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Ten Thousand Ships

For all you fans of fake history, we've got another taste of THE WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE up on line, to help whet your appetite for the main course.

"Ten Thousand Ships" is a brief excerpt from the history of the Rhoynar, the final fatal war between the proud princes of the river and the dragonlords of old Valyria.  You can find it on the Westeros site at


courtesy of my collaborators and archivists, Elio and Linda.


(The full version, in the worldbook, will carry the tale of Princess Nymeria's odyssey considerably further, but you'll need to wait till October for that one).


May. 20th, 2014 08:34 am (UTC)
Having you use the mood "Busy" makes me happy... and hopeful.

Can't wait for the release of these histories and graphic arts.
Owain Davies
May. 20th, 2014 09:13 am (UTC)
I nearly got fired in work reading this, dedication at its finest!
May. 20th, 2014 09:17 am (UTC)
That's really...
...great work. It's a pity that you can't go in the local libraries and read detailed accounts on the various Spice- and Turtle-Wars...

And three hundred dragons?! And if those were not all the dragons the Freehold possessed, Aenar Targaryen was most certainly not the biggest dragon in the air, since he had only five when he left for Valyria.

Any chance you will read from either 'The World of Ice and Fire' or 'Fire and Blood' in London or Dublin this year?
James Young
May. 20th, 2014 12:42 pm (UTC)
In regards to the book, how much have you wrote yourself personally or is all of it your own writing and Elio and Linda just editing it all?

Really looking forward to this!!
May. 20th, 2014 03:15 pm (UTC)
Re: Authors?
Elio and Linda went through all the published novels, the Dunk & Egg stories, etc, pulled out the historical references, legends, and such, organized all of that into a chronology, and wrote a first draft. Then I stepped in, revising their draft, filling the holes, answering questions, resolving contradictions, and adding new material where little or none existed in the published books. Of course, as with the novels, "the tale(s) grew in the telling," and I ended up adding a LOT... so much that in the end we had to rip out more than two hundred thousand words of it (which will eventually appear in the GRRMarillion). In the cases where I wrote way, way, way too much, Elio and Linda then went back in and produced a severely abridged version.

For instance, the full account of the Dance of the Dragons ran to 80,000 words, a novel all by itself. Gardner Dozois trimmed that to 30,000 words for DANGEROUS WOMEN, producing "The Princess and the Queen." Elio and Linda produced an entirely DIFFERENT abridgement (even shorter, I believe) for THE WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE, working from the same text. For the full version, you will need to wait...
May. 20th, 2014 07:47 pm (UTC)
Re: Authors?
According to Elio, the account on the Conquest will George's words entirely, since that's the apparently shortest section of that 200,000 words monsters that's the history of Archmaester Gyldayn - which, according to Elio, covers the reign of all the Targaryen kings up to Aegon V.

The section on the Dance will be indeed be a shorter version than 'The Princess and the Queen', but will focus more on the stuff that was only briefly touched upon/omitted in TPatQ. So we should get information on the other battles in the Riverlands and the West, stuff involving the Ironborn (Dalton Greyjoy was briefly mentioned at the beginning of TPatQ), hopefully also about Arryk and Erryk, Grand Maester Gerardys, and, most importantly, a summary of the events leading to rise of Aegon III.

If I'm not mistaken, then the events depicted in detail in TPatQ - say, for instance the Small Council meeting and the events leading to the coronations of Aegon II and Rhaenyra, respectively, will only be briefly summarized, since that's fully covered in TPatQ.

I must say, I'm really interested in this stuff, and I'm really glad that 'you got carried away' imagining this whole thing in detail. It does not seem to be important for the overall story, but infighting between siblings is always interesting, and I always thought that Rhaenyra's name and story should come up in later books when Dany's claim to the Iron Throne is discussed, but to learn about these things from an in-universe scholar, is much more than I ever hoped for. We really tried to imagine this war in detail for years, and it's really illuminating to learn what 'really happened', even it's in bits and pieces, and filtered through history.

By the way: Any chance that Maester Yandel, the in-universe author of 'The World of Ice and Fire', will show up in the main series in a future chapter set in Oldtown? That could be interesting...

And: Can you shed some light on which topic/historical period in your own world intrigued/interested you most while writing on it?
May. 20th, 2014 08:55 pm (UTC)
Re: Authors?
Wow, 200,000 words? GRRMarillion is going to be enormous! Do you intend for that book to include information that will have already been released by then, like an Encyclopedia of Ice and Fire? Either way it sounds great! How is the ol' Son of Kong coming along?
Çağrı Akkuş
May. 20th, 2014 02:05 pm (UTC)
I love it, thanks George!

Water wizards are surely interesting, but is there anything about wind magic?
Maxence Fernandes
May. 20th, 2014 02:43 pm (UTC)
Can't wait for this book ! Seems to have so much details and great illustrations !
May. 20th, 2014 03:10 pm (UTC)
Fan of fake history here, and very much looking forward to this! I followed the various links it led to a picture of the page of contents.
I am particularly looking forward to reading about the Long Night as undoubtedly history is repeating itself and there should be keys to the future revealed in the past.

Or maybe not....and we'll just get the dragons to smoke them.
May. 20th, 2014 05:57 pm (UTC)
Re: exciting
The Long Night would be so awesome to read, The Battle for the Dawn.

Edited at 2014-05-20 05:58 pm (UTC)
May. 20th, 2014 03:22 pm (UTC)
Rorge and Biter
I really love all this extra detail and context. Looking forward to it. It got me thinking about two characters though, Rorge and Biter.

They seemed like they had an interesting backstory and I read somewhere that, years ago, you'd thought about telling their story in a bit more detail someday. Is that still on the table?

Edited at 2014-05-20 03:23 pm (UTC)
May. 20th, 2014 08:12 pm (UTC)
Interesting story, can't wait to read more!
Ray Feighery
May. 20th, 2014 09:58 pm (UTC)
You're "Fake History" rekindled my interest in our real one. I was an A+ History student all though school.

Two different teachers encouraged me to study it but in the early 80's that pretty much meant a career in academia which wasn't my path.

I will always be indebted to you for rekindling that spark in me. :)
Jane Correll
May. 20th, 2014 10:11 pm (UTC)
Balerion the Black Dread vs. Ancalagon the Black and other posed situations from Fake Histories
"GRRMarillion" just made my day. Please make this happen.

"Some chroniclers insist that the fires burned so hot that the very waters of the river boiled and turned to steam."

This fan needs to know; could the most powerful dragon fire of Essos and Westeros lay damage to Sauron's Ring?

Like any historian, I need reliable primary sources to form valid arguments. I love your fake histories as it allows me to reliably argue that yes, in fact, the dragon fire in ASOIAF COULD damage the Ring of Power.

I have too much time on my hands.

I'm looking forward to The World of Ice and Fire!!

May. 21st, 2014 01:34 am (UTC)
Fan of History
I am a big fan of real history. We can learn a lot from what has happened in our (man's) past.
As to fake history, I am really so far only a big fan of the "fake" history you create.
Is the history you write actually "fake"?
Is ASOIAF actually fiction?
There is a fine and blurry line for many of us between fiction and reality. (I am not talking about delusion, but rather a suspension of disbelief of which most of us are quite capable.)
Therefore, the answer to the question of the appearance of fake vs true history that accompanies ASOIAF is also unclear. And thus is one revelation of the genius of your writing.
May. 21st, 2014 02:11 am (UTC)
This is great! This will definitely tide me over until Winds of Winter comes out in early 2015! ;)
May. 21st, 2014 05:11 pm (UTC)
There is no such thing...
as you writing too much - I want to read everything! :D If that means I have to, no, get to (!) buy a hundred books, I'll happily do it.
I love what we've seen of the art so far as well. :D
May. 22nd, 2014 01:44 am (UTC)
Janos Slynt
Thanks for the new piece of history!

One question about the world. Why does Janos Slynt have a last name while being a commoner? In Westeros, it seems, people of low birth and without lands have no last names.
May. 22nd, 2014 07:08 am (UTC)
Re: Janos Slynt
They do have last names. Even Bastards are given last names.

Davos Seaworth isn't a bastard, nor is he high born. He's got a last name.
May. 22nd, 2014 06:00 am (UTC)
Truly exciting
I definitely see myself taking a sick day when I get my hands on the Worldbook.

Elio and Linda said there will be a Stark family tree, and maybe even a Lannister family tree? Will that one be included as well?

Yann Savy
May. 23rd, 2014 07:42 am (UTC)
That's great
Can't wait to lay my hands on this book.I'm a huge fan of fake history and I really like the great universe you created.When it comes to world-building I think you're second to Tolkien only.

If it's alright to ask,could you answer a question please?What is the origin of the name Baratheon and why did Orys use it?

I always assumed you were gonna reveal it in the Worldbook or in "Fire and Blood" in a text about the Conqueror's youth but lord varys above said that the account of the Conquest in the Worldbook (including the sample already posted) is everything you wrote about the Targaryens before the Conquest.

Edited at 2014-05-27 04:43 pm (UTC)
Yann Savy
May. 27th, 2014 04:46 pm (UTC)
Re: That's great
I just read on a comment from Ran on a Forum of Ice and Fire according to which the subject of Orys's parentage would be touched in the Wordlbook.
No need to answer then I suppose.Thanks anyway!
May. 23rd, 2014 02:33 pm (UTC)
this is really good
They have some of Robert Jordans notes online and as a fan boy I find this stuff interesting. One of which is him clammering to get Game of Thrones published...

When you finish the series would you consider giving your notes to a university? These notes would be fascinating to fans.
Gehrig JonLou
May. 24th, 2014 05:40 am (UTC)
Return of Magic and Effective Archers
I found the idea of the Rhoynish Water Wizards great! The Battle at Volon Therys in particular was cool... like something out of old school Heroes of Might and Magic III. Love it when there's something that can beat dragons other than other dragons... the dragon trump card is not my favorite so I enjoy seeing when something else can win the day. In this case, the water magic... so... seeing as magic is returning to the world might we be seeing this sort of water magic any time in the present series? What about other non fire based elemental magics (as someone above asked about air magic, or Earth magics)?

Also it was interesting to read about the Rhoynish archers taking down two dragons and sending another to flight. I'm curious if you might be able to comment on what made the Rhoynish archers so effective. Like what sort of draw power or anti dragon arrowheads made them so effective? I don't recall any other stories where archers proved very effective against dragons, even when used en masse and with armor piercing heads shot from Yew Longbows... which in our history ranged in power from 80 pound to and exceeding 180 pounds with 110 a common draw weight. So yeah... what made their archers work so well against the Dragons?

And since I have this opportunity and since we are on the subject of archery there is a thing I have been wondering since book one: Yew Longbows of medieval England and Wales are the strongest bows in human history with the aforementioned 80 to 180 (or more to 200 speculated) pound draw range which seems to be the limit of human draw power, I myself have shot such a bow at 120 pounds of draw (and would be happy to share pics :D ). So what makes the goldenwood longbows of the Summer Isles superior to Yew Longbows if Yew longbows have draws at the limits of human strength? And then... what makes dragonbone bows superior to them both as well? I don't imagine it's a higher draw because then no one would be able to pull them... but I am eager to know what makes them so awesome :) Thank you.

Edited at 2014-05-24 05:50 am (UTC)
May. 26th, 2014 02:20 am (UTC)
Are you familiar with "The Romance of The Kingdoms"?
Hello, George.
I've always been curious about the historical source material that influences "Song of Ice and Fire."
Though I realize there are many different historical records that influenced your work, I'd like to ask about one particular source from Ancient China, "The Romance of the 3 Kingdoms"
It could be pure coincidence, but when I read the synopsis for "The Romance of the Three Kingdoms", -- I apologize for not reading the original, or knowing Chinese for that matter -- I immediately thought about some of the politics that are used as plot devices of a similar manner in your stories. Was there any reference to this source in your work?


May. 26th, 2014 04:19 pm (UTC)
Re: Are you familiar with "The Romance of The Kingdoms"?
I played the game obsessively once upon a time.
Gehrig JonLou
May. 26th, 2014 09:56 pm (UTC)
Re: Are you familiar with "The Romance of The Kingdoms"?
I did not know you were an obsessive game player... what joy! I'm curious if you were ever much of a Dungeons and Dragons player (or DM)? And if so what sorts of characters did you play and what edition(s) of the game?


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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