Stories in Rogues – “The Rogue Prince, or, a King’s Brother” by George R. R. Martin

Okay, George R. R., with you and your silly name–”Mr. Martin” as you might have it–you wouldn’t be trying to pass off a history textbook as a short story now would you? Would you?! Actually, I don’t even need to ask the question. That’s exactly what this story is. But, it’s in Westeros, and it deals with Targaryens. So I’m in. Mmmmm … Targaryens …

Was that weird? The “Mmmmm … Targaryens” bit? I think it might have been. *shrugs* This story is absolutely not a short story, given that it spans the better part of 30 years of complicated R. R. Martin-esque royal and noble history. I’d style this as an incredibly long story told shortly. And you know, it works in it’s own way. But–and there is a caveat here–I think you need to be a huge “Song of Ice and Fire” / Game of Thrones (HBO) fanboy to appreciate this work.

I’ve done work like this before, and I can see why he’d want to publish stuff like this. World building requires that you have an understanding of the history. How did your world become what it is now? And I’ve gone through this process in rather extensive ways, and what you end up with is a huge string of a little stories that all add up to the big picture. Micro stories, almost, but the imagination can fill in the gaps easily enough, and that’s part of the fun.

For example:

Ragner was infuriated that his brother, the Baron, would appoint Ser Willem as Helm, so he stole off with his paramour on a pirate ship called Windwalker. They traveled for years, and would have traveled for more had they not been caught by a rogue fleet traveling south form Andhaev under false flags. The Captain of the Andhaevian flagship Rainsplitter recognized Ragner and took them both prisoner, handing over the paramour to the crew as part of the prize.

When Ragner finally escaped his bindings, while still aboard Rainsplitter, he found his paramour’s body used, broken, and discarded among the holds. A rat was nibbling her ear. He caught the rat, ate it, smeared the blood all over his face, and is said to have gone into a wild bloodlust, killing everyone on Rainsplitter and taking it for his own, renaming it Bloodyrain. Thus starting the Long Years of Absence when Andhaev would be plunged into darkness and the Baron would soon wish he’d given his brother Ragner the job …

The above is just some silly off-the-cuff nonsense I came up with, attempting to mimic the type of sweeping historic prose you can expect to find in The Rogue Prince, or, a King’s Brother. So imagine that, but done with the legendary skill of a fantasy god.

Don’t skip this one. But there is a condition … if you don’t like historic fantasy, and if you have no knowledge of the book series or HBO series, then you could actually skip this one and be fine. Crazy, huh? That Martin’s story gets a conditional skip? Next up, the big compilation post!

George RR Martin
I imagine this as Martin’s reaction when asked to write a “short” story. Ha. Yeah. Martin. Short. Sure …