The Citadel

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


Omnivoracious Interview
Sports Illustrated Podcast
Deeper than Swords Speech

Thomax’s Book

I'm a huge fan of A Song of Ice and Fire, and I have a bet with a fellow fan that I was hoping you could settle. Samwell mentions a book he found at Castle Black in AFFC:

The book appeared undamaged. Maester Thomax’s Dragonkin, Being a History of House Targaryen from Exile to Apotheosis, with a Consideration of the Life and Death of Dragons had not been so fortunate. It had come open as it fell, and a few pages had gotten muddy, including one with a rather nice picture of Balerion the Black Dread done in colored inks.

Tyrion later mentions a book while on the Shy Maid:

And of course there was even less chance of his coming on the fragmentary, anonymous, blood-soaked tome sometimes called Blood and Fire and sometimes The Death of Dragons, the only surviving copy of which was supposedly hidden away in a locked vault beneath the Citadel.

Both books contain the words "Death of Dragons", are these two books the same?

No. Different books. Interview (German)

[Note: This interview is in German.]

CCCB Interview

CCCB_George R. R. Martin (VO En/Esp) from CCCB on Vimeo.

Adria’s News Interview

ARD Mediathek Interview

[Note: This is a German language interview, with Martin dubbed over in German. However, it does show a bit of his miniatures collection and home, so may be of interest even if you don't know the language.]

MTV Worldcon Interview

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Chicon 7 Pre-Reading Introduction

MTV Worldcon Interview: Versus

[Note: Recorded at this year's past Worldcon, the interviewer asks GRRM to comment on match-ups involving a number of his characters versus a number of Tolkien's characters. Of note are a couple of details which are of relevance to the series, such as Martin's stipulation that Jaime Lannister is one of the greatest swordsmen in the history of the Seven Kingdoms and his indicating yet again that the Ned Stark of the novels isn't really a great warrior, that his talents lie elsewhere. This fits past notes from Martin where he indicated Ned's strength lay as a commander, and his indicating Ned was a competent swordsman rather than a great one.]

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Chicon 7 Reading

My notes from GRRM's reading and Q&A from yesterday:

Before the reading he talked about all the things he has going on. There is a new Wild Card book in the works as well as an "Old Mars" anthology. The latter will contain stories about Mars with the canals and Martians and such. He also talked about the Lands of Ice and Fire book and the perils therein. He was initially told he wouldn't have to do any work on it but when the maps were blown up there was too much open space that needed to be filled. He also had to "head East" and create some terrain as well as cities. He indicated that it goes Far East but not to the Uttermost East. He imagined he would hear complaints about that.

Lastly he talked about The World of Ice and Fire that he has been working on with Elio and Linda. He's always wanted to explore the history of the world but it can't always come up in the narrative of the books, such as Littlefinger's interest of Aegon II's trade policy. This book can fix that and he has Elio and Linda who know more about Westeros as anyone. The Worldbook will be told by different maesters and will reflect their personality. Info that would be major spoilerish will be someone how blocked out. Something like a large ink stain covering up the events at Summerhall. With that, explaining that he doesn't want to read too many chapters from Winds, he had something else and we would be the first people to hear it. Or not...

The History of Aegon's Conquest

The history begins by explaining that there is controversy about the beginning of Aegon's reign. The years before are slated as BC= Before Conquest and the ones after are AC= After Conquest. However, there is a 2 year span from when Aegon landed in Westeros at the Blackwater and when he was crowned in Oldtown by the High Septon. Debate continues as to when the new calendar should begin.

In Valyria, there were two score rival houses that contested for power. House Targaryen, however, was not considered a powerful house. Daenerys the Dreamer, the daughter of the head of House Targaryen, foresaw the Doom and convinced her father to leave Valyria. Her father, Aenar, took his family to Dragonstone along with 5 dragons. In Valyria, this was seen as weakness. The Doom happened 12 years after Aenar left for Dragonstone.

Maegon, his brother Aerys, and Aerys' sons, Aelyx, Baelon, and Daemion

The Targaryens ruled Dragonstone for the next 100 years, which were called the Years of Blood.. 4 of the dragons died on Dragonstone leaving only Balerion. However two eggs hatched and Vhagar and Meraxes were born. "Gaimon" the Glorious ruled after Aenar and was followed by Maegon, his brother Aerys, and Aerys's sons Aelyx, Baelon, and Daemion. In 27 BC, Aegon the Conqueror was born to Lord Aerion Targaryen, the son of Daemion, and Lady Valaena of House Velaryonand . He later married both his sisters, Visenya and Rhaenys. This was considered unusual although there was precedent for it. The histories often said that Aegon had never stepped foot on Westeros before the Landing but there is evidence that he traveled to the south and may have even visited Lannisport.

Around that time there had been wars in the Riverlands and the Reach. The two most belligerent rulers were Black Harren, ruler of the Iron isles and Argilac the Arrogant. Harren was nearing completion of his vast castle and was said to be looking for more conquests. Argilac had grown afraid of Harren and so proposed an alliance with Aegon. It is believed he wanted to create a buffer zone between him and Harren. He offered the hand of his daughter in marriage as well as dowry lands. However, many of those lands were in fact in the possession of Harren the Black. Aegon refused and instead offered the hand of his best friend and bastard brother, Orys Baratheon. Argilac took this as a grave insult and had the hands of the envoy cut off. He sent them to Aegon with a message of "These are the only hands you will receive". Aegon called his banners and took counsel with them and his sisters. When they were done ravens flew to every ruler in the 7 Kingdoms. He informed them that "There will be only one king" and that those who bent the knee would keep their lands and titles. But those that did not he would destroy.

The size of the force that departed Dragonstone is belived to have been 3,000. Others believe it could have only a few hundred. They landed at the Blackwater, a place where a hundred kings of old had lain claim to. No kings ruled from there now, only a few petty lords lived nearby who were ruled by Harren and they loved him little. Aegon sent his sisters to nearby Rosby and Stokeworth and the castles surrendered without bloodshed. Darklyn of Duskendale and Mooton of Maidenpool did fight. Orys led the army while Aegon rode Balerion high in the sky. They won an easy victory.

Aegon's eldest sister was a warrior more comfortable in ringmail than in silk. She wielded a Valyrian steel sword called Dark Sister. She was described as having a harsh beauty and was reputed to have dabbled in sorcery. His younger sister Rhaenys was all that Visenya was not. Playful and curious, interested in music and poetry. However, she loved to ride her dragon Meraxes and spent twice as much time riding than her siblings. She surrounded herself with comely young men and there were whispers that she entertained men while Aegon was with Visenya. Yet Aegon spent ten nights with Rhaenys for every one with Visenya.

Aegon himself was seen as an enigma. He was a solitary person whose only friend was Orys. He was a great warrior who wielded a sword called Blackfyre but only rode his dragon for battle or travel and never entered tourneys, He remained faithful to his sisters and left governance in their hands and only took command when necessary . While he was harsh with those who defied him, he was generous to those that bent the knee.

After the Landing, a wooden motte and bailey was built on one of the hills overlooking the Blackwater. He named Daemon Velaryon Master of Ships, Tristan Massey Master of Laws, and a Celtigar as Master of Coin (Thank you Boiled Leather for remembering that for me!). Orys Barathon he called "My shield, my stalwart, my strong right hand" and Orys became the first Hand of the King. Visenya would crown Aegon and Rhaenys hailed him as king. The lords and knights cheered him but the small folk cheered the loudest.

In the Seven Kingdoms, the kings raised their banners and made alliances. Dorne would offer an alliance to the Targaryens but only as equals. Little King Ronnel Arrys also offered an alliance. Aegon did not reply to either. All waited to see where the Targaryens would march. Daemon Veraryon would lead the fleet north and were met in battle by the Arryns. He would die in battle. (This portion was like a fog of war, so much info that it was hard to write it all down. I know I missed some). Orys Baratheon would be battered in battle. Aegon and Balerion burned Harren's sons in their longships and they would all die. Rebellions began to spring up. The Sistermen rebelled, followed by then by Riverlords. Edmyn Tully of Riverrun led his forces to Aegon and other greater houses followed: Mallisters, Brackens, Blackwoods, Freys among others. They all marched to Harrenhall and it was besieged. The walls were enormous and it was to have an unlimited supply of water and vast stores of provisions.

Aegon arrived and proposed a parley with Harren. Maesters were present and recorded the conversation.

Aegon:" Yield now and I will name you Lord of the Iron Isles. I have 8,000 men here"

Harren: "What are 8,000 men? I have walls!"

Aegon: "I have dragons."

Harren: "Stone will not burn"

Aegon: "At nightfall, your line will end"

Harren offered a vast reward to the man who slew the dragon. Aegon climbed onto Balerion and flew high into the sky. He descended with great speed and landed behind the walls. Balerion unleashed his fire. Stone may not burn but wood, thatch, and MEN did. Stone did crack, though, and the great towers soon looked like candles. Harren and his line did indeed end. Swords, blackened and bent were sent by cartloads to the Landing.

While Harren's men had rebelled, Argilac's men stayed loyal. He would vow that he would not die in his castle like a suckling pig with an apple in his mouth, but in battle. He led his army out into the field. Visenya scouted from the sky and informed Orys of Argilac's movements. As the armies drew close, a great storm came upon them. His men advised him to wait but he had the advantage of two to one and the rain was blowing into the faces of the Targaryens. Argilac advanced and began the Battle of the Last Storm. Argilac's knights charged but were slowed by the mud. They finally broke though but faced Rhaenys on Meraxes. The dragon was just as deadly on the ground as in the air. In the confusion, Argilac was thrown from his horse and found himself face to face with Orys Baratheon. Both took a wound but soon Argilac would get his wish and would die in battle. His death would signify the end of the battle.

At Storm's End, Argilac's daughter Argella would declared herself Storm Queen and defiantly barred the gates. However, her men were not so eager to die and presented her to Orys chained and naked. Orys treated her gently. He removed the chains and gave her his cloak as well as food and wine. He would take the arms and seat words of House Durrandon for his own, and married Argella.

In the Vale, Queen Sharra Arryn plotted her next move, She was said to be beautiful and sent her portrait to Aegon with talks of marriage. Her only demand was that her son Ronnel would be named Aegon's heir. Aegon did not reply. King Torrhen Stark also called his banners.

King Meryn Gardener and King Lorren Lannister assembled a huge army of 55,000 and marched towards Aegon. The three dragons gathered at Stoney Sept. The allies had 5 times as many men as Aegon did, including many more lords and knights. Meryn Gardener commanded the most men so he demanded command of the vanguard. Jon Mooton of Maidenpool, the first lord to come over, was given command of the Targaryen army. The narrative comments more than once that the field was quite dry that day. The allies charged and started to break the Targaryen lines. The dragons took to the air and began to set the field aflame on all sides, especially downwind of the allies while Mooton was upwind. Of the allies, 4,000 died in the fire while 10,000 men suffered burns. Other thousands suffered wounds. Of the Targaryens less than 100 were lost while Visenya took an arrow to the shoulder. King Meryn of Highgarden and his sons died in the battle but King Lorren Lannister escaped. He was caught the next day and so bent the knee. Aegon kept his promise and raised Lorren up and named him Lord of Casterly Rock and Warden of the West. Aegon flew to Highgarden and the castle was surrended by Steward Harlen Tyrell. Aegon named him Lord of the Reach and Warden of the South. They began to journey to Oldtown when news came from the North.

Torrhen Stark had raised a large army (30,000) and had crossed the Neck. Aegon marched with an army half again that size. The Starks waited at Moat Cailin and took counsel. Torrhen's bastard brother, Brandon Snow, offered to sneak into the Targaryen camp and kill the three dragons. Instead, Torrhen sent three maesters to meet Aegon across the Trident. Torrhen would bend the knee and would be forever nown as "The King Who Knelt".

The siblings would split up with Visenya flying to the Vale. She would land in the Eyrie's inner courtyard. Queen Sharra would come out to find her son Ronnel with Visenya and he wouild ask her, "Mother, can I go fly with the lady?" Sharra would yield and Ronnel would get to fly with the lady twice.

Rhaneys would journey to Dorne but would find keep after keep empty except for women and children. When asked where the men went, the Dornish would just reply "away". She would finally journey to Sunspear and would only find the Princess of Dorne, Mirram Martell. She was 80, fat, blind, and almost bald. Argilac the Arrogant would call her the "Yellow Toad of Dorne". Mirram would tell Rhaenys that she would not fight nor kneel. She told her to leave and return at her peril. Rhaenys warned that if she left, she would return with fire and blood. Mirram answered with words of House Martell.

Aegon had gone to the greatest city in Westeros, Oldtown. There the High Septon resided. He prayed for seven days and was answered by the Crone. He was warned that if they fought, Oldtown would fall. The ruler of Oldtown, Banfred Hightower, was a cautious man. He listened to the high Septon and soon Oldtown yielded. In the Starry Sept, Aegon was anointed in oil and proclaimed Aegon, First of His Name, King of the First Men, the Andals, and the Rhoynar. Because the maesters were there at the coronation, this date is considered the correct date. Many thought that Aegon would choose Odltown as his capitol or perhaps Dragonstone. He surprised them by choosing his small fort as his new capitol, King's Landing. And from there he would rule from an uncomfortable seat called the Iron Throne.

GRRM stated that there will be different narratives in the Worldbook. He mentioned a dwarf jester of Viserys I named Mushroom who was around for some mayhem. There will also be a septon who will angrily refute many of Mushroom's wild claims. "Poison!? He didn't die of poison, he died in his sleep!"

In the Q&A he said he's not sure if he will expand the history of ASoIaF once the books are complete. He's not sure what he will want to do by then.

He said that LOVES to write about Arya's adventures in Braavos. He said he could write whole novels about. That received a huge applause until he joked that maybe he could put off Winds to do so.

He WILL collect the stories of Dunk and Egg into one book. I then asked if the story of Maekar's death (Egg's father) against an outlaw lord would be found in the Worldbook. He replied no, that will eventually make it into the Dunk and Egg stories. In the Worldbook the story of Maekar's death would be a SPOILER!!!

He doesn't think there is enough material to make a book with all the songs from the novels.

And no, LF will not ever be a POV.

Chicon 7 Interview

[Note: Maureen Ryan has a good summary and index here.]

Bubonicon Report

George RR Martin reading: George did indeed read from The World of Ice and Fire, a lengthy excerpt concerning Aegon's conquest of the Seven Kingdoms, with some character info on the Targaryen siblings and a little history of the line from its Valyrian exit to the Conquest. The best parts were some of the more detailed ones, such as the fall of Harrenhall, the Final Storm (the Targaryen conquest of the Storm Kings), and the Targaryen sibling character sketches (Aegon was nearly as mysterious to his era as he was to the Ice & Fire era, Rhaenys was his favorite sister-wife but she may have dabbled with other bed-mates, etc.) He also said that the conceit (at least in their minds, not sure that it will be a formal part of the book) being used is that Linda and Elio are writing from the perspective of one arch-maester and George is writing from the perspective of another, more opinionated one.

He read for nearly the entire hour so only took one question: will there be more Dunk & Egg stories? Yes, he said, in fact there is one being done for a short story collection and then these four will be collected into a single volume together (although do not expect that for several years).

I caught up with George briefly afterwards and asked him if he considers this to be like his Silmarillion. He laughed and said probably not, especially since Tolkien had many songs in The Silmarillion. I suggested maybe it was time he wrote some and he laughed again and said perhaps he should.


A couple more details from Day One now that I've slept a bit :)

--George mentioned the maps book in passing and said, despite repeated fan requests, there will never be a full world map...he used his often-cited reasoning that folks in the Middle Ages didn't have full world maps, or at least accurate ones, so why should the folks of Westeros?

--The Aegon's conquest section began with the Targaryens leaving Valyria and the reason why. It then followed the line, briefly and quickly, through the settlement of Dragonstone. It also covered Aegon's landing at Aegon's Fort/King's Landing and the various ways in which each of the Seven Kingdoms was, or was not, subdued. IIRC, the submissions of Harren the Black, Argelac the Arrogant (the last of the Storm Kings), the Lannisters, the Gardeners, the Arryns, the Martells, Oldtown, and the Starks were all given a bit of explanation, with more detail being spent on the battles for Harrenhall and Storm's End, as well as the unique way in which submission of the Arryns was achieved and the lack of conquest of Dorne. The Dorne passage included an awesome description of how the Dornishmen all faded away in front of the armies of Aegon's sister (forget which one), leaving only the 70-ish years old Princess of Dorne to openly defy the Targaryen and her dragon.

--He also mentioned which other sections he had done, but of course they've escaped me now...I think the original Dance with Dragons has a section, as well as some information on Aegon's peacetime policies and some history on the rule of his sons Aenys and Maegor the Cruel.

--The book will include some information on the Dawn Age and the Age of Heroes (presumably by Linda and Elio), but George pointed out that even in the age of the books these were long-distant times with little in the way of accurate information.

--George said that though this seemed like a somewhat easy task, basically collecting money while everyone else did most of the work, it hasn’t been quite like that. The information is background information that the people in the books know (just like we know about Thomas Jefferson without having to recap all that name means and implies) but that doesn’t directly come into the story or the characters’ discussions. In short, it exists and is fairly easily put forth, rather than being created from whole cloth. The problem is that he’s always been a big believer in show not tell and writing this sort of historical material in an appropriate voice requires mostly telling and very little showing.

--Francisco is correct re: the timing of the Dunk and Egg book. The new one will be in an anthology that won’t be out until later this year and that anthology holds the rights for a full year…then the D&E rights revert and the collection can be published.

Genre in Film and TV Panel: This was my favorite panel as it was basically GRRM, Melinda Snodgrass, and Michael Cassutt just shooting the breeze. They talked a bit about various shows and why they may have failed (Terra Nova, V, Life on Mars) and what kind of shows seem to be working now as genre fare (GOT for one). They were not confident that SyFy's recent announcement of a Blake's 7 remake will stick, mostly due to lack of confidence in that channel to do it right. They also enthusiastically brainstormed the idea of Beverly Hills 90210 with dinosaurs in it, so be prepared for that to hit the screen near you soon. Michael Cassutt was really cool and really funny, he had George in honest-to-goodness giggling fits on at least three occasions with his wisecracks. The dinosaur schtick also led George to tease us that despite dinos often being done wrong and used as ineffective window-dressing (Terra Nova, looking at you), fellow New Mexico writer Victor Milan's upcoming Dinosaur Lords trilogy from Tor does the "big, f-ing lizards" right. I've been hearing about this series off-and-on for a bit, so this added to my interest.

So, he confirmed Dangerous Women anthology for the publication later this year? Could you remember what's the name of the last Storm King?

On the anthology, I believe so... keeping in mind lots of events between Friday night and now. :) The last Storm King was Argilac the Arrogant, who was conquered by Orys Baratheon, King's Hand to Aegon. Orys joined his line with the Storm Kings' by taking Argilac's daughter as his wife.

That's the Princess of Dorne rather than a king's sister. Who is mocked as the Yellow Toad, but... she's pretty badass, let me tell you. ;)

... yes, she is a tough toad! In the excerpt, she basically sits alone in an empty throneroom and tells Aegon's sister (who rode in on a dragon, mind you) to get lost.

This is so cool! I actually find myself wanting this "World" book more than the next installment. Also, very interesting about Orys being the first Hand. Any other details that come to mind? What was the "unique" method of forcing Arryns to submit?

While I'm definitely pumped, I think I'd vote for Winds of Winter myself. :) George was right when he said this was a lot of telling, rather than showing. The best sections were when the telling gave way to a bit of showing (conquest of Harrenhall, etc.)...that's definitely his strength. What I'm really interested in is how the whole will come together; remember that George was really reading from a sidebar article and there will be a bunch more "stuff" in the book itself.

The Arryns (also at this time ruled by a young boy and his regent mother) sent a massive army to the Bloody Gate and then high-tailed it into the Eyrie. But Visenya Targaryen simply rode her dragon up into the courtyard of the Eyrie and the regent rushed outside to see the young king seated on the dragon and begging her for a ride. The Arryns surrendered and the king had his ride.

On Arakhs and Dawn

[Note: The following information comes from a post

by a representative of Valyrian Steel, licensed creators of replica weapons and armor based on A Song of Ice and Fire and HBO's Game of Thrones.

Actually... GRRM doesn't like HBO's arakhs. I thought, and HBO thought (I suppose), and many people thought, that because of the kh consonant group and the descriptions, he modeled arakhs after khopeshes, which is not an invented type of sword. HBO arakhs are basically khopeshes. It seemed to me personally these shape of sword would do well from horseback.I thought for sure I had it pegged down, all while reading I always pictured a khopesh.

I told as much to GRRM and he corrected me, in his book version, arakhs are more like scimitars, though what you may think of as a scimitar is far less than what he explained. Something more like this. A very significant curve.

If we have our way we'll do both versions.

As for Dawn, in the books it has a milky white blade. We do not know a way to mimic that without using paint, and GRRM doesn't like paint.