George R.R. Martin, author of A Song of Ice and Fire, recently spoke about his series and HBO’s television adaptation, Game of Thrones, at ConQuest 44. More specifically, Martin revealed details about his contribution to the upcoming companion book, The World of Ice and Fire, which was recently delayed by a year, now set for a Fall 2014 release.
Martin revealed that he was required to provide 50,000 words for the companion book, but, in the end, wrote nearly 250,000 words, which is nearly equivalent in length to A Game of Thrones. The average fantasy novel clocks in at around 120,000 – 150,000 words. So, it’s a lot. You can claim many things about Martin, but, with word counts like that, it’s difficult to take many of the various tired criticisms, such as the idea that Martin spends too much time enjoying life (Football games, conventions, editing anthologies, not being a hermit) and not enough time writing, are phooey. He writes a lot of words. They just aren’t the words that a lot of his fans and followers necessarily want him to write. At the end of the day, 250,000 extra words of A Song of Ice and Fire lore is great news, I’d say. Tower of the Hand describes the book, based on Martin’s comments:
The premise of the “World” book is that it is a copy of a tome presented to Robert just after the Rebellion. The “article” he read was written by a Maester Glyndon. Glyndon distilled his work from three other accounts of the conquest: one from a septon, one from a Grand Maester, and one from “The Tales of Mushroom” a court fool. George actually wrote all three of these pieces as well.
The extra words, a large novel’s worth, will be saved for “a project they are now calling the ‘GRRM – arillion.'” No real word on what this means, but presumably it would be a similar companion book released after the series is finished.
In addition, Martin also discussed ‘The Princess and the Queen,’ his contribution to an anthology called Dangerous Women, edited by Martin and Gardner Dozois and published in December 2013. ‘The Princess and the Queen’ is speculated to be the story of Rhaenyra Targaryen and the first Dance of Dragons, many years before A Song of Ice and Fire proper takes place. Like The World of Ice and Fire, Martin wrote significantly more for this story than he expected, submitting 80,000 words (to himself?), and editing it down to about 30,000 words in its final form. Further, he said that he hopes to write five or six more novellas about Dunk and Egg, one of which includes The She-Wolves, which places Dunk and Egg at Winterfell, with some likely crossover with some events that occur in A Dance with Dragons, so fans of the series, like me, have much to look forward to.