some fans actually stop by the author’s home, which Martin says “is a little annoying.” “Mostly they are fans and lovely people, but some of them show up with six-packs of beer, and they just want to sit down and shoot the shite with me—which is nice, but if I am kicking off work every day to have beer with the fans, that’s not so good,” he told the Herald.
What the Hell???
I need to do this occasionally:
"I looked for you on the Trident,” Ned said to them.
Ned expected the majority of the Kingsguard to be present at the major battle. We know that three of them were present, and only Ser Barristan (barely) survived.
“We were not there,” Ser Gerold answered.
Ser Arthur Dayne and Oswell Whent are with Rhaegar when Lyanna enters the company of the prince. The Lord Commander of the Kingsguard answers this, so none of previous comment can be directed at Arthur or Oswell directly, and Gerold is accepting responsibility for their actions. There is no surprise about events on the Trident expressed by Gerold or Oswell in the next line.
“Woe to the Usurper if we had been,” said Ser Oswell.
This states that Robert is considered a usurper by these Kingsguard, or at least by Oswell. He does use the term "we" and implies that Robert could not have won the battle if these three had been allowed to enter into it.
“When King's Landing fell, Ser Jaime slew your king with a golden sword, and I wondered where you were.”
Ned relays that King's Landing has fallen and Aerys is dead. Again, Ned expresses his surprise to not see these three Kingsguard doing their duty of protecting and defending the king.
“Far away,” Ser Gerold said, “or Aerys would yet sit the Iron Throne, and our false brother would burn in seven hells.”
The Lord Commander says that their duties were elsewhere, too far away to do anything about the events Ned is relating. He condemns Jaime as a Oathbreaker, and implies that he or one of these others would certainly kill Jaime rather than let him slay the king. This reaffirms their loyalty to the Targaryen dynasty.
“I came down on Storm's End to lift the siege,” Ned told them, and the Lords Tyrell and Redwyne dipped their banners, and all their knights bent the knee to pledge us fealty. I was certain you would be among them.”
Ned tells them that all remaining forces surrendered to him, and pledged fealty to Robert and Ned. He expected to find the last of the Kingsguard with these forces, but again was surprised to note that they were not. This is an invitation for the Kingsguard to surrender to him.
“Our knees do not bend easily,” said Ser Arthur Dayne.
Arthur speaks for the group, and says that they will not surrender.
“Ser Willem Darry is fled to Dragonstone, with your queen and Prince Viserys. I thought you might have sailed with him.”
This being placed here is important because Ned is now changing his offer. He sees that they will not surrender, but he does not want to fight them, he holds these knights in high regard, even years later. He offers them a chance to leave peacefully and do their duty by guarding the heir to the Targaryen dynasty, or so he thinks.
“Ser Willem is a good man and true,” said Ser Oswell.
Ser Willem is a brother to Ser Jonothor Darry of the Kingsguard, and known well to these members of the Kingsguard.
“But not of the Kingsguard,” Ser Gerold pointed out. “The Kingsguard does not flee.”
The Lord Commander correctly states that Viserys does not have a Kingsguard with him. He also says that the Kingsguard would not flee from their duty, to guard the king. On the night that news of the Trident arrived at King's Landing Aerys ordered that Rhaella and Viserys be taken to Dragonstone for their safety, as it appeared that King's Landing would be under siege shortly. Jaime was the only Kingsguard, and his duty was with the king, so Willem was drafted to protect the royal family members. If the Red Keep falls, and Aerys dies then Viserys was safe as long as he could stay alive on Dragonstone. The majority of the fighting men had gone with Rhaegar, and mustering enough men to defend the city or just the Red Keep may be difficult. The Kingsguard are stating that they would not flee King's Landing, as their duty was to protect and defend the king, and they would stay to fulfill their vow.
“Then or now,” said Ser Arthur. He donned his helm.
Arthur reiterates that the Kingsguard would not have chosen to leave King's Landing to protect the royal family, over doing their duty to protect and defend the king (then). This lends some credance to the curse of Jaime, earlier. But, the meaning of now has a great deal more weight to it. Not only do they point out their vow, later, but this line also says that they are guarding a king at this location, and they are unwilling to take Ned's offer to leave this king and flee to Dragonstone in relative safety to guard another heir.
“We swore a vow,” explained old Ser Gerold.
Now, we should be certain that there is a king present, the Lord Commander has decided that all three would remain to protect the king.
Ned’s wraiths moved up beside him, with shadow swords in hand. They were seven against three.
“And now it begins,” said Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning. He unsheathed Dawn and held it with both hands. The blade was pale as milkglass, alive with light.
The final, or most important battle of the Targeyen dynasty.
“No,” Ned said with sadness in his voice. “Now it ends.”
Ned knows the outcome, and he regrets that he had to kill the three finest knights in the kingdom. There is no blame for participating in taking Lyanna, which argues that Lyanna was never dishonored, but more likely freely participated.
I'm going to pair it with my favorite little trick:
"Ser Willem Darry is fled to Dragonstone, with your queen and Prince Viserys. I thought you might have sailed with him.”
"Ser Willem is a good man and true,” said Ser Oswell.
"But not of the Kingsguard,” Ser Gerold pointed out.
A little bit about writing books, from someone who has been trying for some time:
The ASOIAF books are huge. North of 100,000 words apiece. There might be specific word counts somewhere, I don't know. But they are longer even than your average fantasy book.
They are being written sequentially in series, which means the overall direction of the story needs to be tracked one way or another. He often talks about 'architect writers' and 'gardener writers'. An architect would keep track of the story with meticulous outlines and then write. A gardener begins writing and tries to connect it all as he goes. GRRM is a confessed gardener.
So you begin. Let's say you come out of the blocks at breakneck pace. 5 or 6 thousand words a day. In a month you have the first draft completed. So you let it rest. You have to let it rest. If you don't, you won't be able to objectively look at your work and determine what needs changing. After a good few weeks of forgetting all about it, you come back to it and read it.
70% of it is shite. 20% of it is salvageable. 5% is pretty good. 4% is great. 1% is gold dust.
Of all those parts, that 1% is the only stuff that makes it through as-is. The rest? Start again. Do it better. I don't care if you're a 30 novel veteran or someone just starting out, the process is the same. Go back. Start again. Go slower.
So you do all of that. Re-write the 70%. Re-jig the 20%. Tidy up that final 9%. This is a slow process. You need to figure out what's worth keeping and what needs tossing. Also, your manuscript is currently at 189,000 words which is way too long. You need to cut a bunch of non essential scenes. And oh frick. Most of the non essential stuff just so happens to be from that 9% you really liked. Too bad. Cut it.
You let it sit. Again. Then you come back to it with a red pen, and go through it like you're an English professor grading the paper of your most petty enemy. You strike out anything that sounds remotely bad. You flag parts for re-writing because they're stilted. Dozens of sections need re-writes. Whole plot strands are off track and bloated. Streamline. Fix. Go back to the start. Repeat. If you're lucky, at the end of this process, maybe half of what you have will make it to print as-is.
You keep this up until you're positive it is as good as it can possibly be. Then you give it to someone else, secretly proud of what you've done. You sit back and wait for the praise to flow back to you
They kiiiinda like it. But pages 120-240 are boring, they're utterly confused by several plot developments, they think your characters are following some majorly cliched archetypes and, by the way, this whole section with the pirate ship is a straight up rip off of Pirates of the Caribbean.
Back again. Repeat. Tidy. Re-write. Gut. Change. The story is now unrecognizable to you, but you can at least appreciate that it is better. For a book that's ultimately going to be about 130,000 words long, you have easily written in excess of 2 million words that will never see the printed page. Some of those cut words, by the way, are your favourite ones so far. But they didn't fit the pace or the tone, so they had to go.
Eventually, you manage to compromise and scrape your way to a finished book. It has taken years. Freakin'. YEARS. But there it is. 'A Game of Thrones' is on shelves. And whoa, people seem to really like it! You decide you better pretend that writing this fricking thing wasn't the most miserable and frustrating thing in the world, because people want to hear about how writing is a magical creative endeavor that just happens naturally. And really, for all the misery, it was also the most rewarding thing you've ever done. For a few weeks you revel in the happiness you have brought so many people.
Then you sit down and start typing book two. You're back where it all started. And there are five more to go after that.
Oh. frick. What the hell were you thinking?
A year later, you're just putting the finishing touches on draft one of book two. You decide to google your book to see what the fans are saying when you notice a post on a forum.
"Jeez, when does the next one come out?? I'm waiting over here!"
And you slump at the keyboard. It has already begun.
Yeah, that's pretty good. It does take some fricking WORK to write something that flows well and builds on the plots without losing focus. I'm frustrated by the wait, but I want a good, well thought out and well presented story.