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GEORGE R. R. MARTIN

George Raymond Richard Martin (born September 20, 1948), sometimes referred to as GRRM, is an American author and screenwriter of fantasy, horror, and science fiction.

~ from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For more information, please visit GRRM's official website.

A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE

A Song of Ice and Fire (commonly abbreviated as ASoIaF) is an award-winning series of epic fantasy novels. The series is planned to consist of seven novels, with four currently available.

Novels and novellas

    The published novels are entitled:
  • A Game of Thrones (1996)
  • A Clash of Kings (1998)
  • A Storm of Swords (2000)
  • A Feast for Crows (2005)
    The remaining three novels are provisionally titled:
  • A Dance with Dragons (provisionally set for release in late 2008)
  • The Winds of Winter
  • A Dream of Spring (formerly known as A Time for Wolves)
    There are also three prequel novellas to the series, set roughly 90 years before the novels.
  • The Hedge Knight (1998)
  • The Sworn Sword (2003)
  • The Mystery Knight (provisionally set for release in 2009)

These short stories are commonly known as "Dunk and Egg" stories (after their protagonists). The Hedge Knight is also available as a graphic novel from Dabel Brothers Productions; an adaptation of The Sworn Sword is forthcoming from the same company. The author has said that he would like to write a number of these stories (varying from six to twelve from interview to interview) covering the entire lives of these two characters. Publication of a third "Dunk and Egg" novella is provisionally set for 2008 in an anthology named Warriors, which will be edited by Martin and Gardner Dozois.

The series has been placed as the number 2 rated series at the Internet Book List as of November 12th, 2007.

Plot Summary

A Song of Ice and Fire is set primarily in the fictional Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, a large, South America-sized continent with an ancient history stretching back some twelve thousand years, and where seasons can last for years. The original inhabitants of the land, the "children of the forest" (whose "old gods" are still worshipped in the North) were conquered by the First Men, who came from the east. Later, the Andals, who brought their seven-faced god across the narrow sea with them, arrived and conquered the southern portion of Westeros, though due to natural defenses they were never able to conquer the North. The Andal kingdoms were later united by House Targaryen, particularly Aegon "the Conqueror", who took the southern kingdoms by force, while King Torrhen Stark of the North bent the knee rather than risk destruction under Aegon's dragons. Dorne, the last free kingdom, was brought into the realm via dynastic marriage about a century later, giving rise to a united Westeros. 283 years after Aegon's conquest, the Targaryens were overthrown in a civil war, and King Robert Baratheon, backed primarily by his friend Lord Eddard Stark and foster father Lord Jon Arryn, took the Iron Throne. The novels, which begin fifteen years into Robert's reign, follow the fall-out from this event across three major storylines, set not only in Westeros but on the eastern continent as well.

The first storyline, set in the Seven Kingdoms themselves, chronicles a many-sided struggle for the Iron Throne that develops after King Robert's death. The throne is claimed by his son Joffrey, supported by his mother's powerful family, House Lannister, but Robert's brother Stannis claims that Robert's children are illegitimate, and that the throne should fall to him. Robert's youngest brother, Renly, also places a claim with the support of the extremely powerful House Tyrell. Whilst these three claimants battle for the Iron Throne, Robb Stark, Lord Eddard Stark's heir, is proclaimed King in the North as the northmen and their allies in the Riverlands seek to return to self-rule. Likewise, Balon Greyjoy also (re-)claims the ancient throne of his own region, the Iron Islands, with an eye towards independence. This so-called War of the Five Kings is the principal storyline in the second and third novels, while the fourth novel concerns the realm's recovery from it in the face of the coming winter.

The second storyline is set on the extreme northern border of Westeros. Here, eight thousand years ago, a huge wall of ice and gravel was constructed by both magic and labor to defend Westeros from the threat of 'The Others', a semi-mythical race of ice creatures living in the uttermost north. This Wall, 300 miles long and 700 feet tall, is defended and maintained by the Sworn Brotherhood of the Night's Watch, whose primary duty is to guard against The Others, but by the time of the novels it is badly under-strength and has almost forgotten The Others, instead being threatened by the human 'wildlings' or 'free folk' who live to the north. This storyline follows Jon Snow, bastard son of Eddard Stark, as he rises through the ranks of the Watch, learns the true nature of the threat from the north, and prepares to defend the realm from it, despite the fact that the people of Westeros are too busy warring to send support. By the end of the third volume, this storyline has become somewhat entangled with the civil war to the south.

The third storyline is set on the huge eastern continent and follows the adventures of Daenerys Targaryen, the last (known) scion of House Targaryen and another claimant to the Iron Throne. Daenerys's adventures showcase her growing ability, as she rises from a near-penniless wanderer to a powerful and canny ruler who possesses the last living dragons. Though her story is separated from the others by many thousands of miles, her stated goal is to reclaim the Iron Throne, and it is presumed she will travel to Westeros before the end of the series. While she has no memories of Westeros and is barely known there, she may still be welcomed: the chaos of two civil wars in rapid succession has led to much yearning among the smallfolk for the days of stability under the Targaryens.

The eponymous Song of Ice and Fire has been mentioned only once in the series so far, in a vision Daenerys sees in A Clash of Kings. This vision depicts a Targaryen (her dead older brother Rhaegar) speaking of his son, saying, "He is the prince that was promised, and his is the song of ice and fire." It is implied that there is a connection between this song, the promised prince, and Daenerys herself, who according to her grand-uncle Aemon will fulfill the prophecy (the Valyrian word "prince" is gender-neutral, just as their dragons are hermaphrodites). The phrase "ice and fire" is also mentioned in the Reeds' oath of loyalty to Bran in A Clash of Kings.

~ from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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