The She-Bear has begun to sing

Thanks for joining me! I accept all members of the rapscallion varieties, including cripples, bastards, moonsingers, breastplate stretchers, and broken things. Of course, those high falutin’ types are also welcome, but better hang on.

This site is dedicated to discussing the books and stories written by George RR Martin and using them to help dissect his magnum opus, A Song of Ice and Fire (ASOIAF). I consider myself a fan of the author George RR Martin, not just  A Song of Ice and Fire.

Forewarning: There will be open spoilers for any and all of George RR Martin’s work at any point on this site. This includes the upcoming A Song of Ice and Fire book, The Winds of Winter. There is, however, no A Game of Thrones television show discussion on this site for many reasons but mainly because the author himself has described the tv series as its own thing, its own alternate universe. The two mediums cannot be compared past season 3 of the show.

“In A Song of Ice and Fire, I take stuff from the Wars of the Roses and other fantasy things, and all these things work around in my head and somehow they jell into what I hope is uniquely my own.”

As a mere fan of this author, and in being such a fan of the author, I have read as much of his work as I can get my dirty little mitts on. Scouring old bookstores and making seedy back alley deals has rewarded me a several key scores. However, just like every other theorist out there, I could be wrong about much of this as I am simply piecing together his writing and plot style; the ending is always his own. Martin is feeding us a long, drawn out, eleventy course dinner full of capons, turnips,  bacon grease, lampreys, and the pie will only be served when he is ready.

Having read as much of his work as I can get my little paws on, I realized George RR Martin (GRRM) has his own repeating themes that he uses between books, and of which we are also witnessing in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. I have long said that it seems his literary career thus far has been “practice” for his self-proposed magnum opus. That, in my opinion, is a fabulous thing because you can see where he draws from and is continuing towards; what worked, what did not.

Why does Martin do this? Why does he repeat his themes so often? Simply put, it seems he has a particular story in his gut, in his soul, that he needs to get out and on page for readers to witness. Be it political, social, religious, environmental, he has a lot on his mind and will sing his song until it sounds correct to his ears. A Song of Ice and Fire has the literary room to tune into all of it.

Q: Did Joseph Campbell have any influence?

GRRM: No, John W. Campell

A word is not the same to one author as it is to another, and GRRM chooses each and every word for his own reason. In my mind it makes much more sense to compare/contrast the author against his own work to witness how he ends up using his admitted inspirations, as opposed to assuming he is swindling his work from others. There are many times where George talks about his own ideas, developing his own voice as he has said, this is just one:

“The Lonely Songs of Laren Dorr” was my first pure fantasy as a pro. Fantastic published it in 1976. Keen-eyed readers will notice certain names and motifs that go all the way back to “Only Kids Are Afraid of the Dark,” and other names and motifs that I would pick up and use again in later works. In my fiction, as in real life, I never throw anything away. You can never tell when you might find another use for it. Sharra and her dark crown were originally meant for the Dr. Weird mythos that Howard Keltner once asked me to create. By 1976, however, my fanzine days were almost a decade behind me and Dr. Weird had folded up shop, so I felt free to reclaim the ideas and rework them for a different sort of tale.

–Martin, George R. R.. Dreamsongs: Volume I

Photo Credit: Kyle Cassidy

Many other fans have done great work in finding the parallels within the A Song of Ice and Fire world. I have been part of some very thought provoking forum threads that have helped open up my processes when dissecting the books. These same repeated themes, icons, items, verbiage, identities are also repeated across all of GRRM’s work. George seems to be very consistent.

I’ve been planting all these clues that the butler did it, then you’re halfway through a series and suddenly thousands of people have figured out that the butler did it, and then you say the chambermaid did it? No, you can’t do that

–George RR Martin

The big World of Ice and Fire book? Foreshadowing for what is to happen in the current series. The same thematic history has repeated throughout all of GRRM’s work; reclaiming his own ideas. The World book, as well as the maps created by Martin, were done so by the nudging of the publishing houses. With the maps, according to GRRM, he filled them in on the fly. The real story is in current Westeros, as Martin says, so basically, different roads lead to the same castle (to paraphrase Jon Snow). Once you find the repetition, the main A Song of Ice and Fire story is lot less complicated.

I’m a very different writer than Tolkien, we were products of very different times. He was born in the 19th century a product of English society at a particular point in time he served and fought in the trenches of World War one. He was a world-class linguist and Oxford Don of academic persuasion. He wrote his books largely, I think, for his own amusement and the amusement of his children. Where he had some particular passions of his like creating artificial languages. I share none of that. I mean, I’m a baby boomer born in 1948, I come from a blue-collar background in Bayonne New Jersey, lived in federal housing projects was involved in the opposition to the Vietnam War and have have largely pulled stories and and written as a as a professional writer for most of my adult life. I have great admiration for Tolkien but my work is in no sense tolkien-esque except in the sense of being a secondary world fantasy…”

This a favorite quote from Nightflyers that just about sums up ASOIAF theorizing for me. Royd had been listening to the  passengers trying to form overly complicated theories on why certain events are happening to them and who Royd “really” is. Royd basically tells them to keep it simple and you will find the truth. This keep it simple idea is a common thread throughout many GRRM stories:

“Tell, then,” the xenotech said suspiciously. “What are you?”
“I liked your guess about the gas giants,” Royd said. “Sadly, the truth is less dramatic. I am an ordinary Homo sapien in late middle-age. Sixty-eight standard, if you require precision. The holograph you see before you was the real Royd Eris, although some years ago. I am older now.”

You do not have to have read all of George RR Martin’s work to enjoy and interact on this site, I will provide as many story quotes as possible, but it does help if you have read them… and fanaticize over them like I do. However, just ask and I will provide more quotes as often as needed. I do not mind at all.

I welcome discussion in the comments section, but I do ask you show respect for alternative ideas and that you stay on topic. As this is an ever evolving site, any new information and credits will be given when credit is due.

You can find me on the forum or Twitter as the poster The Fattest Leech discussing many of these topics with other posters there, many of whom helped guide me in the right direction. To those great posters… THANK YOU!

Thank you to all the forum friends and posters who contribute!

And a huge Thank You to George RR Martin for his decades of plot twists, inverted tropes, love triangles, jambles and jumbles, as well as the interregnum that never ends. You tricksy bird, you.

Please visit his Not a Blog for ASOIAF updates.

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

The Fattest Leech blog is one of many in the fandom working to unravel the clues to A Song of Ice and Fire. Here are a few other websites that may also be of interest:

Some of these posts and on this site can grow a little long. There is just so much information to share that it can sometimes be difficult to keep word counts down. However, I discovered something new! (I am basically a technological Luddite and simple things like this thrill me.)

The Reader is a great tool for catching up with your favorite blogs or exploring interesting new reads. And now, you can save those posts and resume reading at your leisure with Save For Later.

How does it work?

First, make sure you have the newest version of the  WordPress app on your phone or tablet — version 10.2. Open the app, and head into the Reader.

Saving content for later

Whenever you find a post you’d like to save for later, tap the bookmark icon (Bookmark outlined). The icon will change from an outline to a solid color (Bookmark solid background) so you know the post has been saved.

This entire site and all of the contents are always a work in progress as new information is discovered upon each reread, and when there are enough hours in the day to complete the needed updates.

Thanks for reading the rambles of the Fattest Leech blog 🙂

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