Jul 21, 2011

The Frogeater

Meera Reed and her little brother Jojen are probably my two favorite characters introduced in book 2. They are two of the Crannogmen (the best name) who live in the bogs of the North (so awesome) and fight with poisoned arrows and tridents (whoa, seriously). Their father, Howland Reed (also the best name) is one of Ned Stark's most trusted lords, and is perhaps the only person alive who knows the whole story of Jon Snow's parentage (whoa).

Meera and Jojen become old pals with Bran Stark, who's left as the eight-year-old Lord of Winterfell in the absence of his father and brother. They're also the key to unlocking Bran's power. I think Bran also has a crush on Meera, who is sixteen? Adorable.

That's all for this week!

Jul 19, 2011

The Bastard of Winterfell

I meant to keep these drawings to background characters, since I think the show does a pretty solid job casting the main characters, but I'm breaking my own rule here. Jon Snow is one of the two most important characters in A Song of Ice and Fire (the other being Daenerys Targaryen). There are a couple other titles Jon acquires in the series, and I'd rather have used those as his title here, but I think all of them are spoilers and I'm trying to keep this relatively spoiler-free.

I guess this image is sort of a spoiler? SPOILER ALERT: Jon sorta gets a scratched up face in book 3!

Jon, of course, is the bastard son of Eddard Stark and an unnamed woman. At least, that's what Eddard Stark tells everyone. The real truth of his parentage has yet to be revealed in the series, but the clues are there. Jon also seems like he may be part of a prophecy that's been slowly taking shape. Or maybe he's not.

I think I drew him a little haughtier than I meant. Maybe he's just watching out for the daggers in the dark.

One thing I haaaaaated about his design on the show is that they gave him an undyed wolfskin rather than being in all black. He's gotta be in all black. I get that they needed a way to easily distinguish him from the rest of the black-clad Night's Watch, but really. It's sort of a really big deal.

I wanted to do a livestream or something of one of these drawings, but the only webcam I have is in my iMac and I can't exactly plop this thing on my drafting table. Maybe I'll figure something out eventually.

The Crow's Eye

I couldn't really care less about the Greyjoys for three books. Theon's arc was fine, and Asha was fine, and Aeron was interesting but not very well fleshed out. Then the fourth book came along and introduced two of the Greyjoy brothers, in addition to developing Aeron into a bigger character. There's something weird and crazy about the Greyjoys (and everyone who inhabits the Iron Islands and worships the Drowned God), and it seems like it's just getting crazier. Maybe it's the Lovecraftian themes, but I'm so down.

Euron Crow's Eye the still the most mysterious of the brothers. He's just spent however many years as a pirate and a reaver, sailing the haunted seas of old Valyria on his red ship Silence with his mute crew of mongrels and monsters.

Jul 18, 2011

The Red Woman

Melisandre, the red priest of Asshai, introduces us to the first of many schism religions in Song of Ice and Fire. After it's been established that the Northerners hold the Old Gods and the Seven Kingdoms appropriately pray to the Seven, the first chapter of book 2 brings in Melisandre and her Lord of Light, R'hllor. The Greyjoys would later introduce The Drowned God, as well.

The difference is, the only God that seems to do anything is R'hllor, as we see time and time again. His priests see visions in the fires, set their foes ablaze, and breathe life back into the dead. Melisandre is at the heart of a few of the more memorable occurrences in the series.

Jul 14, 2011

The Lightning Lord

Berric Dondarrion was a handsome knight before he died for the first time. The second, third, fourth, and fifth time he died did him no favors either.

The Brotherhood Without Banners, led by Berric Dondarrian and Thoros, the Red Priest, are an outlaw troop, travelling the Seven Kingdom's and delivering the King's Justice.

Hearsay and gossip are important elements in this series. Characters' legends and infamies grow and spread throughout Westeros by word of mouth. What we read chapter to chapter can and often does get distorted as word travels until what we know and what they know are two vastly different truths. In the second and third books, villagers spread the legend of the Lightning Lord, whose band of outlaws strikes against enemies of the late King Robert without warning and cannot be kept dead. Of course, the best tales hold a kernel of truth, and in Berric's case, much more than that.

Jul 13, 2011

Kissed by Fire

While George R. R. Martin goes out of his way to dispel the themes of courtly romance so prevalent in medieval fantasy, the wildlings are another story. The free folk who live beyond the Wall and worship the Old Gods are completely and utterly romanticized. They are lawless, pray to trees, consort with giants, and talk to animals. Women fight alongside men, titles don't pass from father to son, and lead is taken by whomever has the strength. Their clash with the men of the Night's Watch, who defend the wall from wildlings and worse, is one of the lynchpins of the third book.

EDIT: John Bridges in the comments section made a great point on romanticism. I forgot about Craster, and yes, the wildlings romanticize themselves a lot of the time. I'd argue that Mance Rayder's speech about why he deserted the Night's Watch to become King Beyond the Wall is nothing if not romantic.

Those wildlings born with red hair are said to be kissed by fire, and are held as lucky. Ygritte is largely responsible for relaying the hallmarks of wildling life to Jon Snow.

Jul 11, 2011

The Hound

Sandor Clegane, brother of The Mountain and sworn shield to Joffrey Baratheon, is easily my favorite character in the series. He's emblematic of George R. R. Martin's ability to turn a character from abhorrent to sympathetic to tragic over the span of a couple books, while never losing what it was that made him interesting in the first place. Like so many characters throughout the series, the first impression of The Hound is not the one we're left with, as layers are peeled away and the inner workings are revealed. He's still a sociopath and a murderer and the all around baddest dude in King's Landing (except maybe for his brother), but at least we understand why.

The Dragon Prince

Back to Game of Thrones/Song of Ice and Fire drawings for a bit.

The more we learn about Rhaegar Targaryen, the more bummed I get. He really seems like he would've been a great king, if Robert hadn't smashed his chest in with his warhammer on account of Lyanna Stark. His dad may have been crazy and his little brother may have been crazy, but Rhaegar seems alright. There are some neat theories about what Rhaegar's relationship with Lyanna actually was and what/who became of it.

Jul 4, 2011

The Dominion of Melchizedek

I did this week's cover for SF Weekly, for a story and interview about Pearlasia Gamboa, who is the princess and president of the Dominion of Melchizedek. She is also a con artist.

The Dominion of Melchizedek is only visible and/or above water at certain times of the day, and is located somewhere between the Philippines and Antarctica (they claim a large section of both as territory). The Dominion is a fertile land, known for its numerous gold mines and plentiful shell organizations. You can read more about her here.

The AD requested a fantasy map of the Dominion of Melchizedek, in the general shape of a dollar sign, with Pearlasia on a golden throne, surrounded by details from the interview she gave to SF Weekly. That's her husband (and vice president), David Korem aka Mark Logan Pedley on the left. On her right is a San Francisco man whom she conned out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Some details:
(probably the best figure I've ever drawn)
(some of The Dominion's natives)
(this is what gold mines look liks, I assume)
(who's that little guy?)

And the layout:

What a weird job.

AD Andrew Nilsen