How far is it to Winterfell again?
We may not be any closer to getting the next novel in George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, but that doesn’t mean we’re completely without new Game of Thrones material.
On Thursday, Martin took to his website to share a new extract from his upcoming Targaryen history Fire & Blood.
The action may not be set in the same era as that of Daenerys and Jon Snow, but the family names are the same. And, perhaps more importantly, the settings.
I’m happy to be the first to share this exclusive look at my upcoming imaginary historical account of Westeros and the Targaryen Lords in FIRE & BLOOD set to release Nov. 20th fully illustrated by Doug Wheatly https://t.co/bqcQvVkFH6 https://t.co/iP2yw2aedS pic.twitter.com/kWffaDGCWb
— George RR Martin (@GRRMspeaking) September 27, 2018
Let’s take a closer look at two passages in particular, and what they might mean for the final season of Thrones…
The distance between The Wall and Winterfell
‘In the North, Queen Alysanne grew restless with waiting, and decided to take her leave of Winterfell for a time and visit the men of the Night’s Watch at Castle Black. The distance was not negligible, even flying; Her Grace landed at the Last Hearth and several smaller keeps and holdfasts on her way, to the surprise and delight of their lords, whilst a portion of her tail scrambled after her (the rest remained at Winterfell).’
We know it takes a while to cover the distance between Winterell and The Wall when on foot (just ask Bran), but until now we haven’t had much info on how long it takes to fly. The last time we saw the Night King, though, it seemed like this was a journey he was about to embark on.
The good news for the current residents of Winterfell? According to Fire & Blood, the distance is “not negligible, even flying” — so much so that Queen Alysanne actually makes several stops en route. This means that even though the Night King has now breached The Wall, it’ll still be a few days — at least — before he rocks up at the Northern capital on his ice dragon’s back.
Dragons and The Wall
‘The men of the Night’s Watch were as thunderstruck by the queen’s dragon as the people of White Harbor had been, though the queen herself noted that Silverwing “does not like this Wall.” Though it was summer and the Wall was weeping, the chill of the ice could still be felt whenever the wind blew, and every gust would make the dragon hiss and snap. “Thrice I flew Silverwing high above Castle Black, and thrice I tried to take her north beyond the Wall,” Alysanne wrote to Jaehaerys, “but every time she veered back south again and refused to go. Never before has she refused to take me where I wished to go. I laughed about it when I came down again, so the black brothers would not realize anything was amiss, but it troubled me then and it troubles me still.”’
This is an interesting one. Even though we’ve recently seen a dragon go beyond The Wall in Game of Thrones — poor old Viserion — it turns out they don’t like it all that much.
In Fire & Blood, for instance, Queen Alysanne’s dragon literally refuses to do it. This may be a dynamic that showrunners decided to scrap in the TV show, of course, but it’ll be interesting to see if Drogon and Rhaegal have any issues in the final season if they have to venture that far North…
Fire and Blood: 300 Years Before A Game of Thrones will be published Nov. 20 2018.