Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Boiled Leather Audio Hour 44

A Year of Ice and Fire with Elio M. García, Jr. and Linda Antonsson

Prepare for a guided tour of The World of Ice and Fire! The co-authors of George R.R. Martin’s ambitious sourcebook for A Song of Ice and Fire — and longtime friends of the podcast — Elio M. García, Jr. and Linda Antonsson join us to talk about the book, which hit stores in time for the holiday season one year ago. Beginning with a look back over TWoIaF’s reception over the past year, our chat ranges from a discussion of fanfiction to the influence of Lovecraft and Howard; the way using in-world maesters as narrators shaped the writing; the material left on the cutting room floor to avoid spoiling future stories—and the stuff inserted to lay the groundwork for them; and, of course, what’s up with the Deep Ones. And we close with the big question: Are there future collaborations on the history of the setting in store?

Download Episode 44

Additional links:
Our first episode on the book.
Our roundtable discussion of it with Steven Attewell and Amin Javadi.
Sean’s Rolling Stone piece on the book.
Sean’s essay on the Deep Ones.
Stefan’s Tower of the Hand piece on the book.
George, Elio, and Linda’s promotional appearance in Stockholm.
Previous episodes.
Podcast RSS feed.
iTunes page.
Sean’s blog.
Stefan’s blog.


  1. Hey, don't you guys find it at least a little bit funny to have the statements "too many fans are so hooked to their interpretation of the narrative - for example calling the Star Wars prequels (by George Lucas) fan-fiction is utterly ridiculous" and then your mantra "we always concentrate on the narrative aspect when criticizing fan theories" back to back? I don't know if you noticed, but you're also not George RR Martin :-)

    Also related to the first statement. Based on that logic, is it fair to criticize D&D (the show creators) f.e. for the Sansa and/or Jaime/Cersei rape scene for narrative reasons or destruction of character especially in the moment or right after we've watched the scene itself, without knowing where the story will lead to? This statement does not infringe on any other form of justified or unjustified criticism of such scenes... It's just the narrative/character argument that always bums me out, again especially hence the narrative isn't even told yet and the people writing those scenes are the ones telling said narrative. We do agree that the show and the books are two different worlds at that point, I guess?!

    My (second to) last point. I do agree with legal or "moral" reasoning, and that's (George's endorsement) what makes the difference for me, but are you sure that real real fan-fiction (would) take away from the books, hence we do accept that the show and the books are two universes - why not the books and fan narratives..?

    Last point: Sorry Stefan, but Sean is at least and definitely right about two things, of course: 1) the LotR books and 2) said Star Wars prequels ;-)

    1. I'm not quite sure where the Star-Wars-thing is going, could you explain that to me?

      And of course it's a problem not knowing where the narrative go, but with a rape, there are only so many directions a narrative can take. A rape's a rape. And the critique usually was more in the direction of moviemaking (Jaime/Cersei not intended as rape, Sansa's a bad decision to see and not imply) and not so much on the event per se.

      I'm not that much against fanfiction, so I can't really say. I'm not reading the stuff anyway.

      No. ^^

    2. It was more like a remark, not a too serious criticism. What I was trying to point out is the matter of perspective. The people who get angry at both George's and hang on to their interpretation of the narrative are not that different from you guys.
      You judge fan-theories based on narrative, but let's say George makes Howland Reed the High Sparrow, Bloodraven evil and Victarion Greyjoy Azor Ahai (he is the creator after all, I think your reaction would not be that different from the fans you were ridiculing for their reaction to the Star wars prequels or TWOIAF, I guess :-)

      I get the Jaime/Cersei confusion, but let's say it was rape and intended as such, and that's the only way you could see it the first time? I also get the visceral reaction to rape, and the question, if you can ever depict rape in on TV (given the real acts of rape in society, how many women are affected by that etc) - but if you say you can depict it in principal, than it's more about the aftermath (it may be limited, but there are still a lot of options how a rape can impact the character and hence the narrative) you cannot judge that the moment you see it. I don't think the criticism was mainly about moviemaking, but I don't wanted to bring back that discussion, just to point out that D&D are the creators and it's the story they are telling - so it's also the exact same situation than the Lucas/Star Wars prequels thing - that they're still in the process of telling the story is only a minor aspect...

      That's the beauty about everything written tho, you can read it - or not :-)

    3. Yeah, I mean, if GRRM did that, it would be bad writing, and we would criticize it accordingly. Only, GRRM so far has produced masterful writing, whereas George Lucas...didn't. :)

      I don't want to rehash the rape debate too much either, so suffice to say that a good many people had their problems with his regardless of how it will play out later. As with Jaime/Cersei or the gratouitous nudity of earlier seasons, I'd expect it to be scaled back in future seasons.

  2. Good comment. I kind of suspected that Elio and Linda define fanfic (especially in the negative sense) in a way that would not include their roleplaying, TWOIAF, but would include Game of Thrones.

    On a similar note, was kind of weird hearing such cogent discussion given what I know of Linda's toxic online personality. Would never have thought it was the same person.

    1. I don't know anything about the problems people seem to have with Linda. We had the two on the podcast before, I talked to her before, never encountered any "toxic" personality traits.

    2. Read her twitter account...

      I guess it probably depends on one's feelings about the show. The less one likes it, the more reasonable she probably seems.

  3. I was interested in your question about what upcoming developments may have been introduced in this book. And what I got from their answers was that Jon Snow's mother is a Deep One.