I am just totally distracted by shiny things. At this point in my squishy life, that isn’t going to change… kinda like the three-headed heroes of GRRM stories. While I am working on transcribing the story The Needle Men for the “fiery religions” page, I wanted to drop this teaser here for you to shake your fist at 🙂
I will say that Fevre Dream uses a two-headed hero; Abner Marsh and Joshua York. But this could be the two different sides coming together to create something stronger idea. Joshua was the prophesied Pale King that came to save the vampires from being savages and disappearing. But Johsua couldn’t do it alone. He needed Abner Marsh to help. I will say that at a key point in the middle act, Valerie is also an important player (and lover) to Joshua York.
Many other George R.R. Martin stories have this formula as well. I highly suspect that Arya and Sansa will come together as one in the efforts to reclaim their family rights and honors. Brienne and Jaime? Oh, yeah. As will many unexpected others.
- A Storm of Swords – Jon XI
And this time it would not be a ruse. To claim his father’s castle, he must turn against his father’s gods.
King Stannis gazed off north again, his gold cloak streaming from his shoulders. “It may be that I am mistaken in you, Jon Snow. We both know the things that are said of bastards. You may lack your father’s honor, or your brother’s skill in arms. But you are the weapon the Lord has given me. I have found you here, as you found the cache of dragonglass beneath the Fist, and I mean to make use of you. Even Azor Ahai did not win his war alone. I killed a thousand wildlings, took another thousand captive, and scattered the rest, but we both know they will return. Melisandre has seen that in her fires. This Tormund Thunderfist is likely re-forming them even now, and planning some new assault. And the more we bleed each other, the weaker we shall all be when the real enemy falls upon us.”
Jon had come to that same realization. “As you say, Your Grace.” He wondered where this king, was going.
Black and White and Red All Over
I say this all the time; the man loves his themes!
A novel based in real world history, Black and White and Red All Over consists of a large fragment of an unfinished novel of the same name, set in the 1890s and based on Jack the Ripper. In 2015, Martin said that he planned to eventually complete it. The main characters in this story are journalists working for newspapers. Yes, there is a bit of a rivalry between them, but I will update on that in a later full post.
The story title comes has a double entendre in this story (as all goods titles should). The newspaper riddle is a riddle joke or conundrum that begins with the question:
- Q: What is black and white and red all over?
The traditional answer, which relies upon the identical pronunciation of the words “red” and “read“, is:
- A: A newspaper
These three heads
Now for the fun bit that will curl the toes of the A Song of Ice and Fire crowd (hopefully!).
“Poseidon Press had published my previous novels and held an option on this one, so they saw the pages first. Mt editor liked a lot of what she read… but not enough to make an offer. Her readers complained that the plot was too hard to follow. Nor did they like my three-headed hero. If I were to drop two of the three protagonists, and tell the story from the viewpoint of Kate Hawthorne, Poseidon would be interested. Otherwise, no.
I like Kate well enough, but I liked Henry Munce as well, as I loved Ned Cullen, the yellowist yellow journalist of them all, handsome, dashing, clever, and a cad to the core…”
The idea that the publishers wanted George to cut down the protagonists and focus on just one, and the story being a tad large, are apparently the same issues he ran in to while shopping around A Song of Ice and Fire that was eventually attempted to be made into the tv show A Game of Thrones. George said NO. That story is not about just Jon or Daenerys, or any just one or two characters, but the world as a whole. Again, he shopped the show idea until he felt he found a good fit… and the rest is history.
You can also see where he shared some of his own inspiration between this and his original ASOIAF outline (that he said was “making shit up”).
Who are these people?
Ned Cullen has coal black hair and bright green eyes. He is cad to the core, as GRRM puts it. Smart and savvy and good looking.
Henry Munce is a witty and bold dwarf with twisted legs, half black and half white facial whiskers, who hates dogs and is not above getting down and dirty in the seedier parts of town. Truly, the dwarf aspect sticks out the most when you do a comparison to ASOAIF. Does this mean Tyrion is a Targaryen? I dunno. Does this mean Tyrion is his father’s son, as in the son of Tywin, and that the rules of dragon husbandry and riding are twisted and not true as we know them? I dunno. But this proto-clue is juicy.
A Dance with Dragons – Tyrion II
The wine, the food, the sun, the sway of the litter, the buzzing of the flies, all conspired to make Tyrion sleepy. So he slept, woke, drank. Illyrio matched him cup for cup. And as the sky turned a dusky purple, the fat man began to snore.
That night Tyrion Lannister dreamed of a battle that turned the hills of Westeros as red as blood. He was in the midst of it, dealing death with an axe as big as he was, fighting side by side with Barristan the Bold and Bittersteel as dragons wheeled across the sky above them. In the dream he had two heads, both noseless. His father led the enemy, so he slew him once again. Then he killed his brother, Jaime, hacking at his face until it was a red ruin, laughing every time he struck a blow. Only when the fight was finished did he realize that his second head was weeping.
When he woke his stunted legs were stiff as iron. Illyrio was eating olives. “Where are we?” Tyrion asked him.
Kate Hawthorne. I do not know much about her personality at the moment (I just started this book last evening), but the name description is one we’ve seen before in Martin’s work. The author has used many variants of the name Catherine, and they are always connected with fiery women in someway; Kat, Cate, Kath, Catelyn, etc. The surname Hawthorne could either be for the author, or as in other areas of Martinworld, the Hawthorn plant. This Kate has auburn hair and grey-green eyes (like Littlefinger) and pale white skin. When we first meet her, she is covered in soot, not unlike when we first meet Josie in Meathouse Man. One of Kate’s first bits of information is about the poet Stephen Blackwood.
I hope this is enough to get the brain juice flowing while I work on The Needle Men. The fact that these themes and plot structure and character prototyping keep rearing their heads story after story makes me think George has a whopper to say and it will take his magnum opus to get it all out, and the way he wants it to be told.
I will update as new information is ready, but as always, feel free to ask me anything along the way.
Thanks for reading along with the Fattest Leech of Ice and Fire blog.