of the Roses and the 100 year war.

Politics: look at all people, not just POVs and he thinks through what these people want-what they are after, what is in it for them.

No regrets about killing of chars.

George talks about nutty fans, and related a story about a woman who contacted him complaining that he killed her daughter, who was named Kathryn (Beauty and the Beast).

Blackwood-Bracken Feud and Coinage
Submitted By: Elio M. García, Jr.

[Note: Edited for brevity. The beginning relates to the heraldry fiddlings mentioned in the previous mail, when it was decided to modify Bracken somewhat.]

Ancient enemies?

The feud between the Brackens and the Blackwoods goes back to the Age of Heroes. Both Houses ruled the riverlands as kings at various times. They were also divided by religion; the Brackens went over to the new gods, while the Blackwoods remained with the old.

We saw the update on your site about the coins. Do hope those are successful. The "sepp" looks quite interesting, although we contacted the fellow at and he said that that was his own invention as you haven't really settled on anything in that regards.

He coined the term "sepp," which I didn't really like. We've agreed in future to call it a "star." Since the stag and dragon are known for the symbols on the obverse, this one should be as well.

Initially he set out to make a copper penny, but the coin he ended up with wound up being too large and heavy for a penny, in my estimation. Also, once I paused to consider, it struck me that the coinage was just too simple if it was copper/silver/gold and only one coin of each metal. I mean, for comparison, look at the real British system, of old:

An odd-numbered coin denomination is rather strange, but you're right about the craziness of the (old) British system. Much livelier than a simple decimal system.

Yes indeed. And much more medieval. It occurs to me too that Westerosi coinage is probably more complex than actual British medieval coinage, since the Seven Kingdoms were actually seven kingdoms once... and presumably each king minted his own coins. So expect to see references to halfpennies, threepennies, stars, and groats popping up in future books.

The Faith of the Blackwoods
Submitted By: Elio M. García, Jr.

[Note: This message relates to various heraldry fiddlings that were being worked upon. The message has been edited for brevity, focusing on the interesting thematic statement made.]

If not, maybe we could suggest a weirwood by making it a white tree on a black eschutcheon. The Blackwoods are one of the few southron worshippers of the old gods, after all.

GamePro Interview

[Note: The following interview is made available through the Internet Archive.]