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  • Author Existence Failure: Something that fans continually fear, especially since Martin is well into his sixties and it took him nearly six years to complete A Dance with Dragons. What also doesn't help is that he has gone on record to state that if he does die, he won't allow another author to finish his work. Fortunately, he already knows how the series as a whole will end, and has told the producers of the Game of Thrones tv series several major plot points in advance.
  • Fan Nickname: Some characters have fan nick-names
    • "Un-Cat" or "Zombie Cat" for Catelyn after she's resurrected.
    • After the release of A Feast for Crows, Qyburn's experiment with Gregor Clegane was dubbed "Gregorstein" and "Qyborg." In A Dance With Dragons it's given an official name: Ser Robert Strong.
    • "Dorkstar" for Darkstar, who is seen as The Scrappy for trying too hard to evoke Evil Is Cool
    • "Raven Email" (also adopted by viewers of Game of Thrones), in reference to the oddly fast and reliable method of communication via carrier-raven. Similarly, the use of weirwood trees to see the past and present is often referred to as the Weirwood internet (and more advanced Greenseer abilities are naturally the weirless internet).
    • An alternative fanmade name for the Weirwood internet is the Tree Matrix, since Greenseers have to literally plug themselves in.
    • "Shadow babies" for Melisandre's terrifying shadow children.
    • In A Dance With Dragons, Manderly's revenge scheme is generally referred to as Delicious Frey Pie, with means exactly what it sounds like.
    • In certain parts of the community Ser Gregor is known as "The Mountain that Rapes". Guess why?
  • Homage: The series includes a number of clear and possible homages.
    • Samwell Tarly is an homage to Samwise Gamgee, the fat best friend of the protagonist.
    • The phrase "Valar Morghulis", a mantra to Arya and a code for the Faceless Men of Braavos is likely a homage to Tolkien as well. Both the words 'Valar' and 'Morghul/Morgul' are from his works.
    • There is a stealth reference to Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn with the mention of two brothers, Josua and Elyas, constantly bickering with each other.
    • Daenerys' marriage to Khal Drogo is a possible homage to the Nibelungenlied legend, where Grimhild marries Attila the Hun in order to avenge her heroic husband Siegfried's death.
    • House Jordayne of the Tor is an homage to fellow fantasy writer Robert Jordan, author of the Wheel of Time books (published by Tor Books). Their sigil is a golden quill on a field of green checks, and are lead by Lord Trebor (Robert spelled backwards). There's also a brief mention of an Archmaester Rigney who "wrote that time is a wheel". Robert Jordan's real name is James Rigney.
    • Oberyn Martell's duel with Gregor Clegane is confirmed by Word of God to be an homage to The Princess Bride, although it's also a brutal Deconstruction of the scene it's based on.
    • Valyria: a island of dragon riders? With white-haired royalty with a taste for Brother-Sister Incest? And the largest, most advanced empire in the world? Sounds an awful lot like The Elric Saga. Being a morally ambiguous albino sorcerer, Bloodraven has a particularly noticeable similarity to Elric.
  • I Knew It!: Based on correspondence with GRRM, who refused to confirm that Rhaegar's son Aegon was killed during the Sack of King's Landing, some fans began to believe that it was a decoy that The Mountain snatched from Elia's hands and smashed against a wall. Guess who shows up in Tyrion's chapters?
    • Also, in DVD Commentary for the TV show, GRRM confirmed that the undergaoler "Rugen" is one of Varys's disguises.
  • Saved From Development Hell: A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons both took years to write, causing some fan complaints to reach a fever-pitch, but both were eventually completed.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Archmaester Rigney, who believes that "time is a wheel", and Lady Jordayne of Tor are both references to The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan (real name Jim Rigney), which is published by Tor. House Stark was confirmed to be a reference to Iron Man, there are heraldic sigils in Tywin Lannister's army referencing the Blue Beetle, Green Arrow and other comic book characters as well. Three soldiers who escort Catelyn to the Eyrie are references to The Three Stooges in name and appearance.
    • One of the heraldic sigils is a blackadder (spelled as one word).
    • The new Dunk and Egg novella "The Mystery Knight" features Lord Gormon Peake of Starpike as a prominent villain, and also has a Lord Costayne.
    • One of the gods worshipped in Braavos is Bakkalon, the Pale Child. This same deity is mentioned in some of Martin's Thousand Worlds Science Fiction stories, most notably "And Seven Times Never Kill Man".
    • There are a number of references to the Cthulhu Mythos. The Iron Islanders worship the Drowned God, saying, "What's dead can never die." The Greyjoys have a kraken for a symbol. These are all references to Cthulhu. One of their kings was called "Dagon," which is also the name of a character in the Mythos. Another character named Dagon "looks like his father had sired him on a fish." The wooded free city of Qohor worships the Black Goat, which is a reference to Shub-Niggurath, "The Black Goat of the Woods." There is a "Cult of Starry Wisdom" in Braavos.
    • A Monty Python and The Holy Grail reference when a character mentions that Dany's Unsullied don't run if you "fart in their general direction".
    • In A Dance with Dragons, when the crew of the Shy Maid go under the Bridge of Dream for the second time, Haldon Halfmaester says: "Inconceivable. We've left the bridge behind. Rivers only run one way."
    • When Ned Stark is leaving Grand Master Pycelle's chambers after questioning him about the death of Jon Arryn, he pauses in the door and asks "One last question" as an afterthought.
    • The abandoned stronghold east of Castle Black is called "Oakenshield". There is another abandoned stronghold on the Wall named Icemark.
    • While at the Nightfort, Hodor drops a stone down a well. Bran warns him that it was a bad idea: "You might have hurt something... or woke something up." Later that night he hears heavy footsteps coming from the well. It turns out to be Sam Tarly.
    • Khal Drogo is named after Drogo Baggins, the father of a rather famous hobbit named "Frodo".
  • Shrug of God: After the fiasco that was A Dance with Dragons, Martin no longer risks giving a concrete estimate for when his next book will be finished. He has also remained frustratingly vague on whether he will wrap up the series in the next two books or if he will expand it to three or more.
  • Trading Card Lame: Contains some pretty big spoilers on some of the cards, so play at your own risk if you haven't read all the books.
  • Vaporware: A Dance With Dragons was "forthcoming" in one way or another starting in 2004, but was published at last on July 12th, 2011. Time will only tell if The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring will eventually fall under this trope.
  • What Could Have Been: Martin originally planned to have a five-year Time Skip between the third and fourth books, which would have had a major effect especially on the several child and teenage characters. In the end, he wasn't able to pull it off. And ironically, there actually was a five year gap between the two books' publication. He lampshades it with one character saying (paraphrased) that he "expected five years of peace, at least, before Cersei screwed everything up."
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