George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire pitch letter has leaked online after someone snapped a photo of it in HarperCollins’ London office, and the author’s original plans are fascinating.
In the letter to his agent dated October 1993, Martin presents the first 170 pages of A Game of Thrones and discusses “the high fantasy novel” he’s been promising. He refers to the series as a trilogy, though readers know that his plan for A Song of Ice and Fire has greatly expanded since the early ’90s.
Martin breaks down several of the characters in his pitch, and his original plans are fun to read.
Arya “realizes, with terror, that she has fallen in love with Jon, who is not only her half-brother but a man of the Night’s Watch, sworn to celibacy. Their passion will continue to torment Jon and Arya throughout the trilogy.”
Tyrion is “helplessly in love with Arya Stark while he’s at it. His passion is, alas, unreciprocated, but no less intense for that, and it will lead to a deadly rivalry between Tyrion and Jon Snow.”
Martin goes on to set up the overarching plot of A Song of Ice and Fire, noting “the enmity between the great houses of Lannister and Stark [will play] out in a cycle of plot, counterplot, ambition, murder, and revenge, with the iron throne of the Seven Kingdoms as the ultimate prize.”
Funnily enough, Martin discusses his intention to kill off critical characters — an idea in the pitch that ended up coming true. “All three books will feature a complex mosaic of intercutting points of view among various of my large and diverse cast of players. The cast will not always remain the same. Old characters will die, and new ones will be introduced. Some of the fatalities will include sympathetic. . . characters. I want the reader to feel that no one is ever completely safe, not even the characters who seem to be the heroes. The suspense always ratchets up a notch when you know that any character can die at any time.”
One area of the three-page letter — seen below — is blocked out. While nothing is certain, one could guess that there’s an important plot twist in that area that HarperCollins, who confirmed the letter’s legitimacy, didn’t want anyone to read:
Though Martin wouldn’t know it at the time, the first book in his Song of Ice and Fire series — A Game of Thrones — would be published three years later.