The Citadel

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

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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

Finally got my Archon schedule:

FRIDAY

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

SATURDAY

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

SUNDAY

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.]

http://www.sequentialtart.com/archive/nov01/martin.shtml

Philcon Plans and Phyllis Eisenstein

Hi George! This is Al, aka Trebla from Worldcon. I'd like to say that the Con was great and it was a real pleasure to meet you and Parris. You are both wonderful people.

I enjoyed meeting you folks as well, although sometimes I got the frightening feeling that you all know my books better than I do.

[....]

You did mention in Philly that you would be doing a reading in St. Louis. Do you know what day that would be?

Not as yet. Still waiting to get my schedule from the con. I might end up reading one of the same chapters I read in Philly, depending on how much an overlap there is in the audience. Or maybe not. I have just finished revising the two Cersei chapters I read at Philcon, by the way -- one of the good things about readings is that they allow me to see all the stuff I need to cut, change, or polish. At least one change I made is fairly substantive.

I will also be interviewing Robert Jordan in St. Louis, incidentally.

P.S. I met the Phyllis you dedicated A Storm of Swords to on my flight back to Chicago

That's Phyllis Eisenstein, a very dear friend and a fine fantasist in her own right, author of SORCERER'S SON, BORN TO EXILE, and some other terrific books. You should give them a try. Besides the dedication, there's a homage to Phyl in SOS if you're sharp enough to spot it...

Tidbits from the Con (Worldcon, Philadelphia, PA)

Well, I couldn't really get in any info about Dorne except to say that we will see more about in A Feast For Crows. But I was able to ask some other questions and did get some info.

Question 1: It is noted on occasion that members of the Kingsguard have led armies. Specifically, Prince Lewyn, Jon Darry, and Barristan Selmy in the War of the Usurper and Selmy again in the Balon Greyjoy rebellion. Is this a normal happening or a rarity?

Answer: It has happened quite a bit throughout history. The fact is, Kings are more likely to trust the Kingsguard and their loyalty than the High Lords who will be looking out for themselves.

Question 2: What made Balon Greyjoy believe that he could successfully rebel against Robert considering his limited strength.

Answer: Balon Greyjoy did not believe that many of the Lords would answer Robert's calling of the banners because he was still viewed as an Usurper.

Question 3: It had been stated that Howland Reed would come out in The Winds of Winter, which is the 5th book. Will he still come in the 5th book (A Dance with Dragon)?

Answer: He will appear eventually.

A Reading with GRRM (Worldcon, Philadelphia, PA)

GRRM also revealed that aFoC will hopefully span the next 5/6 years so that aDwD can begin where he expected it to do so all along.

He also heavily suggested that characters that will spend their time learning in the next 5/6 years will not feature very much in the next book. But all current POVs will appear. So one can assume that we wouldn't get more than one or two Arya/Bran chapters.

A Reading with GRRM (Worldcon, Philadelphia, PA)

This reporter believes the new PoV is that was not revealed is in fact Brienne. GRRM first reported that he struggled with the idea that there was a five year gap but that important events occured within that time period. So, he decided to scrap the five year gap and push A Dance with Dragons to be the fifth book. The Winds of Winter will be the sixth book. Parris is betting that the series will extend to a seventh book but Martin still wants to keep it to six.

But, I digress, the main reason he struggled with the gap was that important events could not be related via flashback BUT would have to be if there was a gap. In fact, he said that the unrevealed PoV was the main reason for this. This makes me believe that the new PoV is Brienne because she had taken Oathkeeper and was actively searching for Sansa. Also, I have repeated asked him for a Brienne PoV and when he announced that there was a PoV that he was not going to reveal - he looked my way.

A Reading with GRRM (Worldcon, Philadelphia, PA)

[This report and the two following it contain SPOILERS concerning the next book. While these are relatively benign, skip over them if you're extremely squeamish about spoilers.]

The 4th Book will be A Feast For Crows, and will cover what would have been the five year gap. Some POV's -- who George said will be "learning" during the five year gap -- will have only one or two chapters.

The first of the new POV's is -- Cersei! A great chapter where she is awoken and informed of Tywin's death. It's obvious from her POV that Tyrion terrifies her -- and that's even before she learns of Tywin's death. She asks Jaime to take over as Hand, and he refuses. It's pretty clear that their relationship has changed in his eyes. Cersei decides to name Kevan Hand, thinking he'll be easy to control. Others will have more detail, but that's the essence of it.

The second Chapter he read was Tyrion's. It covers Tyrion's sea trip to Pentos, where he ends up at Illyrio's compound. Good stuff, but the end of that chapter was where a bunch of stuff came together. Without going into the detail, it amounts to Illyrio offering Tyrion Casterly Rock if he will throw in with Danys. And of course, we didn't get to hear Tyrion's response.

The identity of the other new POV is something he's keeping a secret for now, but he did say its a character with a story to tell that really can't wait. My money is on the Hound.

Dinner with GRRM (Worldcon, Philadelphia, PA)

I just came back from Philly, and since Interstate 95 has congestion even at 11pm I had time to do some digesting of the dinner (forgive the pun). I was 20 minutes early, but was already happy that I was that much on time, considering my 1.5 hour drive. TrackerNeil came in 10 minutes after that, followed by GRRM and Parris. Five minutes later, the floodgates opened and many a board familiar showed their face. I was lucky enough to share a table with GRRM (there were three, sadly enough for some) -- but since I will not be able to make it to the suite party tomorrow night, I cannot feel guilty.

My table included Sam, TrackerNeil, Padraig, Andromeda, GRRM, Telisiane, Trebla and David. Then there was one table with Lannister (whose butt seemed undamaged as far as I could tell), Leader Lodengarl, Lilith, GreenGerg. The third table had Jeff and his mother, babyRaven. I forgot quite a number of people, for that my apologies. The BwB poster did the rounds, beautifully done, with my name gracing (amongst many many others) the bottom -- I felt genuinely surprised by that.

At some point a picture from GRRM's highschool days circulated as well. I have to say, the only reason I spotted him, were the glasses.

Which brings us to the man himself. I had heard his voice before during a radio interview, and he has one of those pleasant distinct voices that carries well without being loud. Since I am not attending the Con itself (something of which I now say "stupid, Stupid, STUPID") I will not hear him read from the new work. Even if it was old work, I am sure I would enjoy it immensely.

He is charming, interesting and interested. He made us all tell what we do in real life. I will leave to you to guess who runs the adult section of a video store. I was a little hesitant to actually bring up the books, but Trebla had no such inhibitions. Nothing revealing, people, I am sorry. Maybe some of the other Conners will con something out of him; apart from the reading that is.

Parris was always a bit of a blank sheet in my mind, but meeting her I was sorry that I didn't have time to talk to her as well. I guess I should skip Disney World and come to xxxCon (wherever the next WorldCon is) instead, eh Parris?

The bottom line for me is that I enjoyed it immensely, and that I am actually a little upset I cannot make it to the suite party tomorrow. It would have been great to debate Jeff Semper Veritas, or find out where Lilith found that sari (saree?), or try to keep up with the sheer amount of witticisms flying across the room. Obscure Cultural References abounded.

Before Dinner with GRRM (Worldcon, Philadelphia, PA)

I was delayed a bit with some last minute items, but after a two hour drive arrived at Philcon, registered and got to the BWB session about 30 minutes late to find GRRM and Parris answering questions of various sorts for a group of about 20. No new info, except that George mentioned that he had rejected the proposed audio book since they abridged it to 9 hours, and would not go beyond 10. He felt it was missiog too much and that 20 hours would likely be needed. Understandably given the nature of the book. He did mention that the first couple of books were recorded in audio form by audio books for the blind.

Philcon

Just got some more exciting news about Philcon.

It seems that John Howe has finished his cover painting for the Meisha Merlin limited edition of A CLASH OF KINGS. The painting is on its way from Switzerland to Meisha Merlin's art director even as I type. If everything goes according to plan, we will have it in time for the worldcon in Philadelphia. It is too late to get the piece into the art show, unfortunately, but Ice and Fire fans will be able to check it out at the Meisha Merlin table in the huckster's room.

The painting is a landscape / seascape of the great Greyjoy castle of Pyke perched upon its rocks and stacks. I have seen some of John Howe's rough sketches, and the finished painting ought to be magnificent.

Another reason for all my readers to come to Philadelphia...

Sandkings on Fictionwise.com

Steve Pendergrast of Fictionwise.com writes me to say:

You also might be interested to know that your story "Sandkings" has become the number one all-time highest rated ebook at Fictionwise.com. That's no small achievement since we have five other hugo/nebula double winners as well as some famous stories by asimov, niven, le guin, silverberg, ellison, and others.

See, I did write a few things before A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE.

Publication News

I wanted to bring you all up to date on some on some of the latest publication plans for A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE.

Bantam Spectra has just informed me of their plans to issue the first three volumes (and presumably the later ones as well) as trade paperbacks. This will be the first time that the books have been available in this format in the American market. All three volumes will be released simultaneously in trade paperback in June, 2002. This will also be the first American edition of A STORM OF SWORDS.

The mass market paperback of A STORM OF SWORDS will be postponed until some time in 2003. The exact pub date has not yet been set.

For those of you unfamiliar with publishing jargon, a "trade paperback" is the same size as a hardcover, but with soft covers, while a "mass market paperback" is the smaller paperback you see at grocery stores and on spinner racks.)

In addition, Bantam will also be releasing a new hardcover edition of A GAME OF THRONES, something that many readers have been requesting, since the first edition hardcover has become so expensive and hard to find. This new second edition will feature a cover design incorporating the Steve Youll art from the paperback, which will bring it into line with the current hardcover look of A CLASH OF KINGS and A STORM OF SWORDS. The new hardcover edition has also been scheduled for June, 2002.

The series is also doing quite well overseas, and I have been signing a lot of contracts for foreign editions. Italy and Israel will both be continuing with the series, I am pleased to say, and Japanese, Portugese, Chinese (Taiwan), and Korean editions of A GAME OF THRONES are now in the works. This will be the first time that any of my work has been translated into Portugese, Chinese, or Korean, to the best of my knowledge.

On the personal front, I had a wonderful three weeks in Spain, where I visited some old friends and made some new ones, drank too much sangria and ate too many tapas, saw some fantastic museums, Roman ruins, and castles, and enjoyed some wonderful Spanish and Catalan hospitality. And in about a week I will be heading east, for a visit to New York City and my family in Bayonne, followed by the World SF Convention in Philadelphia. I hope I will see many of you there.

Oh... yes, I'm still working on that pesky fourth book as well. I hope to read a few chapters from it at Philcon.

Yet More Questions

Being both a fascinated medieval scholar and a long time fantasy reader, I proved an easy victim for your captivating talents. Here at last is what I've been waiting for so long - the fantasy novels that are in fact a history of an alive and true, though imaginary, world. Actually, the first real example of this sort since the great Tolkien. That's how the fantasy must be written nowadays! That's, in fact, what it was always really meant to be.

Thanks for the kind words. Yes, I set out to give A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE as much of the flavor of a good historical novel as of traditional fantasy. I am glad you feel I've succeeded.

Well, I have some questions for you, Mr. Martin, concerning the details of your world. Please forgive me if I put down too lengthy an account for them, taking too much of your precious time to read it, but I thought it would be better to present them in a single list.

So many questions, and so detailed, is a little daunting... which is part of the reason that it took me close to a year to get around to this reply. In future, fewer questions might get you a quicker answer.

Question 1: Philological. The names of the Targaryen dynasty have a rather peculiar sounding to them comparing to the other Westeros names. Are these names of Valyrian origin? If so, do they have some specific meaning? Do the "ae" sounds simply occur frequently in Valyrian language, or do these syllables mean something? Also, does the "rys" syllable mean something (as in Viserys, Daenerys)? It reminds me somewhat of the Celtic "rig" (Latinized "rix"), meaning "king".

Tolkien was a philologist, and an Oxford don, and could spend decades laboriously inventing Elvish in all its detail. I, alas, am only a hardworking SF and fantasy novel, and I don't have his gift for languages. That is to say, I have not actually created a Valyrian language. The best I could do was try to sketch in each of the chief tongues of my imaginary world in broad strokes, and give them each their characteristic sounds and spellings.

Question 2: Military. What is a typical Westeros knightly armour like? Is it actually a true full plate, resembling European suits of second half 15th - 16th centuries, or a composite suit of plate and mail, like European suits of the previous period (at the time of Agincourt, for example)?

Westerosi armor does not correspond one to one with any single period in European history, but I suppose it is closest to the armor of the Hundred Years War. Not only Agincourt, but also Crecy and Poitiers before that. Of course, there were important changes in armor between each of those battles, but there were also holdovers, individuals who had used or older armor, styled from the earlier period. I took that trend considerably further in Westeros, and felt free to mix armor styles from several different periods. You will also note that Westerosi armor tends to "later" styles as you go south. Plate is more common in the Reach say, while mail is more the rule in the North, and beyond the Wall the wildlings have very crude primitive stuff.

It seems that in Westeros knights still use their shields actively, but in Europe the true full plate was rarely combined with a classical hand-held shield.

That's true. Again, I was looking for to Crecy and Poitiers... and to the Crusades, even earlier. I wanted shields for aesthetic reasons. Shields are cool, as are heraldic surcoats. Alwhite plate, the traditional "knight in shining armor" look so beloved of film directors, strikes me as visually boring, except in the highly elaborate Milanese style, which is gorgeous to look at in a picture but pure hell to try and describe in words.

Also, is the helmet more like an armet of the 16th century (that is, a true close-helm with a closely fitting round visor and close protection of the chin), or like an end-of-the-14th- -century pointed-visored basinet?

I have mixed and matched helms from different periods, though I don't believe I have mentioned any armets. The "halfhelms" I mention are classic Norman helms from the Hastings era, conical helmets with open faces and a nasal bar. I also have knights in greathelms, both visored and closed, and a few that could be described as basinets, though I don't believe I use that term. To the mix I have also added a few pure fantasy constructs -- the elaborately shaped "beast" helms worn by Jaime Lannister, Sandor Clegane, and a few other champions of note, wrought in the shape of maned lions, snarling dogs, or what have you.

Question 3: Cultural. Are the Westeros the only place with the developed knightly culture? Is it their own invention, or was it imported from somewhere else (from Valyria, perhaps)? Are their any countries that share a common (or at least relative or similar) culture with Westeros?

There's some overlap with the Free Cities across the narrow sea, but no, it is not a common culture. The knightly tradition probably derives from the Andals, but while there is still a place called Andalland on the maps, repeated waves of invasion and conquest has left little of the original culture.

What about the Braavosi? They leave the impression of being culturally related to Westeros (like medieval Italy to France, for example), or is it just my illusion?

Braavos is the odd duck among the Nine Free Cities, but still more Valyrian than Andal in its origins. You'll learn more of its history next book.

Question 4 and last: Administrative. Just how strict and direct was actually the power of the Targaryen kings of old?

Strict? Varied with the king. Direct? The king always had the power to intervene, but after Jaehaerys the Targaryens tended to rule through their lords.

The territory of Westeros is huge, and the fact of survival of the local royal houses (like the Starks) suggests a relatively loose connection (more loose than that of a 14th century France, for example, where the Dukes - as independent and selfish as they were - were all in fact blood relatives of the Crown). The position of a Targaryen king reminds me somewhat of that of a Holy Roman Emperor - a monarch of course, but ruling over the more or less cohesive federation of territories with their own local ruling dynasties. It doesn't mean that such a monarch has no power - it means that his power is much more dependent on the strength of his personality than that, say, of a king of France.

There's a certain amount of truth to this, yes. Although the early Targayens also had the advantage of dragons, which the Holy Roman Emperor lacked.

Thank you very much for your time spent reading this, and excuse me again if I took too much of it. I would of course be greatly honoured if you would choose to answer some or all of my questions, but as I understand the probable scarcity of your time, I wouldn't strongly mind the contrary. Thank you also for your great books, and good luck to you and all your characters!

You're most welcome. Thanks for all the time and thought you have obviously lavished on the books. Do keep reading.