(Photo by Tiffany Rose/Getty Images)
Recently, it was revealed that a new short story from A Song of Ice and Fire creator George R.R. Martin would be released this fall, as part of an anthology novel called The Book of Swords (not to be confused with A Storm of Swords). Set in the world of Game of Thrones, the particulars of the new story set the internet to speculating. Now, Martin has squashed the speculation on his Not a Blog, revealing details about the project. According to the author, the story is called The Sons of the Dragon, and it’s a historical account of the history of the second and third Targaryen kings to sit the Iron Throne: Aenys I and Maegor the Cruel.
Although they were both sons of Aegon the Conqueror, Aenys and Meagor were polar opposites of one another. Aenys I was said to be thoughtful and kind. Maegor the Cruel was, well…his name tells you a lot of what you need to know about him.
Nonetheless, Maegor accomplished a great many things after succeeding his half-brother to the throne, including finishing the construction of the Red Keep. However, his reign was marked by violent conflicts with the Faith of the Seven and the original incarnation of the Faith Militant. That ended with him blowing up a Sept, which sounds eerily familiar. Per Martin, the story will be “A history rather than a traditional narrative. A lot of telling, only a little showing. (The opposite of what I do in my novels).” That makes it similar to The Princess and the Queen and The Rogue Prince, stories that appeared in anthologies Dangerous Women and Rogues respectively.
The Book of Swords will be edited by long time Martin collaborator and friend Gardner Dozois.
And when did Martin find time to write this new story? As it ends up, The Sons of the Dragon isn’t new at all—Martin has even read it at conventions before. It’s made up of extraneous material Martin wrote for The World of Ice and Fire. “I got rather carried away,” he explains, “until I found I had written 350,000 words of sidebars for a book that was supposed to have only 50,000 words of text (it ended up having a lot more that that, actually).”
“The Sons of the Dragon” came from the same place. Gardner asked me for a story. I told him I did not have the time to write a story. He asked if perhaps I had more like “The Princess and the Queen” lying about… as it happened, I did. So I sent him “The Sons of the Dragon,” he liked it, and there we are.
Incidentally, Martin plans to eventually release much of the rest of that material in a “fake history tome” called Fire and Blood. Fans and George R.R. Martin alike refer to it as the GRRMarillion.
And what of The Winds of Winter? Martin touched briefly upon that oft mentioned tome.
The anthologies, much as I loved them, were taking too much of my time, so I stepped back from them… until I finish THE WINDS OF WINTER, at least. Once that’s done, maybe I can sneak another one in…
Godspeed, Mr. Martin.
Here’s the full story lineup for The Book of Swords, out October 10.
- Introduction by Gardner Dozois
- The Best Man Wins, by K.J. Parker
- His Father’s Sword, by Robin Hobb
- The Hidden Girl, by Ken Liu
- The Sword of Destiny, by Matthew Hughes
- “I Am a Handsome Man,” Said Apollo Crow”, by Kate Elliott
- The Triumph of Virtue, by Walter Jon Williams
- The Mocking Tower, by Daniel Abraham
- Hrunting, by C.J. Cherryh
- A Long, Cold Trail, by Garth Nix
- When I Was a Highwayman, by Ellen Kushner
- The Smoke of Gold is Glory, by Scott Lynch
- The Colgrid Conundrum, by Rich Larson
- The King’s Evil, by Elizabeth Bear
- Waterfalling, by Lavie Tidhar
- The Sword Tyraste, by Cecelia Holland
- The Sons of the Dragon, by George R.R. Martin