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George R.R. Martin Chronicles Targaryen History in New A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE Story

Any announcement, especially from George R.R. Martin himself, of a new story related to A Song of Ice and Fire results in the same question, so let’s just get that matter out of the way so we can focus on the good news: no, it’s not about The Winds of Winter.

But for those of us that crave anything and everything connected to the Seven Kingdoms, there is still plenty to get excited for. On his “Not a Blog” LiveJournal, the author confirmed reports that he’ll be releasing a new story about Westeros later this year.

His newest story is another history piece, “The Sons of the Dragon,” about the reigns of Aegon the Conqueror’s two sons, Aenys I and Maegor the Cruel, “along with their mothers, wives, sisters, children, friends, enemies, and rivals.” It will be a part of the fantasy anthology series The Book of Swords, which is scheduled for release this year on October 10th. This will be Martin’s third standalone history about Westeros, following the two he released about the Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons.

george-rr-martinImage: NBC

“The Princess and the Queen,” about the war between Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and her half-brother Aegon II, was included in the anthology Dangerous Women; a prequel to that story, “The Rogue Prince,” which focused on Rhaenerya’s uncle Prince Daemon, was included in the anthology Rogues. Martin says if you liked those, you “will probably like this one too” because “it’s water from the same well.”

The previous histories are like “a traditional narrative,” with “a lot of telling” and “only a little showing”–quite the opposite of his novels. “The Princess and the Queen” and “The Rogue Prince” have almost no dialogue, and “The Sons of the Dragon” will seemingly follow this same style and format. And while this new piece focuses on a time period many years before the events of the Dance of the Dragons, it will still be about the Targaryen royal line.

Which brings us to the other good news: he hasn’t been spending any time recently writing this. Martin said that this was actually something he had previously written for The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones, the compendium piece about the rich and complex history of the Seven Kingdoms and beyond.

World-of-ice-and-fireImage: Bantam

Actually, Martin wasn’t supposed to write much for that book either–only some sidebars. The whole book was originally supposed to be about 50,000 words. So knowing what you know about him, how many words of sidebars do you think he wrote?


“I got rather carried away, until I found I had written 350,000 words of sidebars.”

Of course. But even with all that extra writing he didn’t cover the entire 300 year reign of the Targaryens.

“I had only reached the regency of Aegon III the Dragonbane, and had largely skipped over Jaehaerys I the Conciliator, however, it became apparent that my sidebars were going to burst the book,” he said. So instead they weren’t included, and “only severely abridged versions of the main events” made it in. But with all of those words already written, Martin has been planning on eventually releasing them as their own book, Fire and Blood (or the GRRMarillion as some call it), about the Targaryen dynasty.

This is especially exciting since that section in The World of Ice and Fire was easily the best part. Though I am a little biased, not only because I’m the History of Thrones lunatic, but since I’ve studied more about the Targaryen kings more than I’ve read about American presidents or how a 401k works.

But if you’re still mad at him for taking time away from finishing The Winds of Winter to be a part of this collection, he stressed–knowing his readers would complain–that he didn’t even co-edit this book with Gardner Dozois, like the two did on Dangerous Women and Rogues. In fact, Martin hasn’t even read the other pieces that will be included in The Book of Swords.

He had already written this previously, it just had never been published (though he says he may have read it before at a convention or two), and he just gave it to his friend to be included, which makes this all a win-win for us.

So while we get it, we all want to hear news about when The Winds of Winter is coming out (we’ve put a lot of thought into figuring out when that might happen), we aren’t going to let that overshadow that this is news is pretty great on its own.

A new story we didn’t expect is better than not getting a story we’ve been impatiently waiting for.

What do you know about Aegon’s sons? What other periods in the history of Westeros would you like to read a more detailed history about? Tell us in the comments below.

Featured Image: HBO

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