The Winds of Winter is not out yet and yes, George R.R. Martin does want you to stop asking about it. Fans are just going to have to wait through an actual generation-long winter before they can get their hands on that book. However, Martin is still gracing us with a brand new book in the Song of Ice and Fire series this fall: Maester Martin is taking us way back to 300 years before Jon and Dany and Tyrion, when dragons ruled the Westerosi skies. And while I, like all of you other nerds, am definitely miffed to Fire & Blood, a history of House Targaryen. still be waiting on the next proper sequel... I'm also more than a little pumped to geek out on dragon wars while we wait.
I mean, look, if this book is anything like the
World of Ice and Fire book, it's probably going to be several hundred pages of Martin's world-building and notes on all the backstory that he couldn't cram into the main series and I'm very OK with that. When it comes to the Targaryens in particular, I think we can look forward to quite a few sneaky references and possibly even a few more clues to uncovering some of ASOIAF's biggest secrets. Here are a few of the mysteries that Fire & Blood might finally give us some info on: Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin, $20, Amazon or Indiebound
What really happened at Summerhall?
Before lil' Dany and Viserys were bumming around Essos looking for an army, there were actually quite a few Targaryens in Westeros. By the time we jump into the story in
A Game of Thrones, however, almost all of the Targaryens have been wiped out, first by the Tragedy at Summerhall, and then by King Robert and his cronies. We know that whatever happened at Summerhall started with King Aegon V "Egg" Targaryen trying to hatch some dragon eggs, and that it ended with mass death in a grisly fire... but that's all we know. Could Fire & Blood shed some light on that fateful night when the Targaryens goofed up so badly they nearly wiped out their whole dynasty?
Who is Jenny of Oldstones?
All of King Egg's kids married for love — his son Duncan even gave up the throne in order to marry a strange commoner girl called Jenny of Oldstones. All we know about Jenny so far is that she was BFFs with an old woods witch known as the Ghost of High Heart, who has strong Children of the Forests vibes. And Jenny was pretty weird and witchy herself. She died in the fire at Summerhall with her husband. But could she be connected to all the Children of the Forest/White Walker weirdness? Did she have a role in the funky Summerhall dragon summoning spell? More witches, please, George.
How did Brynden Rivers become the Three-Eyed Crow?
Brynden Rivers, A.K.A. Lord Bloodraven, was a cool goth bastard of House Targaryen. He broke some rules, wound up on the Wall... and then disappeared. He pops up in the main series as lil' Bran Stark's creepy tree friend, the Three-Eyed Crow (or the Three-Eyed Raven in the TV show). So, uh... what happened there? How does one go from a bloodthirsty Targaryen to a hippie-dippy tree wizard? Is the position only open to Starks and Targaryens? Who was the fun bird-man
before Brynden got there, anyway?
Are there any Blackfyres left?
The Blackfyres were a bastard branch of House Targaryen, who tried to rise up and steal the throne from their "legitimate" siblings. They were eventually chased off to Essos, where they started a band of mercenaries called the Golden Company. It's been stated a couple of times that the Blackfyres are all dead "in the male line" but... that sure opens things up for some Lady Blackfyres kicking around Martin's imagination.
What’s up with Shiera Seastar?
George, you can't just casually mention that there was once a mega-hot Targaryen bastard named Shiera Seastar who bathed in blood and maybe was a sorceress and then not elaborate further? What's going on with this girl? Why did she refuse to ever get married? Who is she, and does she want to hang out some time?
During the Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons, Martin has hinted at a whole slew of interesting characters. Take Nettles, for instance: a common girl who became a dragon rider and then
straight up disappeared with her dragon when the war was over. Where did she go? Is it possible that there's another dragon somewhere on Eartheros that isn't one of Dany's babies?
What happened to Tyrion’s fun uncle?
Poor Tyrion doesn't get along with most of his family. But he once had a super fun Uncle Gerion who sailed off to Old Valyria and never returned... what's up with that?
Fire & Blood might not get too deep into Lannister family history, but I'm guessing that there will be some sort of hints about why the Targaryen's ancestral homeland of Valyria and the Smoking Sea is now a deadly dangerous no-go zone.
Where did Dany’s dragon eggs come from?
Does anyone else think it's... kind of weird that Illyrio just had three dragon eggs lying around to give away? I mean... which dragon did they come from? Who owned them before Illyrio? Did he
really get them from far off Asshai, or were they Targaryen dragon eggs to begin with?
Just how heat-resistant are the Targaryens?
Look, they can't be fire proof
, because so many of them died in that fire that one time! But we know that Dany survived immolation at least once, and sweet baby Jon Snow gets away with fairly mild burns when he's faced with flames. So what gives? Are we going to get a definitive answer on exactly how flammable this family is, or what?
What caused the Doom of Valyria?
OK, I seriously doubt we're going to get a clear answer with this one, but I would still like to know. Before Aegon the Conqueror, the Targaryens were a family of Old Valyria, which was utterly destroyed in a vague cataclysm.
Maybe we'll get a few hints about what that disaster was and how it brought down an entire civilization? It seems to be volcano-adjacent, but I wouldn't put it past George to tie the Doom of Valyria in with his Long Night climate change analogy.
Are the dragons and the White Walkers connected?
So... the series is called The Song of Ice and Fire. It seems
pretty clear that the dragons fall on the Fire side of that binary, along with the Targaryens, and the Starks and the White Walkers are out there repping Ice. Is there a connection between dragons and White Walkers, though? It sure does seem like Dany's dragons have brought magic back to Westeros and Essos in a big way. And if this is a history of dragons in the Seven Kingdoms, then I'm willing to bet they've stirred up weird magic before, too.