Category Archives: A Song of Ice and Fire

Sneak Peak from “Kings, Hands, and City-States: Analyzing a World of Ice and Fire”

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If you follow Race for the Iron Throne, you know that I’m in the process of getting ready for publication of a book of my Tower of the Hand essays, which will come with some pretty awesome book-only extras. We’re getting pretty close to being able to announce the launch date and other amazing stuff, but I wanted to share an excerpt from one of my new, never-seen-before essays:

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Progress Update

Hey folks, since it’s been a few days since the last update, I thought I’d put this up to let people know what I’ve been up to. Over the last week, I’ve been primarily writing a series of essays that haven’t seen the light yet – I wrote a bonus essay about the history of the smallfolk that’s going to go in Hymn for Spring, and I’ve been writing two essays that update the Hands of the King and Hollow Crowns series for the upcoming “Analyzing” e-book. Needless to say, it’s taken a little bit longer for me to finish these than I had originally thought, which has slowed down the chapter analyses a little bit. I have the next two chapters outlined, so those are going to return to schedule shortly. I’m also working on some Game of Thrones recap stuff that I’m hoping to put up shortly.

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In other news, I’ve also shaved off some free time this weekend to play through Telltale’s Game of Thrones – I’m going to start from Episode 1, set up some decisions a bit better now that I have a sense of how they open or close various options, and go from there.

Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Sansa III, ACOK

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“What is the meaning of this?”

Synopsis: Sansa is summoned to Joffrey to answer for her complicity in the Battle of Oxcross. Despite the best efforts of Sandor and Ser Dontos, Sansa is beaten in front of the court before Tyrion intervenes.

SPOILER WARNING: This chapter analysis, and all following, will contain spoilers for all Song of Ice and Fire novels and Game of Thrones episodes. Caveat lector.

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Guest Appearance on History of Westeros Podcast!

I’m very happy to finally announce that I’ll be doing some guest appearances on the excellent History of Westeros podcast, covering the First Blackfyre Rebellion. The first episode covered the reign of Aegon IV and how his actions as king set up many of the causes of the war. In this episode, Aziz and I cover the reign of Daeron I and the ways in which his policies regarding Dorne, the reform of the government, and his newly legitimized half-brothers also contributed to the outbreak of war:

If you want the full experience, you should probably be reading the Blacks and Reds series as you watch these.

Quick Analysis of new TWOW excerpt, “Alayne”

THIS IS NOT A DRILL, REPEAT, NOT A DRILL.

A new Sansa Alayne chapter is up on GRRM’s website. Analysis under the cut

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A Hymn for Spring: Preorders Have Arrived!

Some news from Marc Kleinhenz:

Hymn Cover

No, this is no April Fool’s joke – at long last, Tower of the Hand: A Hymn for Spring is **currently up at Amazon** for pre-orders.

Our first ebook, A Flight of Sorrows, was an anthology jam-packed with insightful analysis of the Song of Ice and Fire series, but it only barely scratched the surface of the huge and complex world that George R.R. Martin has created.

Furthermore, with Sorrows only being our first release, we learned a lot from the experience. We’ve listened to all the feedback – both internal and external – and brought it all to bear on Spring, which has helped to make it the most comprehensive exploration of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros yet.

Here’s how:

  • For A Flight of Sorrows, each author was asked to contribute 3,000 words; for A Hymn for Spring, that minimum has been bumped up to 7,000. This means, of course, that the new anthology is more than twice the size of its predecessor.
  • While half of the writers are returning, the other four are brand-new – an effort to help provide fresh perspectives on the well-trodden elements of the Song of Ice and Fire universe while also delivering original insights.
  • The 11 essays touch upon all the newly published Ice and Fire material, including The Princess and the Queen, The Rogue Prince, and The World of Ice and Fire.

The single biggest difference, however, was a simple challenge that I personally issued to each and every one of the authors: when a reader finishes each chapter of the book, she should have a profoundly different perspective on the source material, whether it be looking at a character in an entirely new light or overturning previously-sacrosanct beliefs regarding Martin and how he handles his narrative (much like how Miles Schneiderman did with the “death” of Jon Snow in Sorrows).

This anthology, I’m happy to say, nails the challenge. Steven Attewell, the mastermind behind Race for the Iron Throne, corrects the mistaken belief that the more ruthless players in the game of thrones end up being the winners. Jeff Hartline, the founder of Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire, fundamentally changes the reader’s understanding of King Stannis Baratheon. And Amin Javadi, one of the co-hosts of A Podcast of Ice and Fire, ensures that the role of both songs and singers will never be looked at the same way again.

There is, of course, lots more, including the most authoritative histories yet devised in either academic or fan circles: Aziz and Ashaya from the History of Westeros podcast delve into Harrenhal, while our very own Jim McGeehin does so with Robert’s Rebellion. ASOIAF superstar Stefan Sasse touches upon a myriad of topics, including the debilitating effects of both patriarchy and civil war on Westerosi society, while the TOTH co-founders expand the focus to include other sources beyond the text – Alexander Smith considers how HBO’s Game of Thrones both improves and degrades Martin’s original story, and John Jasmin looks to traditional, tabletop games to help predict the success of all those who play the game of thrones.

Finally, there are several bonus features that are currently being planned, ranging from additional essays (from an even wider selection of authors) to sneak previews at the next big projects from the TOTH editors. (Trust me when I say that you won’t want to miss seeing how at least one of them is going to tie back into the main site here, completely for free for all our wonderfully dedicated readers.)

Tower of the Hand: A Hymn for Spring is available now for pre-orders. The ebook will release later this month, exclusively at Amazon, for $7.99. A print version will follow sometime at the end of this year.

In the meantime, be sure to check out our full-length sample here.

Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Catelyn III, ACOK

This one will never bend, she thought, yet she must try nonetheless. Too much was at stake.

Synopsis: Stannis and Renly meet at Storm’s End, with Catelyn Stark mediating. It doesn’t go well.

SPOILER WARNING: This chapter analysis, and all following, will contain spoilers for all Song of Ice and Fire novels and Game of Thrones episodes. Caveat lector.

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Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Arya VII, ACOK

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“On the road Arya had felt like a sheep, but Harrenhal turned her into a mouse…she had killed Chyswick with a whisper and she would kill two more before she was through. I’m the ghost in Harrenhal.

Synopsis: Arya goes about her day-to-day in Harrenhal until she encounters a friendly murder genie who offers her three wishes.

SPOILER WARNING: This chapter analysis, and all following, will contain spoilers for all Song of Ice and Fire novels and Game of Thrones episodes. Caveat lector.

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Hymn for Spring Sample is Up at Tower of the Hand!

Over on Tower of the Hand, you can now read Amin Javadi(of the Podcast of Ice and Fire)’s excellent essay on the role of singers and songs in ASOIAF, along with an update about where Hymn for Spring stands.

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Check it out!

Guest Post at Tower of the Hand: The Blacks and Red Part IV, The Golden Company, Then and Now

And…we’re done! The last part in the Blacks and Reds series, focusing on the Golden Company itself, its origin and purpose, its military structure, its role in the politics of Essos, the War of Ninepenny Kings, and its role in the story of A Song of Ice and Fire, is now up at Tower of the Hand!

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So go check it out!

 

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