George R. R. Martin Interview - Game of Thrones Special! S&L Ep 6

Uploaded by geekandsundry on Jun 22, 2012


Sword and Laser.

VERONICA BELMONT: Hello, everyone.
And welcome to the Sword and Laser.
I'm Veronica Belmont.
TOM MERRITT: And I'm Tom Merritt.
VERONICA BELMONT: And I'm about to pee myself.
TOM MERRITT: Oh, is it because we're wrapping up Tigana?
I mean, I like the book but--
I'm Looking forward to that conversation,
but that's not why.
TOM MERRITT: It's because it's our Game of Thrones special.
VERONICA BELMONT: You're getting a
little bit closer, yes.
You're getting a little bit closer.
TOM MERRITT: It is because we have George RR freaking Martin
on the show?
TOM MERRITT: I suppose we ought to get
to the Quick Burns.
Can you speak from down there?

VERONICA BELMONT: Wish you could live out the adventures
of Wade Owen in Ernest Cline's Ready Player One?
Well, Mr. Cline is indulging you.
He's hidden an Easter Egg in the text of both the hardcover
and paperback editions of Ready Player One.
The clues will lead you to a chain of increasingly
difficult video game challenges.
And the first to complete all the challenges wins a 1981
DeLorean, complete with a flux capacitor.
TOM MERRITT: I want to win that.
Are we disqualified?
All caught up on a Song of Ice and Fire and the Game of
Thrones HBO series?
How about investigating some of George RR
Martin's older works?
Three new audio books are in production read by the actors
from the HBO series.
Ron Donachie, aka Ser Rodrik, will read the historical
horror novel Fever Dream.
Lady Stark, aka Michelle Fairley, voices the sci-fi
adventure novel Wind Haven.
And Iain Glen, whom may know as Ser Jorah Mormont, will
read Martin's first novel, Dying of the Light.
No release date is set yet.
But then again, there's also no release date for this video
game either, Medal of Hodor.
I want that to be real.
VERONICA BELMONT: I wish that was real more than--
TOM MERRITT: There'd be a lot of carrying.
VERONICA BELMONT: --anything else.
That's not too exciting, is it, I guess.
And finally, we are excited to have Rob Reid, author of Year
Zero, on our show next time.
What's Year Zero about?
Well, Random House has a trailer that helps to explain
that for every you.
NARRATOR: Every advanced civilization in the universe
is part of the Refined League.
All of them are obnoxiously advanced,
peaceful, and, well, refined.
Refined aliens can cross galaxies in an instant.
Their artwork, architecture, and decoupage are so brilliant
that human minds can barely process their beauty.
But there's one thing they can't do.
Aliens suck at music.
And we don't.
In fact, we make the universe's best music by far.
And everyone knows it but us.
They've known it since they first discovered
us back in the '70s.
American pop music was immediately identified as the
greatest creative achievement since the Big Bang.
The entire universe has done nothing but ecstatically
contemplate our music ever since.
They've copied it, shared it, transmitted it, and
copied it some more.
Then finally, just a few weeks ago, the Refined aliens
started getting back to their normal lives.
Politicians started governing again.
Accountants started accounting again.
Most significantly, alien anthropologists began studying
other aspects of human society.
And that's when it hit them.

They owe us an ungodly amount of money.
You see, America has the universe's
harshest copyright laws.
And the aliens have been pirating
our music for decades.
It was completely unintentional.
But the universe is bankrupt all the same.
Everything in it and all of its
wealth belongs to humanity.
And everyone knows it but us.
Certain aliens are not entirely amused.
And only one man can stop them from exacting revenge.
Can he save the world, get the girl?
He better, or else.
It's Year Zero, a new novel by Rob Reid.
TOM MERRITT: You know, Rob's the guy who started the
Rhapsody music service.
I'm seeing some parallels
TOM MERRITT: He knows from music.
We're excited to have him in studio on the next episode.
VERONICA BELMONT: Going to be a lot of fun.
TOM MERRITT: Real live human.
Time for another Whiteboard Review from Aaron.
This time, he encourages you not to fear HP Lovecraft.
I mean, be scared of the story, just don't be
afraid to read it.
I'll let Aaron explain.
AARON: HP Lovecraft is a big name in horror and fantasy.
But it can be tough to find an entry point into his work.
Start with The Dunwich Horror and Others.
Lovecraft's writing is famously tough.
But here, that dense language is wrapped around engaging
stories which move fairly fast for Lovecraft.
The title story is a moody piece about a rural family and
black magic.
Others feature genre standards like pirate ghosts, haunted
pictures, and a guy who thinks he hears rats in the walls.
They can't all be winners.
But if you've heard about Lovecraft and you want to know
what the fuss is about, The Dunwich Horror is an excellent
place to get your feet wet, or whatever you use for feet.
TOM MERRITT: You know, it's less scary on the whiteboard.
VERONICA BELMONT: It's a lot less scary.
I'd like them to do a Prometheus whiteboard.
I'm too scared to watch the movie.
TOM MERRITT: I bet you can do it.
VERONICA BELMONT: I passed out watching District 9, so I'm
pretty sure that if I--
TOM MERRITT: You passed out?
VERONICA BELMONT: Just like that.
I pass out a lot, apparently.
TOM MERRITT: You apparently have a problem.
VERONICA BELMONT: I think maybe I'm--
TOM MERRITT: You should get your circulation checked.
VERONICA BELMONT: Anyhow, send us in your videos, and you
could be on the show next time.
And we'll send you a package of prizes,
including books and stickers.
Just upload your message to your favorite video hosting
provider, like YouTube, for example, and email the link to
us at
TOM MERRITT: Coming up, we discuss Game of Thrones
philosophy with Henry Jacoby, premier Paul and Storm's new
GRRM-related music video, "Write like the Wind," and see
if Veronica passes out when we speak with
George RR Martin himself.
Don't go anywhere.

VERONICA BELMONT: And welcome back to Sword and Laser where
we're extremely excited to have the author of the "Dunk
and Egg" stories and of course the entire Song of Ice and
Fire series.
And no, we're not going to ask him who his favorite
characters are or when the next book will be done.
It'll be done when he finishes writing it.
But we have a lot of other great questions.
So welcome to Mr. George RR Martin.
Thank you so much for being on the show.
GEORGE R.R. MARTIN: It's my pleasure.
I'm glad to be here.
TOM MERRITT: We're big fans of the Song of Ice and Fire
series and all your writing, to be honest.
So it's a pleasure to have you.
Our first question comes from our Goodreads forum.
They want to know, "I'm curious about your character
creation process.
Do you decide beforehand the ways you want your character
to change and evolve?
Or do you come up with the character and let the
character sort of inform you about how it evolves as you
write the story?"
GEORGE R.R. MARTIN: It's kind of bit of both.
Certainly, when we're speaking of the major characters at
least, I know their main function in a story.
I have a general idea of the broad arc of their character
from the first book through the last book.
But at the same time, the characters do sometimes seem
to have a mind of their own.
And when you're actually writing the stories and you're
writing a scene, suddenly it's almost as if the character is
real in some sense.
You're writing a scene, you're writing dialogue and a
character says something that is completely right for the
character, but that you hadn't really
anticipated ahead of time.
You hadn't known he was going to say that.
And suddenly the scene goes off of a strange direction
that you could not have predicted.
And you wind up in a different place than you thought were
going to wind up.
Now, admittedly, sometimes that's a mistake.
The characters are treacherous sons of [BLEEP]
and they will lead you down dead ends and into the swamp
and other places that you don't want to go.
So sometimes you have to go back and discipline them and
make them behave.
But other times, the characters will lead you to
treasures and you will come up with something that you could
never have anticipated when you were just sort of
envisioning the story in broad strokes and something that's
much richer and more interesting than what you
originally started with.
TOM MERRITT: Are any your characters
more unruly than others?
GEORGE R.R. MARTIN: You know, they've all been unruly from
time to time.
I know Cat has given me a few curveballs, from time to time.
But really, everybody.
VERONICA BELMONT: Anne on Goodreads wants to know, "I
would like to know whether he intended our favorite and
least characters to be perceived as such." Do you
think are any characters that have kind of changed from you
intending them to be maybe not one of the more likable
characters that kind of surprised you?
GEORGE R.R. MARTIN: Well, I don't know if I'd use the word
surprised, but it is interesting to see the
different reactions to the characters that are out there.
The popularity of some minor characters
sometimes surprises me.
And I'm talking about very minor characters.
I've had people come up to me at conventions and say their
favorite character is Tytos Blackwood.
Tytos Blackwood has like three lines in
the entire five books.
And he has a really cool cloak made of raven feathers.
I think that's probably why people like him, or
something like that.
But that's a bit of what writers call the Boba Fett
syndrome, where I think some readers attach themselves to
characters who have something cool about them, but there's
really a lot that you don't know about them.
So the reader can imagine all the things that he likes best
on this character, who's essentially a blank slate with
a few cool accoutrements or attitudes.
But Bronn is another character who's become very popular.
I am sometimes surprised by the reactions of women in
particular to some of the villains.
TOM MERRITT: Bad boy syndrome?
GEORGE R.R. MARTIN: --number of women over the years who
have written me that their favorite characters are Jaime
Lannister or Sandor Clegane, The Hound, or Theon Greyjoy.
All of these are deeply troubled individuals with some
very dark sides who have done some very dark things.
But nonetheless, they do draw this response, and quite
heavily, I think, in the case of some of them, from my
female readers, in particular.
VERONICA BELMONT: I'm a big fan of The
Hound myself, actually.
The Hound.
And maybe it's not because I feel any
compassion towards them.
I'm not really sure what the attraction is.
I'm not going to call it attraction, actually.
Let's just say it's a fascination, perhaps.
GEORGE R.R. MARTIN: Well, fascination is one thing.
But some of these letters indicate that there really is
a romantic attraction going on there.
And I do know there's all these people out there who
are, as they call themselves, the SanSan fans, who want to
see Sandor and Sansa get together at the end.
So that's interesting, too.
TOM MERRITT: The TV show has sort of played with that a
little and probably stoked those fires, I would think.
And I've played with it in the books.
TOM MERRITT: Yeah, yeah.
GEORGE R.R. MARTIN: There's something there.
But it's still interesting to see how many people have
responded to it.
VERONICA BELMONT: I'm not going to say that that hasn't
crossed my mind.
Maybe I need to go join one of those fan
sites and learn more.
GEORGE R.R. MARTIN: The other, of course, interesting thing
is the negative reactions that you get to some characters
who, to my mind, don't necessarily deserve such a
strong negative reaction, particularly characters who
are themselves perfectly nice.
But I think if they're a threat to one of the
characters that the people have already decided is their
favorite, I don't know, you get
some interesting reactions.
But it is a fascinating process.
And what I take pride in as a writer, what gives me great
satisfaction is that people are reacting to all of these
Whether they love them, whether they hate them, they
care about them.
And they're reacting to them as if they were real people,
just as you would if you met 20 new people and you were
thrown into them in some setting, like on an island.
And in a couple weeks you'd hate some, and you'd like
some, and some you wouldn't be so sure about.
But your reactions would not necessarily be the reactions
of the next person.
And to my mind, that's an indication that if you have
created characters who have some basis in reality.
If you create a character and everybody likes them, you
probably created a piece of cardboard.
And similarly, if you've created a character and
everybody hates them, then they don't have their reality.
And people's reactions to real people are much more complex,
much more layered, and much more contradictory at times.
So that's what I'm striving for is to make these
characters as real as I can.
And so I like the complexity of the reactions.
I like the fact that my readers debate who are the
good guys, who are the bad guys, which characters they
want to kill and which characters they want to marry
and so forth and so on.
TOM MERRITT: TerpKristin wants to know of the non-Song of Ice
and Fire universes you've written in, which one would
you like to revisit the most?

GEORGE R.R. MARTIN: You know, that's hard to say.
I have considerable affection for a lot of my older work.
Of course, The Wild Cards universe is one I still
revisit regularly.
Wild Cards has been going longer than Ice and Fire and
is still going.
We've just signed a contract for the
23rd book in the series.
I've just signed contracts for a British deal
and a French deal.
So I think Wild Cards is going to be going for a long time.
I wish I had a little more time, because I have some Wild
Card characters that I've created that I would really
like to write some stories about.
But with Ice and Fire, I just don't have the time to do it.
So while I'm still doing Wild Cards, for the most part, I'm
simply editing it, and I'm not able to write it.
My old science fiction universe, The Thousand Worlds,
I'd like to write more about that.
At one point I had a sequel to Fever Dream in mind, which I'd
like to do some days.
But at the same time, I'm also always
coming up with new ideas.
So people do ask me what I'm going to write when Ice and
Fire is finally finished, and the truth is, any answer I
give now would be meaningless.
Because it's going to take me years to finish Ice and Fire.
And by the time I do finish it, I'll be a different person
and may have had a dozen new ideas.
And it's whatever idea I am most in love with, whatever
book I most want to write when that time actually comes.
VERONICA BELMONT: Levi wants to know if there any changes
from the novel to the show that you regret, or to add a
new spin on it, that you really liked.
Any changes that you made for the show that you said, oh,
actually that works a little bit better.
GEORGE R.R. MARTIN: Well, the show is quite faithful to the
books, for the most part.
But David and Dan, David Benioff and Dan Weiss, the
showrunners, it's really their baby.
They have a very difficult job of trying to tell my story
within 10 hours with the limitations of
budget and all that.
So I understand why many of the changes that
are made are made.
We look at my own episode of "The Battle of the
Blackwater," episode nine of season two.
That was a spectacular episode.
I'm very, very pleased by the way that episode came out.
Nonetheless, would I have liked more?
Sure, I would have liked more.
I'm very greedy.
I would have liked to have the great chain across the harbor.
I would like to have the trebuchets the three great
trebuchets, the three whores, as they were called, throwing
the Antler Men across the river to smash into bloody--
--smithereens upon their ships.
I would have liked to have the ships, the two great fleets,
crashing into each other with the oars going and the ships
breaking each other apart and locking together to form that
bridge of ships that Stannis' men came streaming across from
the other bank.
I would have liked to have horses.
Knights, of course, historically were mounted
warriors, and they rode horses.
And we don't have so many horses on the show, because
horses are, number one, expensive.
And, number two, they often don't do what you
want them to do.
So you're doubling and tripling the time required to
get a shot, because the horse turned the wrong way when he
was supposed to turn the other way, et cetera.
So I would have liked to have had all of this.
But if we had added all of to "The Battle of Blackwater
Bay," we'd still be shooting it.
And it would cost as much--
TOM MERRITT: That would be the whole season.
GEORGE R.R. MARTIN: --as one of the Lord
of the Rings movies.
And it would've been impossible.
So you have to take reality into account.
That being said, I think in terms of new material, the
books are written with a stripped viewpoint structure.
I have a certain number of viewpoint characters.
Everything you see and hear is through their eyes.
So if the viewpoint character is not present, you don't see
what's going on.
Now that's not necessarily to suggest that
nothing is going on.
Lots of things are going on.
It's not like the whole world stops when a viewpoint
character isn't present.
So David and Dan, who are working in a medium that does
not have the capacity for doing viewpoints as prose
does, have opened it up.
And they've inserted scenes, like the scene between Robert
and Cersei in season one where they discuss their marriage,
no viewpoint character is present in that.
Cersei is not a viewpoint character until book four.
Robert is never viewpoint character.
Some of the scenes between Varys and Littlefinger, both
in season one and season two.
Neither of these characters is a viewpoint character.
So if Varys is meeting secretly with Littlefinger,
you're never going to find out about it in the books unless I
hide one of my characters in a curtain.
The wonderful tavern scene in "Blackwater Bay," which was
added by David and Dan with the confrontation between
Bronn and The Hound, again not from the books.
Not a scene I could ever do, because there's no viewpoint
character present.
But I think all of those were terrific scenes and great
additions to the story.
VERONICA BELMONT: I think that's one thing I love about
the show so much is I think initially a lot of us were
watching the show and nitpicking almost about things
that were different from the books in a way, just because
we're such big fans.
And that's just what nerds do.
That's what we do.
But then after while, we started saying this is almost
like additional content, stuff we never would have
seen from the books.
It's still following the same storyline.
It's still dealing with the same great characters.
But now we get all this new content in a way.
And I think that's really cool.
GEORGE R.R. MARTIN: I'm very much of the nerd persuasion
myself, of course.
Much as I enjoyed The Avengers movie, and I did, the nerd in
me is still saying, where was Ant-Man.
I want Ant-Man.
He was one of the founders of The Avengers.
Get Ant-Man in there.
VERONICA BELMONT: Maybe we'll get an Ant-Man origin story
movie at some point.
Who knows?
GEORGE R.R. MARTIN: We should.
They're supposed to be working on a Ant-Man movie.
GEORGE R.R. MARTIN: Well, George, thank you so much for
taking the time to talk with us today.
We really enjoy your work.
GEORGE R.R. MARTIN: Oh, my pleasure.
Thank you for having me.
Good luck with your show.
TOM MERRITT: Thank you.
Stay with us.
More Game of Thrones goodness coming with Henry Jacoby.
Also, the world premiere of Paul and Storm's music video.
And we wrap up Tigana.
In the game of Sword and Laser, you keep
watching or you die.
Or at least you get really sad.

Sword and Laser.

VERONICA BELMONT: Welcome back to Sword and Laser.
Time to wrap up Tigana, look at the fantastic books being
released in the next two weeks, and premiere Paul and
Storm's musical plea to George RR Martin.
But first, we chatted earlier today with Henry Jacoby,
author of Game of Thrones and Philosophy, Logic Cuts Deeper
Than Swords.
What can we learn about humanity from the inhumane
actions of some of Martin's characters?
Thanks, Henry for joining us.
Can you give us an overview of the book?
Thanks for having me on.
Well, the book is part of the Wiley-Blackwell series on
philosophy and pop culture.
And the aim of the series is to introduce philosophy to the
general public.
We think philosophy's good for you, and so we want expose as
many people as possible to philosophical ideas.
And this particular book, we use the TV series, Game of
Thrones and the books on which it's based, the Song of Ice
and Fire series.
And we those as our examples when we discuss various
philosophical issues.
TOM MERRITT: Do I have to know a lot about philosophy?
Do I have to have read Kant or something?
Or can I just dive in?
HENRY JACOBY: No, not at all.
Not at all.
That's the point of these.
Most people aren't going to go into a bookstore and pick up a
copy of Kant or Aristotle or someone like that.
But they will read a book like this because they're
interested in Game of Thrones.
But yeah, this presupposes no knowledge of
philosophy at all.
VERONICA BELMONT: So other than just its popularity, what
about Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire made you
and the publisher say, this needs a closer look?
HENRY JACOBY: Well, there's a couple things I could say, a
lot of things.
I had worked with Wiley before.
I had edited their book on House and the TV show House,
and I wanted to do another book.
And the books are a lot of work, and they take a of time.
So it had to be something that I was really passionate about
and excited about.
And it had to also be something that the publishers
were excited about too.
That always doesn't go together.
And in the fall of 2010, I read that HBO was going to be
doing this series, Game of Thrones.
And I had not yet read the books, and I started
investigating them.
And everyone was raving about how great these books are.
So I started reading, and then I was instantly hooked.
And then I started pestering the people at Wiley every day
saying, we got to do this book.
We got to do this book.
And they were interested in doing it.
And finally when the show came on, they gave the go ahead.
But anyway, that's how it came about.
But why I wanted to do it about this particular one is
George Martin has created such a wonderful world, so rich and
filled with incredible characters who are so
They're morally ambiguous characters.
And they're just fun and smart.
And this whole world just cries out for more thought.
The philosophical issues just jump out at you.
There's, of course, all the Machiavellian kind of social
and political stuff going on.
And there's all the ethical issues.
And there's the stuff about the wars and prophecy
and our free will.
And there's all the magic and supernatural creatures and the
gods they worship.
So there's just so many things for a philosopher to sink his
teeth into.
It's really wonderful.
TOM MERRITT: TerpKristen on our Goodreads forum wanted to
know, "Obviously some of the topics you delve into are
applicable to the society at large.
Do you try to make any larger revelations or statements
about society and the current world?"
We really don't do a lot of that.
That's really not the kind of book it is.
But having said that, a lot of the chapters in the book
defend a certain philosophical point of view.
And that conclusion that's defended is meant to apply to
the real world too.
Let me give you a couple quick examples.
For instance, if you're talking about the relationship
between morality and happiness and you ask the question, can
an immoral person really be happy?
Well, you start talking about some characters from Game of
Thrones, like Cersei, for example, and you draw some
But the conclusions that are drawn are meant to be general
conclusions about the relationship between morality
and happiness.
Or take another example, one of the chapters argues that
chivalry's a bad idea, that it's not good for women.
And if that's true, then it's also true that it's not good
for women in our world as well.
To take one more example that I think illustrates the kind
of thing we want our readers to get from the book, there's
a chapter on the nature of a just war.
And so the chapter lists different criteria that must
be met in order for war to be considered a just war.
And then he looks at whether Robb's war, in particular,
meets those conditions.
But we would hope that someone reading that chapter would not
only then think about whether Robb's war is just, but they
would also use those ideas to think about some wars
in our world too.
TOM MERRITT: Huge thanks to Henry for taking the time to
chat with us.
If you'd like to hear more from Mr. Jacoby, pick up his
book, Game of Thrones and Philosophy, Logic Cuts Deeper
Than Swords.
Or we'll have a bonus interview with him next time.
And now it's time for a spoiler alert
as we wrap up Tigana.
VERONICA BELMONT: So I finished Tigana today.
So it's fresh in your mind.
VERONICA BELMONT: It is definitely fresh in my mind.
The big criticism on our Goodreads forum was the
flowery language.
What did you think of the writing?
VERONICA BELMONT: Well, we talked a little bit about this
in the first episode when we kicked it off, because we'd
both started reading at it.
And I loved his writing style.
I thought it was fantastic.
But I feel like people who were really into Hyperion and
the way that Dan Simmons writes will also probably be a
little more accepting of the way Guy Gavriel Kay writes his
books as well.
Because they have a similar kind of style where they
really elaborate on the scenery, on what's going on in
the characters' minds, on every little nuance of that
particular chapter.
So if you like that kind of flowery, over the top, maybe,
prose, then I think that you'll
definitely enjoy this book.
But people who like a more straightforward approach, it
may not be for them.
TOM MERRITT: And usually I'm that kind of person.
I like a Vonnegut.
I like somebody who is tight with their writing and gets
right to the point.
I still love Guy Gavriel Kay.
Now it took a little while for me to get into it, as I
mentioned last time.
But once we got the plot going, I didn't mind the long
It helped me immerse myself.
But I needed that action to suck me in first.
So it took me a while.
I think some people were less patient.
A lot of people in the Goodreads forums lemmed this
pretty early, like before chapter five.
No offense.
They couldn't get past some of the early introductions, like
with Devin's story, for example.
Because we kind of jump into Devin's story.
We get his whole childhood backstory before we really
care enough about him to want to know all of those details.
So I think that put some people off.
They were like, this is a little bit too much
information for me not really caring about
this character yet.
And it also kicked off the storylines of a lot of
different characters that we didn't pick back up
on for a while too.
So there was a sense of disconnect, I think, from the
early chapters to what we get later on in the book.
TOM MERRITT: I don't mind introducing new characters
wholesale when we shifted perspective entirely to the
island and we started to get Dianora's story.
That was fine.
I don't mind that at all.
But I do want the early descriptions and delving into
characters to pay off later.
And there is a sense that maybe Devin's character isn't
going to get his due.
But I think he does in the end.
TOM MERRITT: Well, we definitely get a
payoff to his story.
He isn't as integral to the story.
And I think that's what a lot of people reacted to.
VERONICA BELMONT: That is interesting.
Because you start off with Devin feeling as though he is
a main character.
And he is absolutely a main character.
TOM MERRITT: And the story ends with him, too.
VERONICA BELMONT: It does end with him.
But I think the central characters in this book were
really-- even though we didn't have a point of view
perspective from Alessan.
Dianora, I think, was absolutely probably one of the
top characters for me.
Baerd, I loved him as a character.
And their interplay was interesting too.
Obviously we've come back full circle to this whole incest
discussion, which happened the very first time we talked
about a Song of Ice and Fire and talked about Games of
Thrones, the very first book in that series.
TOM MERRITT: Obviously.
VERONICA BELMONT: And I don't know if that paid off.
There was a thread in Goodreads about whether the
sex scenes and whether the incest storyline between Baerd
and Dianora came to any sort of conclusion
that was worth it.
Did we need those scenes?
I'm all for having a sexy scene every once in a while in
a book-- check out my other podcast, Vaginal Fantasy--
but there didn't seem to be a reason for it.
It didn't seem to move the plot forward at all.
We just get a lot of guilty feelings from Baerd and
Dianora about it.
TOM MERRITT: And that's a really interesting point.
Because when that scene between Dianora and Baerd was
played out, I thought, OK, I don't really love this.
But it obviously is going to be integral in some way.
There's going to be some definitive reason why we're
learning all of this backstory.
And when we got to the point at the end of the book-- and
this is huge spoilers, if you're wading into this--
we get to the point at the end of the book when Dianora has
gone off, given the instructions to relate her
story, and it's not related.
And so Baerd doesn't know that was Dianora.
Doesn't have that connection.
I'm actually OK with that, in and of itself.
I kind of feel like instead of a pat, expected ending, it's
like oh, we're left, like in real life, with something that
just doesn't work out the way it's supposed to.
And I'm fine.
I feel good for Baerd that he's not going to have these
conflicted feelings about Dianora anymore.
But then I wonder, well, why did I have to know all this
stuff about his past with Dianora?
Was it just to build up the tension for that point?
TOM MERRITT: You could have just said Baerd really missed
his sister.
You didn't have to go into the whole incest thing.
When I got to that point in the book, the very, very end
where the truth is not told, even though Dianora wanted the
truth be told, and I felt like at first that I was really
upset by it.
I was like oh, just tell them.
Why aren't you telling them?
Why aren't you telling them also about Prince Valentin?
I was really shocked about that, because I thought that
was going to be a major plot reveal.
And it doesn't happen.

TOM MERRITT: I liked that too.
But you didn't like, it sounds like.
VERONICA BELMONT: I didn't like it at first.
And then when I actually listened to the author's
commentary, when I listened to Guy Gavriel Kay explain some
of his motivations behind the storyline points, and it's
like well, would it have done any good?
Is it better this way?
Yes, they don't know the true story, but would it have made
it more painful for Baerd and for Alessan to know the full
truth of the situation with Dianora and Braden?
I'm saying his name wrong.
I feel like the point that Kay seemed to be trying to make--
and he says this in that commentary you're
is that the past is important, but we can overemphasize the
importance of it.
And what is the line that we shouldn't cross in trying to
achieve our goals of remembering the past or
vengeance for past wrongs?
And he explores those.
Should Alessan have bound the magician?
Should he have done that at all?
It's a violation of his rights, and he does the right
thing in the end.
But is that by any means necessary sort of situation?
I was kind of a jerk move to put it in PG territory.
But it did serve an end.
But at the end, he did come over to their side on his own
free will, which was cool.
More interestingly, I like to think had the Palm been left
alone, had Alberico and Brandin Ygrath had stayed the
two tyrants, was it really in that bad of a place?
Minus the whole Tigana situation, the roads were
safer because of Alberico.
TOM MERRITT: Well, that's the trains run on time defense for
any kind of dictator.
TOM MERRITT: And I think it's less interesting with Alberico
than it is with Brandin.
Because Brandin almost comes all the way around, except for
the curse on Tigana, to the point
where you're like actually--
VERONICA BELMONT: I kind of like him.
TOM MERRITT: --he does like the Palm, and Dianora has
changed him.
And maybe he could unite the Palm.
But of course, he's still got that one last thing.
He's got his revenge that he won't let go of.
So nothing is ever a clear-cut situation.
And that's what I like.
It's more interesting that way.
VERONICA BELMONT: He's a very complicated character.
And I thought my favorite storyline was probably Dianora
and Brandin.
I think that was my favorite part of the tale.
And I thought she was a great character.
She was struggling so much internally with all that
turmoil of missing Baerd, feeling like she had to follow
through with this--
what's the word I'm looking for?-- this promise that she
made to herself years and years ago to--
TOM MERRITT: The twin snakes--
To assassinate--
TOM MERRITT: --around her heart.
TOM MERRITT: Do you think she should have assassinated him?
VERONICA BELMONT: I don't know if at that point it would've
been true to herself.
So I think it worked out well in the end.
I was sad when she had to kind of follow the Risekla's vision
and meet her own end.
But I think she was better off that way than going the route
of staying on that hilltop--
TOM MERRITT: Well, she's going to end up in the ocean
drowning anyway.
She should have done it in the cause of
defeating Brandin, right?
VERONICA BELMONT: But if she had done that, none of the
stuff that happened between the two tyrants fighting would
have happened.
TOM MERRITT: She didn't know that.
VERONICA BELMONT: She didn't know that, but it was part of
the, not the prophecy, I guess, but it was fate.
TOM MERRITT: The balance, yeah.
It was totally fate.
TOM MERRITT: The one last mystery that I wish I had been
resolved is why Alessan always had to have the blue wine.
It's our third drink, by the way, so cheers.
We never find that out, do we?
Did I miss something?
VERONICA BELMONT: Yeah, they explained it in the book.
They explained it.
I don't remember what the answer was, but
they explained it.
TOM MERRITT: All right.
I'm going to have to go back, because I don't remember that.
VERONICA BELMONT: There was the reason.
I just can't remember it right now, because I've had three
glasses of wine.
TOM MERRITT: Of the blue wine, which isn't really wine.

Well, that's it for this month's book pick.
But the vote for our July laser pick is still going on
at Goodreads.
So head over there and cast your vote.
In case you're looking for even more to read, let's check
the calendar.

On June 26, Caliban's War by James SA Corey, the sequel to
Leviathan Wakes brings you a super soldier, interplanetary
war, and more on that protomolecule
you know and revile.
VERONICA BELMONT: Also on June 26, Sky Dragons, Dragonriders
of Pern by Anne McCaffrey and Todd McCaffrey, the final
installment in the riveting Pern saga.
TOM MERRITT: And again on June 26, Edge by Koji Suzuki.
California falling into the sea doesn't seem laughable
anymore when the world is falling apart because of
quantum instability.
Particle physics and horror, I love this.
VERONICA BELMONT: Moving ahead to July 3, the 29th annual
collection of the year's best science fiction brings
together masters of the field, like Robert Reid, Alastair
Reynolds, Damien Broderick, Elizabeth Bear, Paul McAuley,
and John Barnes It's the definitive must-read anthology
for the year.
TOM MERRITT: And finally, July 3 also brings us The
Apocalypse Codex, a Laundry Files novel by Charles Stross.
Computational demonologist Bob Howard is on the track for a
promotion in the super secret British government agency
tasked with defending the realm from occult threats.
But then he gets assigned to external assets, and it all
falls apart.
VERONICA BELMONT: Well, that sounds boring.
What are you gonna do?
TOM MERRITT: No, actually I don't think it's going to be
very boring.
VERONICA BELMONT: No, you don't think so?
TOM MERRITT: It's all falling apart!
VERONICA BELMONT: --the entire plot is based on?
TOM MERRITT: Charles Stross does not do boring.
Well, we are almost out of time.
We have some thin leek soup and trenchers to go eat.
But before we go, let's take a quick look at Goodreads.
That's good.
TOM MERRITT: Oh, sorry.
Chris has been doing some sketches while listening to
the audiobook of Tigana and posted one of his sketches up
on Goodreads.
Nice Devin.
He's hanging from the tree.
VERONICA BELMONT: Upside down from the tree,
trying to make himself.
TOM MERRITT: If you have some artwork of your own you'd like
to share, add it to the thread,
VERONICA BELMONT: You really shouldn't read Goodreads
threads with your mouth full.
TOM MERRITT: I'm sorry.
I apologize.
VERONICA BELMONT: It's really rude.
And on a sad note, right after we recorded our last show, Ray
Bradbury passed away.
Tributes have been going on everywhere.
And one of our favorites is Neil Gaiman reading his short
story "The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury."
TOM MERRITT: Fantastic read.
Which you can find on SoundCloud or over at
We've had lots of memorial threads in the
Goodreads forum too.
Tamahome started one where folks are sharing their
favorite Bradbury short stories.
If you have one to share or want a great list of stories
to read, check out the thread in the Sword and Laser group
at Goodreads.
He will be greatly missed.
TOM MERRITT: Absolutely.
Well, thanks everybody for watching our
Game of Thrones special.
You can subscribe to our YouTube channel at
Email us,
But now, as promised, the world premiere of Paul and
Storm's plea to George RR Martin, "Write Like the Wind."
if you like it you can share it with friends and thumbs up
it at the Geek and Sundry channel,
Enjoy everybody!


PAUL AND STORM: (SINGING) "George RR Martin, please
write and write faster.
You're not going to get any younger, you know.
Winter is coming.
I'm growing impatient, and you've still got two whole
damn books left to go.
So write, George, write like the wind."
I curse the day that my friend ever loaned me an old
dog-eared paperback called Game of Thrones.
How could I know that the seed would grow into an addiction
that held me right down to my bones?
Now five books later, I lurk with the masses, indignant,
entitled and waiting for word that the great bearded glacier
has finally published 900 more pages of crack for the nerds.
Why does every new verse of your song keep taking you so
goddamn long?
George RR Martin, please write and write faster.
Please give us boiled leather and sigils and steel.
We need our allotment of incest and intrigue and
six-page descriptions of very last meal.
So write, George, write like the wind.

Lewis took five years to chronicle Narnia.
Tolkien had 12 years, and Rowling took 10.
Lucas spent nearly three decades on Star Wars, and we
all know how that one turned out in the end.
You're not our bitch, and you're not a machine.
And we don't mean to dictate how you spend your days.
But please bear in mind, in the time that you've had,
William Shakespeare turned out 35 frigging plays.
And if you keep writing so slow, you'll
hold up the HBO show.

George RR Martin, please write and write faster.
Because we won't stop whining until we're appeased.
Crap out the chapters, and George, while you're at it,
stop killing our favorite characters, please.
And write, George, write like the wind.
George RR Martin, please write and write faster.
Before you are dead, George, please write like the wind."
Sword and Laser.

PAUL AND STORM: (SINGING) "And write, George,
write like the wind.
George RR Martin, please write and write faster.
Before you are dead, George, please write like the wind."