“average writer publishes about 1 book a decade” factoid actualy just statistical error. average writer publishes several books per decade. Westeros Georg, who lives in a new mexico and only publishes when the stars are aligned , is an outlier adn should not have been counted
“‘It’s just a stupid sword,’ she said, aloud this time… But it wasn’t. Needle was Robb and Bran and Rickon, her mother and her father, even Sansa. Needle was Winterfell’s grey walls, and the laughter of its people. Needle was the summer snows, Old Nan’s stories, the heart tree with its red leaves and scary face, the warm earthy smell of the glass gardens, the sound of the north wind rattling the shutters of her room. Needle was Jon Snow’s smile.”
Since I know you're a fan of stupid theories being debunked: do you have any favorite SSMs or the like that have rendered those theories moot? Or more broadly, any bits of information that you've found particularly intriguing or which challenged any assumptions of yours?
As for challenging my assumptions and theories – probably the biggest one was his “NO” response to when his editor asked if Coldhands was Benjen Stark. That was very annoying, because I really did believe Coldhands was Benjen. (Hell, the GoT guys seem to have said fuck it and gone with that theory anyway, which should tell you a lot about the show and its relationship to the upcoming books, rather.) I don’t think the Waterstones pitch letter actually challenged anything I believed, even though it was extremely revealing about GRRM’s original ideas about ASOIAF – because, like, when people do try to bring up the original plot as proof of something or the other, I respond “so you think Jaime’s going to murder everyone and take the throne, then? And that Tyrion’s going to have a deadly rivalry with Jon over Arya’s love?” because honestly that’s just as valid. :D
Anyway, unfortunately I don’t tag posts with SSMs or interviews (I should, I
haven’t, it’s probably too hard to fix now) so I can’t find all of my
favorites right now, alas. (My GRRM tag has a lot, but I know not everything.) I very much recommend going to the So Spake Martin archives and reading them all, though, there’s so much good stuff in there. A lot which aren’t picked up by the SSM search engine, too, because they’re links to interviews, and oh man can those interviews be amazing. (Like this one! And this one! And this one! And… ok, I’ll stop now.)
Re: Debunking theories: is it possible GRRM doesn't always tell the truth when confirming or denying theories? He's always warning us about unreliable narrators, and I doubt he'd give away a twist just because someone asked him at a Comicon or something. I'm thinking specifically of Benjen/Coldhands because, come on, Coldhands is soooo Benjen and maybe confirming that now would spoil some TWOW reveal north of the Wall...
The situation with Benjen and Coldhands is particularly notable because GRRM wasn’t communicating with a fan – he was writing to his editor. (OK, his editor is a fan, but it’s not the same thing.) Anne Groell got to read ADWD before anyone else, she got the manuscript as it was being written so that she could have it edited and ready to go as soon as possible after it was completed. She knows what’s in all the chapters that were cut from ADWD and put into TWOW, she’s read them already. (Heck, she’s the one who pushed him to cut one sequence.) The bond between an author and editor is one of deep trust and commitment – it’s like a marriage, almost, that produces baby books. ;)
So GRRM has less than zero reason to lie to his editor in any way whatsoever – so when she asked if Benjen is Coldhands and he replied “NO”, there’s not really any other way to take it. OK, so, I briefly hoped that “NO” might mean “no don’t ask me I’m not telling you right now”, but I really don’t think that anymore. There’s too many problems with Benjen being Coldhands, ranging from the CotF saying he died long ago, to his words in a strange language while praying over the body of his elk, to the fact that Bran doesn’t recognize him at all, not in the slightest. Benjen is doing something else. I’ll be damned if I know what exactly, he’s totally Chekhov’s Stark, and heaven knows he might have even met Coldhands… but they’re not the same person.
Yeah, when GRRM doesn’t want to confirm
or deny something, he often gives a specifically coy answer - saying
Tywin would flog anyone who suggested he had a bastard, calling the idea
of Tywin building the tunnel to Chataya’s an “interesting theory”,
saying “no comment” when asked if Marei was Tyrion’s daughter, only
confining Rhaenys had died during the Sack of King’s Landing. If he were
going to lie, he could’ve lied at all of those opportunities.