Not a Blog

Stuff and Nonsense

December 28, 2022 at 2:21 pm
Profile Pic

Another Christmas has come and gone, and the New Year looms just ahead.   Where the hell does all the time go?

I did take a few days off for the holidays, I confess.   Shame on me, I guess.   But now I am back in the salt mine, working… working on so many bloody things, my head may soon explode.   Yes, WINDS OF WINTER, yes, yes.   And HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, season two.   And several of the other successor shows that we’re developing with HBO.  (Some of those are moving faster than others, as is always the case with development.   None have been greenlit yet, though we are hoping… maybe soon.  A couple have been shelved, but I would not agree that they are dead.   You can take something off the shelf as easily as you can put it on the shelf.  All the changes at HBO Max have impacted us, certainly).   We are also still developing the Wild Cards tv series for Peacock, based (largely) on FORT FREAK.   And I have Wild Cards books to edit.  Oh, and did I forget WINDS OF WINTER?  No, of course I didn’t.   But if I ever did, I know you folks will remind me.

There’s also the railroad, the bookstore, and the theatre.   Thankfully, I have great people doing most of the work on those.

I was on the road, in New York City and Chicago, from late October through the middle of November, promoting the new illustrated book, RISE OF THE DRAGON.   I was doing a series of blog posts about the trip, you will recall.   The interview with David Anthony Durham, the visit to Kevin Smith’s theatre in Jersey,  my appearance on the Colbert Show.   You can find links to all of those down below.

I wasn’t FINISHED, though.  I also did a talk with Neil Gaiman at the Symphony Space in NYC.  I cannot link to that one, alas.  There were reporters present, however, and there have been a number of stories online about our discussion about adaptations… a subject we both have strong opinions on.  Neil and I  talked about a lot of things as well.   It was a fun event.   I had dinners with Vincent d’Onofrio and Joe Tracz and my friends at Tor/ Macmillan and Random House/ Bantam as well, and saw a few Broadway shows (DEATH OF A SALESMAN, THE MUSIC MAN, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, and SIX, fyi).   Then I flew off to Chicago for a presentation at Northwestern… which DOES deserve its own post, so I will try to get to that soon.

Since I do not travel with a computer, I returned home to 2000 emails.   Took me a while to catch up, even though 1500 of them were spam.

I taped all the games the Jets and Giants played while I was on the road, and tried to avoid hearing the scores (not entirely successfully).   Turns out both teams did pretty well while I was travelling (and not watching).  Since I have been back, however… well, this past week the G-Men lost a heartbreaker to the Vikings, and the Jets failed to turn up for their game against the Jags.  (Please, Mike White, get well soon).   Life is meaningless and full of pain.   Clearly, the Football Gods hate me.   Maybe they are pissed off about WINDS being so late too…

I meant to say a few words about some TV shows and movies we’ve enjoyed.   I can see why THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN is getting so much acclaim, even though there aren’t any banshees in it.   Brilliant performances by Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson.   A powerful story, one I will long remember… but damn, so sad.   I see people calling it a comedy.    Really?   OK, but that’s dark humor.    Parris and I have also been enjoying EXTRAORDINARY ATTORNEY WOO.  Not a new show, I gather, but it was new to us.   (So much good TV right now).   I hope there’s more coming of that one.   We were very happy to hear that SANDMAN has been renewed for a second season.   Took them long enough, but better late than never.   And watching WHITE LOTUS 2 on HBO made me want to go visit Sicily… but I won’t, not until WINDS is done and delivered, I promised.

We also watched some holiday favorites.   Several versions of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, A CHRISTMAS STORY, and IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE.   And yes, I get it, life would really have been horrible for a lot of people if George Bailey had never been born… but hey, am I the only one who thinks that Potterville looks a lot livelier at night than Bedford Falls?

We haven’t seen the new AVATAR yet, but it’s high on our list.   So is BABYLON, though that one is getting mixed reviews.

Oh, and awards season is at hand, and congratulations are due to HOUSE OF THE DRAGON and Emma d’Arcy for their Golden Globes nominations, and to Milly Alcock, Matt Smith, and the show for the Critic’s Choice Award nods.   Well deserved.  Finger and toes crossed for all of them.   But hey, when the Emmy nominations come out, I will be hoping that Paddy Considine, Steve Toussaint. Olivia Cooke, and Emily Carey get some love as well.  They were all extraordinary.

I also want to thank all my fans and readers, who made RISE OF THE DRAGON such a success.   We have been hitting bestseller lists all over the world, I am pleased to say.  I hope all of you enjoyed the art as much as I did.   (And if you have not snagged a copy yet, autographed copies are still available from Beastly Books in Santa Fe.   The Strand in NYC may have some signed copies left as well, though I would not bet on that).


Current Mood: busy busy

Ho Ho Ho

December 26, 2022 at 3:23 pm
Profile Pic

Happy Boxing Day, folks.

Here’s hoping all my friends, fans, readers, and viewers had a great Christmas.  I hope Santa was good to you.

We had a nice couple of days here in the Land of Enchantment.   A wonderful Christmas dinner, the company of friends, eggnog and prezzies.

And of course we watched a couple of our favorite Christmas films.   A Christmas Carol — the Alastair Sim version, still the best, which is actually titled SCROOGE — and BLACKADDER’S CHRISTMAS CAROL, the funniest.

Christmas movies are one of my favorite things about Christmas.

Hope you and yours enjoyed your own holidays.

Current Mood: happy happy

A Couple of Rocks

December 23, 2022 at 5:37 pm
Profile Pic

So… about Casterly Rock…

The seat of House Lannister has been mentioned hundreds of times in the five published novels of A SONG OF ICE & FIRE, but the story has never actually gone there… yet.   Oh, from time to time Tyrion or Jaime or Cersei have thought back to something or other that happened at the Rock in years past, but aside from those memories and quasi-flashbacks we have never actually seen the Rock… or Lannisport, the city that has grown up near its feet.

This seems to have led to a certain amount of confusion as to what Casterly Rock looks like.

Let me put that to rest.

Here is Casterly Rock, as painted by Ted Nasmith for the Ice & Fire calendar for 2011, the “castle” calendar.  The same images were also used in the worldbook/ concordance THE WORLD OF ICE & FIRE.  Nobody does castles better than Nasmith.   He and I consulted frequently when he was doing the art.   There are a few of the images that are not quite as I imagined them… but he absolutely NAILED Casterly Rock.

Take a look.   (And if you’d like to see a larger, crisper image, it’s there in the worldbook).

Lannisport is not in the image, you will note.   If this were a photograph rather than a painting, one could say that the picture was likely taken from the docks and/or city walls of Lannisport; the angle is correct.   This is just the Rock itself.

Ted got all the little details right.  The great stone stairway on the south face, in the shadow, leading up the Rock’s main entrance.   The sea gates at the base, large enough for galleys and cogs to sail into the caverns under the stone, where the Lannisters have their own (protected) docks.   The two rocky protrusions jutting out into the sea on either side of the caves; looked at from the south, they evoke a lion’s paws, and the Rock itself resembles a crouching lion, one of the inspirations for the heraldic imagery of the Lannisters and the Casterlys before them.  There’s also the watchtower on top of the Rock… and if you look very closely, here and there scattered up and down the face of the mount, you can see windows and arrow slits.   They seem small, but that is part illusion.   The Rock itself is very large.   Massive.

As I have mentioned in half a hundred interviews over the years, when I am doing my worldbuilding, I often start with some real world event or location, and “turn it up to 11.”   That’s a SPINAL TAP reference, of course, and maybe not precise.  In some cases I turn it up to 111, or 11,000.   The Wall, for instance.   Inspired by my visit to Hadrian’s Wall, but three times as long and way way taller, made of ice and magic.

The origins of Casterly Rock are somewhat similar.  This time my inspiration was the Rock of Gibraltar.

A depressing number of people only seem to know Gibraltar as the trademark for Prudential Insurance.

I grew up with that image myself.   But believe it or not, the Rock of Gibraltar is not just a stony version of the Geico Gekko.  It is a real place, a unique place, with thousands of years of history.  To the ancients it was one of the Pillars of Hercules (the other pillar is far less impressive), the gateway between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic.   Today it is a British outpost at the bottom of Spain, one of the last remnants of an empire that once spanned the globe.   I visited there some years ago, on one of my tours through Spain and Portugal, and found the place just as fascinating in person as I had in print.   It’s the home of the Barbary apes, who will hop on your back and steal your hat and eyeglasses if you let them.   There are British pubs and fish-and-chip shops all over the town at the Rock’s foot, as well as some amazing Spanish restaurants.  And INSIDE the Rock… it’s not just a big hunk of stone, y’see… are 34 miles of tunnels, more than 150 halls, chambers, and caves, Napoleonic gunports and cannons looking out over land and sea, stalagmites and stalactites, World War II bunkers,  a concert hall/ ampitheatre, a hospital (WWII era), and ancient mines.

The Rock of Gibraltar is three miles long, seven-tenths of a mile wide, and almost 1400 feet high at its highest point.  (That’s twice as tall as the Wall, for those who want a Westerosi reference).

Casterly Rock is larger.   Two leagues long from west to east… that’s approximately six miles, compared to three for Gibraltar.  Its peak is about 2100 feet high, or about 700 feet higher than Gibraltar.   I am not certain I have ever given the width of Casterly Rock, but I’d venture to say that number is greater too, say around two miles north to south.   And inside?  Yes, the Lannister stronghold has all the passages, halls, stairs, caves, mines, galleries, tunnels, chutes, and wells that Gibraltar has… and more, and more, and more.   It is thousands of years older, after all.

Turned up to 11.   Or 11,000.

Here’s the most important part.  See that little watchtower on the Nasmith painting, up on top of the Rock?   That’s the only thing on top of the Rock.  And that’s as it should be.   (The maesters  keep their rookery up there).

The Lannister castle is not ON TOP of the Rock.  It is INSIDE the Rock.   All of it.   Barracks, armories, bedchambers, grand halls, servant’s quarters, dungeons, sept, everything.  That’s what makes the Rock the strongest and most impregnable seat in all of Westeros.   The Eyrie, Winterfell, Storm’s End, they all have formidable defenses… but none of them can match Casterly Rock.   When Harren the Black built Harrenhal, he thought his immense new castle could defy even dragons.   Stone does not burn, he reasoned.   But stone does melt, and dragons fly, and… well, you know the rest.   And Balerion’s flames proved hot enough to turn Harren’s massive towers molten.

But Casterly Rock is a mountain, and its chambers and halls are buried deep inside, under tons of solid stone.   No curtain wall in Westeros, however thick, can even come close.

What does this all mean?

Maybe nothing.   I just wanted to set the record straight.   Give you all something to think about.

(And maybe put an end to all these pictures of a little rock with a castle on top).

Casterly Rock will not remain forever offstage, I hope.   I have two more novels to go, and my plan is to have one or more of my viewpoint characters visit the Rock in THE WINDS OF WINTER or A DREAM OF SPRING, so I can show you all the wonders and terrors and treasures of House Lannister first hand.   Meanwhile, feel free to ponder… could Casterly Rock stand against dragons?

We know it can be taken by apes.

Current Mood: geeky geeky

Stagecoach Foundation Silent Auction

December 13, 2022 at 6:46 pm
Profile Pic
Would you like to visit Meow Wolf’s new location in Grapevine, Texas? Would you like to… before everyone else?
Two tickets for a preview day at Meow Wolf Grapevine is just one of the many unique and exciting items you can bid on and win through our silent auction, live now at
Wait, there’s more!  A one-of-a-kind pendant,  “Strength”,  featuring a Jaeharys I Targaryen Golden Dragon Coin from Shire Post Mint,  created by world-renowned artist George Rivera ( especially made for Stagecoach Foundation!
We’re so honored and grateful that Mr. Rivera would produce such a beautiful piece in support of our silent auction. You can add this magnificent pendant to your jewelry box while also supporting Stagecoach Foundation by bidding now at:
Every dollar of winning bids goes towards funding our mission through 2023! Plus, you get one-of-a-kind experiences, books, art, and collectibles… pretty sweet, right?! Don’t wait – bidding ends and winners will be finalized THIS FRIDAY, 12/16, at 9 PM!
For more information about how Stagecoach Foundation is creating career pathways for New Mexicans in the Film & TV industry through FREE training and workforce development please visit
Brought to you by the Minions at Fevre River