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The Factual History of A Song of Ice and Fire: including complete bibliography


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LATEST UPDATE: General update on everything.

I have noticed that a few newcomers we get around here don't seem to realise the increasingly large amount of ancillary material about the series that is available, so putting up a list of all the materials related to ASoIaF seemed like a good move.

If you are here and haven't read these books, something has gone wrong somewhere. Rectify your mistake immediately!

A Game of Thrones (1996)
A Clash of Kings (1998)
A Storm of Swords (2000 - published in some territories as two volumes in paperback)
A Feast for Crows (2005)
A Dance with Dragons (2011 - published in some territories as two volumes in paperback)
The Winds of Winter (forthcoming)
A Dream of Spring (forthcoming)

Note that the novels have been converted into illustrated limited editions, the first two by Meisha Merlin and the latter books by Subterrenean Press. Subterrenean Press is also planning new versions of the first two books. A graphic novel adaptation of A Clash of Kings is currently underway, with the adaptation being published as both monthly installments and as multiple graphic novels (A Game of Thrones is already complete and available).

The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword, The Mystery Knight and the forthcoming She-Wolves and Village Hero are short novellas (roughly 100 pages each) which form an ongoing serial - The Tales of Dunk & Egg - which begin 89 years before A Game of Thrones and is expected (but not confirmed) to run through to about 39 years before AGoT. They chronicle the adventures of the hedge knight, Ser Duncan the Tall ('Dunk') and his young squire, 'Egg'. George RR Martin has said that there could be as many as nine to twelve of these stories.

The Princess and the Queen is a historical novella set during the Dance of Dragons and The Rogue Prince expands on some of the events leading up to the Dance. The Sons of the Dragon is a historical novella set about 270 years before the events of A Game of Thrones. All three novellas are excerpts from the book Fire and Blood (2018).

The Hedge Knight (1998)
The Sworn Sword (2003)
The Mystery Knight (2010)
The Princess and the Queen (2013)

The Rogue Prince (2014)

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms (2014, an omnibus collecting The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword and The Mystery Knight in one volume)

The Sons of the Dragon (2017)
The She-Wolves of Winterfell (forthcoming)

The Village Hero (forthcoming)

The Hedge Knight was first published in the Legends anthology edited by Robert Silverberg. This book has been re-issued in the UK and is generally available on Amazon and eBay. MAKE SURE YOU BUY THE BOOK WITH 11 STORIES, NOT THE EDITION WITH 4 STORIES. There is a wonderfully-illustrated graphic novel version by Dabel Brothers which is available now and has recently been reissued in hardcover. Additionally, the prose version of The Hedge Knight is back in print in GRRM: A RRetrospective by Subterranean Press and its mass-market edition, entitled Dreamsongs: A RRetrospective, which is published in the UK by Gollancz. The US edition by Bantam is split into two volumes: The Hedge Knight is in the second one.

It should be pointed out that Legends, although not a large volume, was split into three volumes when published in paperback in the United States. The Hedge Knight is found inside the US volume entitled 'Volume II' with a green cover. It was split into two volumes when published in paperback in the United Kingdom. The Hedge Knight is found inside the UK volume with the blue spine and the Terry Pratchett cover (it seems to have no number or subtitle). If ordering a copy, ensure that you are ordering the right one!

The Sworn Sword was first published in the Legends II anthology, also by Robert Silverberg. A graphic novel adaption by the same team as the first is available.

Legends II was also split into three volumes for US paperback publication. The Sworn Sword is found inside the volume entitled Legends II: Dragon, Sword and King. However, the UK paperback edition was published in one volume.

The third 'Dunk & Egg' story, The Mystery Knight was published in an anthology called Warriors, edited by Gardner Dozois and GRRM in March 2010. Warriors has been issued in paperback in three volumes; The Mystery Knight is in the first volume, Warriors 1.

The fourth Dunk & Egg short story is tentatively titled The She-Wolves or She-Wolves of Winterfell (although this title will change). GRRM has started this story but not finished it, and has now put it on hold until after The Winds of Winter is completed. The fifth Dunk & Egg story has the working title The Village Hero and will be set in the Riverlands.

The Princess and the Queen is a novella set during the start of the Dance of Dragons, a devastating civil war which took place approximately 170 years before the events of A Game of Thrones. It was published as part of the Dangerous Women anthology in December 2013. This is an abridged version of the full story, which is now available in Fire and Blood.

The Rogue Prince is a novella set during the reign of King Viserys I Targaryen, focusing on his brother, the roguish Prince Daemon. It will be published as part of the Rogues anthology in June 2014. This is also an abridged version of the full story, which appears in Fire and Blood.

The Sons of the Dragon is a novella set during the reign of King Aenys I Targaryen and focuses on the end of his reign and the relationship with his brother, Prince Maegor. It was originally published in October 2017 in The Book of Swords. This is also an abridged version of the full story, which appears in Fire and Blood.


The World of Ice and Fire (2014)
The companion book for the setting is co-written by GRRM and Elio 'Ran' Garcia and Linda Antonsson, whose credentials as masters of all things Westeros are well-founded: they are the admins of this very site and their mighty on-line concordance has served as a reference for GRRM himself when he wants to look up facts in a hurry. Discussion of the world book and what will go in it is ongoing at this location. The book was released in October 2014, along with a companion app.

Fire and Blood (2018)

Previously jokingly referred to as the 'GRRMarillion', this is a very detailed history of the Targaryen dynasty that goes far beyond even the history in The World of Ice and Fire. The full, unedited text of The Princess and the Queen (exceeding 80,000 words) covering the entire Dance is present, amongst other material including the full text of The Rogue Prince and The Sons of the Dragon. The book grew out of detailed notes GRRM wrote for The World of Ice and Fire, but grew out of control and eventually exceeded 300,000 words. Approximately 270,000 words of this material was published as Fire and Blood in November 2018, which takes the story up to the reign of King Aegon III Targaryen, the Dragonbane. A second volume will follow taking the story up to the reign of Robert Baratheon. However, because this volume would by necessity explore material that George is holding back for later novels and future Dunk & Egg stories, it cannot be published until the main series is complete.


The Lands of Ice and Fire (2012)
This collection of 12 large poster maps - designed by George R.R. Martin and realised by cartographer Jonathan Roberts - features the first canon maps of central and eastern Essos, including the Dothraki Sea, Red Waste, Qarth, Jhogos Nhai, Asshai, Jade Sea and Shadow Lands. Also included are maps of Westeros, the Free Cities, the lands beyond the Wall, Slaver's Bay, the Summer Islands and city maps of King's Landing and Braavos.


A Game of Thrones: The Roleplaying Game (2005)
This handsome book was created by Guardians of Order and distributed by White Wolf. It contains some fantastic artwork, a great concordance of information on the Seven Kingdoms (including new, GRRM-penned information not seen elsewhere) and a complete roleplaying game based on the D20 system. Sadly, Guardians of Order folded before any of the planned expansions could be written.

A Song of Ice and Fire: The Roleplaying Game (2009)
This new version of the RPG was created and published by Green Ronin and remains an ongoing system. They have released several expansions, including an adventure set in King's Landing and a more detailed account of the Night's Watch.


Game of Thrones is the television series based on the novels. It was produced by the HBO cable channel, with D.B. Weiss and David Benioff serving as showrunners and main writers, consisting of 73 episodes spread across eight seasons, airing between 2011 and 2019. George R.R. Martin wrote one script for each of the first four seasons of the show.

Though closely based on the books, the TV series does change some things for budgetary and cast availability reasons. Nothing that happens in the TV series is canon for the books and vice versa.

After the conclusion of the main series, HBO announced it was developing six spin-off pilot scripts. One of these, code-named Bloodmoon (although The Longest Night appears to have been the planned actual title) and set during the original war against the Others (White Walkers), was actually filmed in 2019. HBO decided not to proceed with this project.

Shortly afterwards in October 2019, HBO greenlit and ordered to series a new spin-off series entitled House of the Dragon. This series will depict the Dance of Dragons, the multi-sided civil war between the scions of House Targaryen (and their dragons) approximately 130 years before the events of Game of Thrones. According to Martin, the series will be closely based on his novellas The Rogue Prince and The Princess and the Queen, as well as the appropriate chapters from Fire and Blood.


The Art of Ice and Fire (2005)
The Art of Ice and Fire, Volume II (2011)

These books from Fantasy Flight collects a huge amount of art from various sources and websites, including the CCG, board game and more.


A Game of Thrones: The Boardgame (2003)
A Clash of Kings Expansion (2004)
A Storm of Swords Expansion (2006)

A Game of Thrones: The Boardgame Second Edition (2011)

A Dance with Dragons Expansion (2012)

A Feast for Crows Expansion (2013)

Mother of Dragons Expansion (2018)

The Game of Thrones boardgame is published by Fantasy Flight Games and is a tactical board game in the vein of Risk or Diplomacy, although more complex than either. Players take the role of the one of the Great Houses in Westeros and battle for control of the Iron Throne. The Clash of Kings expansion adds siege rules and House Martell to the mix, whilst the Storm of Swords expansion adds new rules and a new battlemap focusing on combat in the Riverlands.

The second edition from 2011 mixes in some of the expansion elements to the base game and streamlines some of the more complex elements. It has its own expansions, the third of which, Mother of Dragons, adds the continent of Essos and House Targaryen (as Daenerys Targaryen) to the game.

Battles of Westeros (2010)

Wardens of the West (2010)

Wardens of the North (2010)

Lords of the River (2011)

Tribes of the Vale (2011)

Brotherhood Without Banners (2011)

House Baratheon Army Expansion (2012)

Also by Fantasy Flight, this is a modular, scenario-based wargame based on battles in the ASoIaF setting and utilising a heavily-modified version of the excellent Command & Colours rules system (used in various games but most famously Memoir '44 and BattleLore). Several expansions have been released expanding the Stark and Lannister armies from the core box set and adding the Baratheon and Tully forces. Additional expansions focus on the Brotherhood Without Banners and the hill tribes of the Vale of Arryn. The game was cancelled in 2012 due to disappointing sales.


A Song of Ice & Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game (2018)

A new miniatures game from CMON Games, this game focuses on assembling and painting armies and then deploying them in battle on a large field (similar to Warhammer). The game has a huge number of miniatures available for it, including right down to individual vassal houses including the Cleganes, Umbers and Boltons. New expansions continue to be released as of 2020.


TV Tie-In Board Games

There is a very large series of board games which tie in with the TV series. These include Game of Thrones-flavoured versions of Risk (2015, in two editions, a Skirmish one focused on Westeros and the Full Edition including Essos as well), Monopoly (2015) and Cluedo (2016). There are also trivia games, puzzles and more.


The Game of Thrones collectible card game by Fantasy Flight is one of the most successful in the business and has been running strongly for many years. There are frankly too many sets and game packs to list here, so follow the link for more information.

There is also a version of the CCG based on the TV series, released for convenience as one boxed game (2012).


Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels may have a jokey companion CD of psychotic morris dancers, whilst Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time novels have an accompanying 'new world' music collection, but ASoIaF has its very own dedicated metal band: Winterfell! The band are on indefinite hiatus at the moment, but promise to return. So, if you've ever felt like listening to heavy rock music about the lone wolf surviving or the waves of the Narrow Sea, your tastes are catered for. Note that the band is purely unofficial and does not have the GRRM seal of approval.

Ramin Djawadi is the composer for the Game of Thrones TV series. The soundtracks for all eight seasons are available on CD or via iTunes now.


A Game of Thrones: Genesis (2011)
This is a strategy game, created by Cyanide Studios. In it, the player takes control of one of the Great Houses and wages war on many fronts (economical and political as well as raising armies) to gain the Iron Throne. The game was very heavily criticised on release for its production values, slow pace of play and poor interface, but has been praised for emphasising political intrigue, marriages and assassinations as well warfare.

Game of Thrones: The Roleplaying Game (2012)
The roleplaying game, also by Cyanide Studios, is a story-focused game set just before and during the events of A Game of Thrones. The game sees the player controlling two characters in different parts of Westeros as they follow separate storylines that slowly merge. Again, the game has been criticised for some dubious production values but has been much more strongly received overall than the strategy game. The intricate plot, complex characterisation of the two leads and several startling plot twists have all received high praise. There is also an expansion available for the game, Beyond the Wall, which takes place ten years earlier.

Game of Thrones: Ascent (2013)
A browser-based multiplayer game from Big Point Studios.

Game of Thrones: A Telltale Adventure Series (2014)

A point-and-click adventure game from Telltale Studios (the makers of The Walking Dead, Tales from Monkey Island and The Wolf Among Us, amongst others), to be released in five parts from late 2014. The game is based on the TV show's version of the story.

Fan-made, non-profit 'mods' for several games, including Neverwinter Nights 1 and 2, Crusader Kings 1, Minecraft and Mount & Blade are frequently discussed or proposed in the Objects of Ice and Fire thread of this board.

A mod is under construction for Medieval 2: Total War. Discussion is currently underway at this location. When complete, the mod will allow the player to take control of one of the main factions of Westeros and engage in a battle for control of the Seven Kingdoms. A mod is also available for Crusader Kings II.


George RR Martin has written more than just A Song of Ice and Fire in his 40+ year career. What follows is a listing of his other works.

Dying of the Light (1977)
Windhaven (1981, with Lisa Tuttle)
Fevre Dream (1982)
The Armageddon Rag (1983)
Tuf Voyaging (1987, actually a 'fixup' of several linked short stories)
Shadow Twin (2005, a novella cowritten with Gardner Dozois and Daniel Abraham over a period of many years)
The Ice Dragon (2006, reprinting of a 1979 story in a children's book edition)
Hunter's Run (2007, the expanded, novel-length version of Shadow Twin)

Short Story Collections
A Song for Lya (1976)
Songs of Stars and Shadows (1977)
Sandkings (1981)
Songs the Dead Men Sing (1983)
Nightflyers (1985)
Portraits of His Children (1987)
Quartet (2001)
Dreamsongs: A RRetrospective (2003, mass-market edition 2006)

Dreamsongs collects together many of the short stories and novellas from the earlier collections, as well as the pilot script for the unproduced 1991 TV series Doorways. The Hedge Knight is also included.

Wild Cards
George RR Martin is the editor of a shared world anthology series revolving around the adventures and antics of a group of superheroes. This series has extended to more than twenty anthologies and novels, many featuring GRRM's work and virtually all edited by him. There has also been a roleplaying game based upon them, with a new edition by Green Ronin on the way. New additions to the series, again edited by George, are ongoing. The series has also been optioned as a film series. Read more about Wild Cards here.

Wild Cards (1987)
Aces High (1987)
Jokers Wild (1987)
Aces Abroad (1988)
Down and Dirty (1988)
Ace in the Hole (1990)
Dead Man's Hand (1990)
One-Eyed Jacks (1991)
Jokertown Shuffle (1991)
Double Solitaire (1992) - a full-length novel by Melinda Snodgrass
Dealer's Choice (1992)
Turn of the Cards (1993) - a full-length novel by Victor Milan
Card Sharks (1993)
Marked Cards (1994)
Black Trump (1995)
Deuces Down (2002)
Death Draws Five (2005) - a full-length novel by John J. Miller
Inside Straight (2007)
Busted Flush (2008)
Suicide Kings (2009)
Fort Freak (2011)
Lowball (2014)
High Stakes (2016)

Mississippi Roll (2017)

Low Chicago (2018)

Texas Hold 'Em (2018)

Knaves Over Queens (2019)

The Low Call (2011) - graphic novel written by Daniel Abraham



GRRM has co-edited a series of short story anthologies with Gardner Dozois.

Songs of the Dying Earth (2009)

Warriors (2010)

Songs of Love and Death (2010)

Down These Strange Streets (2011)

Old Mars (2013)

Dangerous Women (2013)

Rogues (2014)

Old Venus (2014)


GRRM was writer, script editor and producer for various Hollywood TV and movie projects, most notably the 1980s iteration of The New Twilight Zone (7 episodes) and the Linda Hamilton/Ron Perlman series Beauty and the Beast (15 episodes). His short story Sandkings was also adapted as an episode of The Outer Limits in 1995.

Edited by Werthead
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Oh man, I that is freaking sweet about Winterfell. I had no idea there was a metal band based on the series! When I read that paragraph, I lmao, and my bro, who is sitting in my room playing Fallout 3, was like, whats so fun- oh damn it Andrew, you caused me to die, whats so funny? And I read him the paragraph, and we both started laughing, and he died again, haha. Anyways, I looked em up on iTunes, and you know they wanted 10 bucks for their album Winter is Coming? I mean, wtf, it only has 4 songs! So I bought the 3 that I could, cause one is an album only buy, and started listening. They are amazing! I am so sad to hear that the band has broken up, and I hope that they get it back going again, I love it so much. Reminds me so much of Iced Earth, it rules!
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This post and thread is an attempt to put together the 'factual' history (i.e. of the writing of the series) of A Song of Ice and Fire, something I know has been mooted a few times. I dare say this initial post will be much-edited as we get more info and refine things, but this is, as a rough overview, how things have gone down.

Long Ago
George RR Martin collected toy knights and castles as a child, upgrading to more professional models as he got older. Some of his earliest stories and attempts at fiction in a fantasy world resulted in names thatany ASoIaF fan will find familiar: Prince R'hllor of Raugg and his boisterous, swaggering companion, Argilac the Arrogant were the heroes of a story called Dark Gods of Kor-Yuban (never published). In a planned but never-written sequel, Argilac teams up with Barron, the Bloody Blade of the Dothrak Empire, to slay the winged demons who killed Barron's grandfather, Barristan the Bold.

Years later, GRRM reused some of these names in his fantasy series: R'hllor is, of course, the red god of Essos; Argilac the Arrogant was the last Storm King slain by Orys Baratheon during Aegon's Conquest; the Dothrak Empire obviously was recast as the Dothraki khalasars; and Barristan the Bold transformed into Ser Barristan Selmy of the Kingsguard. More on this can be found in GRRM's essay, 'The Heirs of Turtle Castle', in Dreamsongs.

Career Divergence
In 1983 George RR Martin was a successful author, thanks to the immense success of Fevre Dream, a horror novel about vampires on the Mississippi after the American Civil War. In that year he published The Armageddon Rag, his next novel, about a rock band called the Nazgul and fantastical events surrounding their attempt to reform for a new tour. Whilst very well reviewed and nominated for major awards, the novel bombed commercially and Martin felt that it had almost killed his literary career. He abandoned work on his novel-in-progress, Black and White and Red All Over (the extant material can be found in his collection Quartet) and ended up working in Hollywood, on The New Twilight Zone (1985-89; Martin worked on the first two seasons). In 1987 he moved to Beauty and the Beast, an urban fantasy series set in New York, and worked as a producer, scriptwriter and script editor. He worked on all three seasons of the show before it was cancelled in early 1990.

Whilst working in Hollywood, Martin kept his hand in with fiction, publishing Tuf Voyaging (a fix-up novel of previously-published short stories and novellas, with some new material) in 1986 and beginning the Wild Cards series of 'mosaic novels' (short stories by different authors held together by a tight continuity) in 1987. These works sold quite well, with Wild Cards going on to become a major success, restoring Martin's reputation in the literary SF world.

A Beheading
After Beauty and the Beast's cancellation Martin worked on some pilots and other projects which never made it to the screen. Feeling frustrated creatively in Hollywood (despite being well-paid), Martin returned home to Santa Fe to work on a new novel, Avalon, an epic SF book set in his 'Thousand Worlds' mileu. In 1991, whilst work on Avalon was proceeding satisfactorily, Martin was suddenly struck by the image of a man being beheaded whilst a young boy watched. He wrote the scene and found it expanding into a second chapter and then a third. He was initially unsure if this new work was a short story, a novella, a novel or possibly even more than that. He ended up writing over 100 manuscript pages before he received a telephone call from Hollywood: a pilot script he had been working on, Doorways, had been put into development by the studio.

Abandoning work on the new book, Martin decamped to Hollywood to work on the Doorways project for about two years. During this time he found himself thinking about the story, wondering what Tyrion Lannister's story was going to be whilst attending casting sessions and so on. After Doorway's pilot failed to impress the networks, he returned to Santa Fe in 1993 and resumed work on the book. For a time he considered writing a book set in a fictional world but with no fantastical elements. He reconsidered after a talk with his friend and colleague Phyllis Eisenstein, who urged him to 'put the dragons in' and make it a broad, sweeping fantasy epic. By this time he had decided that the series was going to be a trilogy called A Song of Ice and Fire, consisting of the novels A Game of Thrones, A Dance with Dragons and The Winds of Winter. His agent began shopping the project around and it sold to Bantam in the USA and, after a fierce bidding war, to HarperCollins in the UK for the impressive sum of £450,000 (over $600,000 at the time).

Expanding the Series and Splitting Books
By late 1995 or early 1996, A Game of Thrones had ballooned into a massive novel, more than 1,200 manuscript pages in length. Martin had planned to end the first book with an event called the 'Red Wedding' but he was barely halfway there. He extracted 1,088 manuscript pages, climaxing at a dramatically-satisfying point and delivered it to his publishers. He now believed that the series would be four books in length, with the second half of AGoT now dubbed A Clash of Kings. He resumed work on ACoK whilst AGoT was published in the UK and USA in August 1996 to a reasonably strong reception. In the UK HarperCollins Voyager previewed the book with a free 100-page extract of the novel, whilst in America the Daenerys chapters were condensed into a novella called Blood of the Dragon, which went on to win a Hugo Award in 1997.

Whilst work on A Clash of Kings proceeded, Martin was asked to submit a story to Robert Silverberg's Legends collection. He agreed, penning a story set much earlier in the history of Westeros called The Hedge Knight. By this time Martin realised that the story he was telling was much bigger than he first realised. Pausing briefly, he penned a rough outline which convinced him that A Clash of Kings was also going to be two books, and The Winds of Winter was going to be two as well. He also envisaged a 'five-year gap' between the two halves of the story to help the children and dragons age and grow up.

When Legends was published in early 1998, the introduction noted that A Song of Ice and Fire was now a six-book series consisting of A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Dance with Dragons, The Winds of Winter and A Time For Wolves. A Clash of Kings followed and was published in October 1998 in the UK and in the USA in February 1999. Once again, Martin had a lot more manuscript pages written, including a lot of Tyrion's story for the following story, and this gave him a head start on the third book. He completed A Storm of Swords in late April 2000. By this time, the sales of the series had reached the point where the publishers were prepared to 'rush' the book out: the UK edition hit the shelves just three months later in July, whilst the American edition followed in November, hitting the lower reaches of the New York Times bestseller list. The novel was nominated for the 2001 Hugo Award and came second, narrowly missing out to J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

The Five-Year Gap
Martin begun work on A Dance with Dragons in earnest towards the end of 2000. As planned, the story picked up five years after the events of A Storm of Swords. Initially, this approach worked well, with the younger characters now older and more realistically capable of handling their new storylines. However, as the writing wore on Martin found a growing reliance on flashbacks and exposition to explain why certain ongoing storylines had not progressed for half a decade. By the middle of 2001 this tendency appears to have overtaken the book, making the worth of the five-year-gap questionable. Finally, in September 2001 Martin announced that he had completely scrapped and deleted all of the material he had worked on in the preceding year and started again from scratch with a new book, A Feast for Crows.

Work on A Feast for Crows continued for the next three and a half years but was plagued by problems. Martin attempted a new prologue structure which touched base with many 'lesser' characters from Dorne and the Iron Islands rather than just being from one POV. This got far too long and was eventually broken up into a series of smaller chapters scattered through the books. Martin also found that whilst 'filling in the gap' worked well for some characters, such as Brienne, Cersei, Jaime, Sansa and Arya, it did not work out so well for others, such as Tyrion, Daenerys and Jon, who seemed to be ready to move into their next storylines (i.e. the ones planned for A Dance with Dragons) immediately. This introduced timeline problems as the storylines for the two sets of characters threatened to get out of synch with one another.

By May 2005, the novel was almost three years overdue. Martin had managed to release a sequel to The Hedge Knight, entitled The Sworn Sword, but the novel remained incomplete and had ballooned to over 1,600 manuscript pages in length. Martin had completed several character arcs, but many of the others only had small amounts of material written for them, or were incomplete. After discussing the situation with his friend and occasional writing partner Daniel Abraham, Martin decided to separate the characters by location, as this also corresponded with the characters whose storylines were complete and those who were not. Characters in the south of Westeros and a few others remained in A Feast for Crows, which comprised 1,100 manuscript pages, and the characters in the North and in Essos were moved into the next book, which now had almost 550 manuscript pages completed for it. Rather than split A Feast for Crows in two, Martin decided that the next book in the series would remain entitled A Dance with Dragons, suggesting that he hoped to combine the originally-planned events for that novel with the 'flipside' of events in A Feast for Crows. A Feast for Crows was delivered in May 2005 and published in the UK in October 2005, and a month later in the United States.

Upon A Feast for Crows' publication, the book hit the #1 spot on the New York Times bestseller list, shifting half a million copies in hardcover in its first year on sale and attracting many award nominations.

Dancing in the Dark
Martin's original plan - as outlined in the now-infamous 'Note' at the end of A Feast for Crows - was that the 550 manuscript pages he had held back for A Dance with Dragons would remain unchanged and an additional 500-600 manuscript pages would be required to bring the novel to completion. Using the writing speed he achieved at the end of A Feast for Crows (when he wrote 300 MS pages in about six months), he estimated it would take approximately one year to complete the novel.

However, this plan proved to be optimistic from the start. After delivering the book, Martin's publishers requested that, after the lengthy gap since ASoS, he take part in the most ambitious signing tour for the series seen yet, including numerous dates across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom stripped over a period of six months. Once he returned to work on A Dance with Dragons in early 2006 he appeared to reconsider his previous plans for the book, reporting on changes requiring the rewriting of much of the extant material he had left over from A Feast for Crows. The plans for A Dance with Dragons also grew more ambitious: the book was now going to expand substantially beyond the timeline of A Feast for Crows and hopefully further the stories of characters left on cliffhanger endings in that book. This also introduced fresh timeline complexities to the book that Martin found difficult to resolve.

Work proceeded slowly and frustratingly on the novel in this period, with Martin later admitting to periods of pressure and stress, both from outside sources and from his own growing perfectionism. Several times Martin reported being months away from completion, only for additional complexities to arise requiring extensive rewrites. In particular, the climax of the book proved extremely problematic with a number of important storylines and major characters set to converge in the city of Meereen. Martin's difficulties with this sequence of chapters (initially two chapters, later broken into four) became known as the 'Meereenese Knot' and appears to have stymied the book's completion for a long period of time. In addition, several bookstores and sellers (most notably Amazon) continuously gave out false and apparently invented release dates without Martin's permission, resulting in reader frustration when these imaginary dates were missed.

However, there was also good news: in early 2007 the television company HBO optioned the rights to the series. In late 2009 they produced a one-hour pilot based on the series, and over the second half of 2010 filmed a ten-episode full season based on A Game of Thrones, with Martin acting as a consultant and penning one episode. Martin also completed the third Dunk 'n' Egg story, The Mystery Knight, which was published in early 2010 in the Warriors anthology. Work on Dragons continued through this period.

In early 2010 Martin confirmed that A Dance with Dragons' structure was now more ambitious than originally planned: the first half of the book would run alongside A Feast for Crows and the second half would take place after and incorporate a number of additional POV characters from the previous novel as well. The book was substantially larger than first planned as well, eventually coming in at 1,511 MS pages, shorter than A Storm of Swords by only a hair's breadth.

Finally, in early March 2011 Martin and his publishers announced a final release date for A Dance with Dragons: Tuesday, 13 July 2011. Despite some scepticism from some quarters, the novel hit the planned release date. Propelled by the success of the Game of Thrones series on HBO, the book not only hit the #1 spot on the New York Times bestseller list, but stayed there for a week and later returned, whilst also spending many weeks in the #2 spot. Impressively, shortly after release A Dance with Dragons rapidly became the biggest-selling fiction novel of the year (although it was later overtaken by 50 Shades of Grey and its sequels). Critical reviews were positive, although there was some criticism of Martin's decision (revealed in an interview) to move some major climaxes out of the book and into the following novel.

Winter is Coming...
Following the publication of A Dance with Dragons, Martin embarked on a signing tour for the novel. During this tour he confirmed earlier reports that roughly 100-150 MS pages of material had been completed for the sixth book, The Winds of Winter, and that he would very definitely not be making any promises about its release date. Returning home after the tour, he prioritised finishing the fourth Dunk 'n' Egg story (which has the working title The She-Wolves or She-Wolves of Winterfell) and approving The World of Ice and Fire companion book for publication, both due in 2012. He also revealed that a compilation of all four Dunk 'n' Egg stories would follow in the not-too-distant future.

In 2012 and early 2013, Martin reported that work on The Winds of Winter had been slowed by him taking on more commitments than he had originally intended in the wake of A Dance with Dragons's completion. These projects - The Lands of Ice and Fire (a collection of maps), The World of Ice and Fire (a guidebook to the series) and a series of anthologies (Old Mars, Old Venus, Down These Strange Streets, Dangerous Women, Rogues) - were completed by early 2013, allowing Martin to concentrate on Winter. Martin also put several other projects, including The She-Wolves, on the back-burner so he could devote more time to the novel.

On the red carpet for the premiere of the third season of the Game of Thrones TV series in April 2013, Martin confirmed that he had completed about a quarter of the novel, which he expected to come in at around 1,500 manuscript pages once again (suggesting he had roughly 375 manuscript pages completed and edited, with an unknown number of pages in partials and drafts). Martin chose not to give detailed or specific page counts after that point, although he did refute a highly speculative story in January 2014 that he had 1,000 manuscript pages completed.

Castmembers from Game of Thrones gave off-the-cuff reports in late 2013 and early 2014 that Martin had half or more of the book completed, but this information appears to be speculative and has not been confirmed.

After The Winds of Winter, a further novel is projected to bring the series to a close: A Dream of Spring (formerly entitled A Time for Wolves). Martin has not ruled out expanding the series to eight books, but has said he'd prefer to keep it to seven.

In March 2014, HBO announced that Game of Thrones would end with its seventh season (expected in 2017) and that they would be using storyline and character outlines provided by Martin. Martin confirmed that he hopes to have The Winds of Winter out long before then, with reports from his UK editor suggesting that they hope to publish it in late 2015, but this news raises the possibility of HBO overtaking Martin and completing the story before the final novel is published.

Edited by Werthead
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I think Martin did say he wanted to change it as it was vaguely spoilery. I took that to mean that there could be a Stark resurgence in the last book - the 'Time for Wolves' - hinting at possibly the Starks returning to power, one of them (Rickon or Bran or Jon) being restored as Lord of Winterfell etc.

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Since you mentioned previous occurrences, maybe you need to add in a bit of the info below. I know we are aware of it, but it will be new information for others.

A Feast for Crows debuted at #1 on NYT bestseller list

Dunk and Egg novellas continued:

The Sworn Sword in Legends II anthology (2003)

The Mystery Knight in Warriors anthology (2010)

later excerpted novellas: (are they worth mentioning?)

Path of the Dragon (some Dany chapters from ASoS)

Arms of the Kraken (some Iron Islands chapters from AFfC)

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Excellent summary, thanks a lot for taking the time to put this together. Lots of interesting tidbits in there that are probably new to most people, even to the more avid readers.

I noticed one small error, though, and I only point it out to be helpful, not to nitpick.

In 1991, whilst work on Avalon was proceeding satisfactorily, Martin was suddenly struck by the image of a man being beheaded whilst a young boy watched.

In several interviews and podcasts, Mr. Martin has related the story that the series was inspired by a scene in which children come across the body of a wolf in the snow, with a broken antler tine in its throat.

Well, actually, I started back in 1991 during a lull while I was still working in Hollywood and I was working on another book, a science fiction book I had always wanted to write. So I was working on that book when suddenly the first chapter of A Games of Thrones, not the prologue but the first chapter, came to me. The scene of the dire wolves in the summer snow. I didn't know where it came from or where it needed to go, but from there the book seemed to write itself. From there I knew what the second step was and the third and so one. Eventually, I stopped to draw some maps and work out some background material.

That's from The SF Site: A Conversation with George R. R. Martin, though I've certainly heard him tell the story that way in other interviews as well.

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In the 1996 Omni magazine interview, George states:

But then one day the opening chapter of A GAME OF THRONES came to me, so vividly I =had= to write it. Not the prologue, mind you, but the first chapters proper, where Bran sees the man beheaded and finds the direwolves in the snow.

That's a bit closer to the writing date than the SF Site interview. I think it sounds like George saw both of these key images: Bran watching the execution, and the discovery of the pups, and was compelled to write the chapter that contained them both.

Edited by Ran
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That's a bit closer to the writing date than the SF Site interview. I think it sounds like George saw both of these key images: Bran watching the execution, and the discovery of the pups, and was compelled to write the chapter that contained them both.

Doubtless you're correct, and either way, the chapter from which the series was conceived is more important as a whole than any one specific scene.

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Thanks so much. This was a very interesting read. I remember reading that JK Rowling had some real trouble finishing Goblet of Fire (she has stated that at one point she thought she couldn't do it), but that it kind of all came together in the last couple of books. I think the middle books in these epic series must be the most difficult to write because the author has built this immense story and has to start bringing it all together. I really hope that George has an easier time with his last books.

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  • 1 month later...

I think GRRM has said that Avalon doesn't really have his favour any more. After taking the time off to do the Doorways project he came back to find A Song of Ice and Fire really working well and sparking ideas whilst Avalon had gone cold. It'd be interesting to see the material he'd completed for it. The same thing happened after The Armageddon Rag bombed, which discouraged him from completing Black and White and Red All Over (title probably incorrect) but he did publish the completed material in a later short story collection.

Was ADWD going to be split like ASOS?

Not sure what you mean here. ASoS wasn't split, aside from the UK paperback and a few other foreign editions.

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Was ADWD going to be split like ASOS?

That is probably going to depend on your publisher in Croatia. The US and UK hardcovers will be single volume editions.

If it is the same publisher and they split ASoS, I would think it is likely they AdwD. It will be an equal sized or a marginally longer book.

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