Game of Thrones prequel

2017 is shaping up to be quite a year for A Song of Ice and Fire fans. HBO’s Game of Thrones will return this summer for its penultimate season; the sixth novel, titled The Winds of Winter, may actually be near the finish line; and now author George R.R. Martin has revealed that a new short story titled “The Sons of the Dragon” will be released to fill in gaps in Westeros’ increasingly complex history.

Early word about the story arrived a few days ago, but Martin took to his blog to reveal the full details after the internet muddled the finer points. “The Sons of the Dragon” will be included in a short story anthology titled The Book of Swords, which will be edited by Hugo Award winner Gardner Dozois. This follows the path of previous A Song of Ice and Fire stories “The Princess and the Queen” and “The Rogue Prince,” both of which were published in collections Martin himself edited.

As he explained in a blog post, “The Sons of the Dragon” will be a history story recounting the reign of a few early Targaryen kings:

I have a story in the book. “The Sons of the Dragon” is the title. Those of you who enjoyed “The Princess and the Queen” in DANGEROUS WOMEN and “The Rogue Prince” in ROGUES will probably like this one too. It’s water from the same well. A history rather than a traditional narrative. A lot of telling, only a little showing. (The opposite of what I do in my novels). But if you’re fascinated by the politics of Westeros, as many of my readers seem to be, you should enjoy it. As the title suggests, “The Sons of the Dragon” chronicles the reigns of the second and third Targaryen kings, Aenys I and Maegor the Cruel, along with their mothers, wives, sisters, children, friends, enemies, and rivals. If you’re read something to that effect on the web, good, that much is right.

And if you’re one of those people wondering how Martin found time to write a new short story when he’s so deep in his newest novel, wonder no longer – the story was actually written several years ago for The World of Ice and Fire, the incredible tome (seriously, all fans should own one) that delves into Westeros’ lengthy faux history. However, it was trimmed when the book became too long:

Long-time lurkers on this site will recall that several years ago, when we were working on the gorgeous illustrated worldbook/ concordance that was eventually published as THE WORLD OF ICE & FIRE, I wrote a number of ‘sidebar’s about Westerosi history. Actually, I got rather carried away, until I found I had written 350,000 words of sidebars for a book that was supposed to have only 50,000 words of text (it ended up having a lot more that that, actually). Since I had only reached the regency of Aegon III the Dragonbane, and had largely skipped over Jaehaerys I the Conciliator, however, it became apparent that my sidebars were going to burst the book.

So while Game of Thrones is sprinting toward its endgame, know that you’ll still have other opportunities to explore the bloody land of Westeros in the years ahead. How about that spin-off, HBO?

In case you’re curious, here is the complete list of stories that will be included in The Book of Swords. I’m particularly excited to read a new Scott Lynch tale.

Introduction by Gardner Dozois
THE BEST MAN WINS, by K.J. Parker
HIS FATHER’S SWORD, by Robin Hobb
THE HIDDEN GIRL, by Ken Liu
THE SWORD OF DESTINY, by Matthew Hughes
“I AM A HANDSOME MAN,” SAID APOLLO CROW, by Kate Elliott
THE TRIUMPH OF VIRTUE, by Walter Jon Williams
THE MOCKING TOWER, by Daniel Abraham
HRUNTING, by C.J. Cherryh
A LONG, COLD TRAIL, by Garth Nix
WHEN I WAS A HIGHWAYMAN, by Ellen Kushner
THE SMOKE OF GOLD IS GLORY by Scott Lynch
THE COLGRID CONUNDRUM, by Rich Larson
THE KING’S EVIL, by Elizabeth Bear
WATERFALLING, by Lavie Tidhar
THE SWORD TYRASTE, by Cecelia Holland
THE SONS OF THE DRAGON, by George R.R. Martin

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