A Song of Ice and Fire Wiki

George R.R. Martin has included a large number of tributes and homages to other authors, friends and fans in the text of A Song of Ice and Fire and its related novellas, as well as to some of his earlier works. A list of such tributes follows:

Earlier Works[]

And Seven Times Never Kill Man![]

And Seven Times Never Kill Man! was an SF short story published in 1975. A deity named Bakkalon is mentioned in this story.


Nightflyers was an SF novella published in 1980. It was adapted as an unsuccessful film in 1987.

Fevre Dream[]

Fevre Dream was a vampire novel published in 1982 and was Martin's biggest-selling pre-A Song of Ice and Fire novel.

  • The Fever River, which runs from Saltspear almost to Moat Cailin, is a formidable obstacle for those attempting to invade the North from southern Westeros.

Songs the Dead Men Sing[]

Songs the Dead Men Sing was a novella published by Martin in 1983.


Mikhail Bulgakov[]

Mikhail Bulgakov (1891-1940) was a Russian writer and playwright. He is best known for his novel The Master and Margarita.

  • Tyrion Lannister has one green eye and one black one. This condition is called heterochromia. Professor Woland, a major character in The Master and Margarita, also has one green eye and one black one.

Thomas B. Costain[]

Thomas B. Costain (1885-1965) was a noted author of historical fiction, and is one of George R.R. Martin's favourite historical authors.

  • House Costayne of Three Towers is a reference to Costain. The house's arms show a silver chalice and a black rose, a reference to Costain's novel The Silver Chalice and the movie The Black Rose, based on Costain's work.

David Eddings[]

David Eddings (1931-2009) was an American fantasy author, best-known for his series The Belgariad and numerous sequels and prequels.

  • House Deddings of the Riverlands is noted as having been badly mauled by Lannister forces during the War of the Five Kings, with both Lord and Lady Deddings slain. The Deddings were noted as being extremely rich. It should be noted that at the time Martin wrote this reference, both David and his wife (and co-writer) Leigh Eddings were still alive.

Phyllis Eisenstein[]

Phyllis Eisenstein (1946-2020) was an American science fiction and fantasy author, and a noted friend of George R.R. Martin's. She had a big influence on A Song of Ice and Fire when, during the earliest period of Martin writing the series, she suggested to him that he include dragons and magic when he was more inclined to leave out the fantastical elements. A Storm of Swords is dedicated to her, as Martin thanks her for making him "put the dragons in".

  • Alaric of Eysen, noted as a well-travelled bard, is a troubadour and minstrel hired to play at the wedding of Joffrey I Baratheon and Margaery Tyrell. Before he can do so, Joffrey chokes to death. The character is named for the protagonist of Eisenstein's novels Born to Exile and In the Red Lord's Reach.

Robert E. Howard[]

Robert E. Howard (1906-1936) was a famous fantasy author and the creator of many works of dark fantasy, most notably Conan the Barbarian. He is credited for writing the first works of "sword and sorcery," set in worlds with minimal amounts of magic and fantastical races, yet with weird-horror elements and wizards abounding. Was friends with Lovecraft and included many elements of Lovecraft's work in his own stories, and vice versa.

  • Young Robert Baratheon is Conan the Barbarian in many ways. A man who loves nothing more than battle, drinking, eating and wenching, Baratheon is described as a towering giant with black hair and blue eyes: "Clean shaven, clear eyed and muscled like a maiden's fantasy." This description and others describe Conan exactly, particularly the piercing blue eyes.
  • King Robert's quick ascension to kingship through battle and his troubled reign mirror Conan's own self-doubts after his easy snatching of power in many of Howard's stories.
  • Mention is made of "lizard-men" in "A World of ice and fire," representing the lost lizard men of Valusia from Howard's Kull series.
  • Stygia, a continent representing a proto-egypt, was featured as a city of the dead past Asshai in "A World of Ice and Fire."
  • In A Dance with Dragons, the narrator says about Daenerys that she "trod the cities of the slavers to dust beneath her dainty sandaled feet." This seems to be a tribute to the text of the Nemedian Chronicles that opens "The Phoenix on the Sword," the first of Howard's stories about Conan: "Hither came Conan, the Cimmerian . . . to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet."

Robert Jordan[]

Robert Jordan (1948-2007) was an epic fantasy author best known for his internationally best-selling Wheel of Time sequence. Martin and Jordan were friends, with Martin citing Jordan's positive cover blurb for A Game of Thrones as helping drive sales of the paperback edition of the novel.

  • The Citadel of Oldtown is named after Robert Jordan's alma mater.
  • Lord Trebor Jordayne of the Tor is mentioned by Tyrion Lannister as being one of the great lords of Dorne. Robert Jordan was published by Tor Books for most of his career (A Storm of Swords).
  • Lady Rohanne Webber of Coldmoat has her hair tied in a long braid and tugs on it in moments of high stress, similar to the character of Nynaeve al'Meara in Jordan's Wheel of Time novels.
  • Archmaester Rigney is mentioned as theorising that time is a wheel. James Oliver Rigney, Jr. was Robert Jordan's real name.
  • The Coat of Arms of House Toland is a dragon eating its own tail, and is meant to represent the unending and cyclic nature of time, same as the Great Serpent in Jordan's the Wheel of Time.

H.P. Lovecraft[]

H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) was a noted fantasy and horror author, best-known for his creation of the Cthulhu Mythos.

  • The Drowned God, the ironborn motto "What is dead may never die," and the name of Lord Dagon Greyjoy are all references to Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos.
  • The maps in The Lands of Ice and Fire reveal the existence of a city in the distant east of Essos called Carcosa. Carcosa is a fictional city created by Ambrose Bierce for his 1891 short story, An Inhabitant of Carcosa. It was then used by Robert Chambers in his 1895 book The King in Yellow, which was influential on Lovecraft.
  • The map of Eastern Essos also features the City of K'Dath, a clear referrence to Lovecraft's story, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath.
  • Many more references appear in "The World of Ice and Fire", including the island of Leng, K'dath in the Grey Wastes and oblique references to the Old Ones and the Deep Ones.

Michael Moorcock[]

Michael Moorcock (1939-present) is an English writer, primarily of science fiction and fantasy, who has also published literary novels. He is best known for his novels about the anti-hero Elric of Melniboné, a seminal influence on the field of fantasy in the 1960s and 1970s.

  • Brynden Rivers was inspired by the character "Elric of Melniboné" created by Michael Moorcock.

Mervyn Peake[]

Mervyn Peake (1911-1968) was the author of the Gormenghast Trilogy, widely regarded as one of the most seminal and important works of the genre.

  • Lord Titus Peake of House Peake is a reference to both Peake and the protagonist of the Gormenghast series, Lord Titus Groan.
  • Titus Peake's ancestor, Lord Gorman Peake, appears in The Mystery Knight, and is even more of a blatant reference to Mervyn Peake's work.
  • Sandor Clegane suffers a burn to his face that disfigures him and gives him an irrational fear of fire. In the Gormenghast series, this is a trait of the villainous Steerpike.

J.K. Rowling[]

J.K. Rowling (1965-present) is the author of the Harry Potter series of novels. Although he has expressed his appreciation of Rowling for widening the appeal of the fantasy genre, Martin was critical of her decision to not accept the Hugo Award (for Best Novel for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in 2001) in person, especially after it beat A Storm of Swords in the running.

  • Harry Sawyer and Robin Potter are two mock-suitors of Brienne of Tarth. She paid them for their insolence in the Bitterbridge melee, unhorsing Sawyer and giving Potter a nasty scar on his forehead (Harry Potter is noted for having a distinctive lightning-bolt scar on his forehead).

J.R.R. Tolkien[]

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) is the most famous author in the history of fantasy, the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Martin has cited him as one of his most favourite authors.

  • Samwell Tarly was partially inspired by, and shares some traits with, the hobbit Samwise Gamgee.
  • Ser Theodan the True is a reference to King Theoden of Rohan in The Lord of the Rings.
  • Oakenshield, a castle on the wall, shares a name with Thorin II Oakenshield in The Hobbit.
  • Khal Drogo shares his name with Frodo's father.
  • Valar Morgulis is a common saying in Martin's novels. The Valar are gods/archangels in Tolkien's mythology. Minas Morgul is a fortress in The Lord of the Rings.
  • In 'A Dance With Dragons' Tyrion Lannister says "[...] Talking dragons, dragons hoarding gold and gems [...]" which could be considered a reference to Smaug.

Jack Vance[]

Jack Vance (1915-2013) is one of the most influential fantasy authors of all time, through his famous Dying Earth series (amongst many other works). He is also Martin's favourite author and Martin co-edited an anthology in his honor, Songs of the Dying Earth, in 2009.

  • House Vance, a vassal of House Tully, is named for Jack Vance. Lord Norbert Vance himself is noted as having gone blind, and in the late 2000s Vance himself was noted as being technically blind.
  • Wayfarer's Rest, one of two castles held by House Vance, is a reference to Liane the Wayfarer, a prominent character in The Dying Earth.
  • Ronald the Bad, a kinsman of Lord Vance, is a nod to Jack Vance's novel Bad Ronald.
  • Hugo Vance is a nod to the various Hugo Awards that Vance has won.
  • Ellery Vance is a nod to the pen-name "Ellery Queen", used by various authors including Jack Vance.
  • Kirth Vance is a reference to the protagonist of the Demon Princes series.
  • The names of the three children of Lord Karyl Vance are also references to Jack Vance characters: Emphria Vance for the novel Emphyrio, Rhialta Vance for the novel Rhialto the Marvellous and Liane Vance for the aforementioned Dying Earth.
  • The arms of both branches of House Vance show dragons, a nod to Jack Vance's novel The Dragon Masters. The towers on the Atranta sigil are a reference to the Vance short story The Last Castle. The eyes and rings on the Wayfarer's Rest sigil are another reference to The Dying Earth.

Tad Williams[]

Tad Williams (1957-present) is an American fantasy author, best-known for his Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy. Martin has cited this work as an example of one of the first fantasy series to treat the genre as a serious vehicle for telling adult stories, and was an inspiration on A Song of Ice and Fire (which Martin started three years after the first book in Memory, Sorrow and Thorn was published).

  • House Willum is noted as being divided by a bitter quarrel between the lord's sons, Josua and Elyas. This is a reference to Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, where Prince Elias' ascent to the throne is unfavored by his brother Elias and other nobles, triggering a bitter civil war.
  • House Willum's arms show a skeletal dragon and three swords. The skeletal dragon is a nod towards the title of the first novel, The Dragonbone Chair, whilst the three swords refer to the titular blades of the trilogy.
  • Sandor Clegane (AKA 'The Hound') wears a helmet styled as a hound, as does Ingen Jegger in Memory, Sorrow and Thorn.
  • The Others were inspired by the Sithi, an ancient race based off elves and fairies, but more specifically from a division of Sithi named the Norns. This darker clan of Sithi resides in the frozen north of Osten Ard, and when its army marches, it brings terrible storms and coldness.
  • The Stark family is affiliated with direwolves, and the children of Eddard Stark have direwolf companions. The huge wolf Qantaqa is the troll Binabik's companion in Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn and more than likely an inspiration for the direwolves.

Roger Zelazny[]

Roger Zelazny (1937-1995) was a famous American science fiction and fantasy novelist, best-known for his Chronicles of Amber series and his Hindu-inspired SF novel Lord of Light. Zelazny was a friend of Martin's, participating in his Wild Cards project.

  • The title "Lord of Light", given to the red god R'hllor, is a reference to Zelazny's most famous single novel.
  • House Rogers of Amberly is a reference to Zelazny: the house's sigil features nine unicorns circling a maze. Both unicorns and a maze feature in the first Amber novel, Nine Princes in Amber.
  • On the "Isle of the gods" in Braavos Aria sees the entrance to the "Pattern-Maker's" maze. Martin adds: "Only those who learn to walk it properly will ever find their way to wisdom" Referencing the pattern maze underneath Amber, and Dworkin it's creator.
  • In the "Courts of Chaos" the three dragons at Oberon's funeral are black, gold, and green.


  • The sigil of House Sarsfield is a green arrow, a reference to the DC Comics superhero Oliver Queen, who uses the alias Green Arrow.
  • In A Dance With Dragons when Arya was temporarily blinded, she was nicknamed "Stick" by Uma. Stick is the name of a Marvel Comics character who is blind and is a ninja.

Films and Television[]


  • King Robert Baratheon's traits of being a large man with a huge sense of humor and a fondness for battle are strongly based on the fictitious King Richard IV, as played by Brian Blessed in the first season of the British sitcom Blackadder .
  • House Wyl of Wyl features a black adder on its arms, another nod to the television series.

The Three Stooges[]

The Muppets and Sesame Street[]

Rock Music[]


American Football[]

  • Triarch Belicho of Volantis is noted for his run of undefeated victories until he was torn limb-from-limb by giants. This is a reference to Bill Belichick, coach of the New England Patriots, who led his team in an unbroken series of victories in the 2007 season until their defeat at the hands of the New York Giants, one of George R.R. Martin's favourite sports teams, in the Super Bowl.
  • Ser Patrek of King's Mountain is slain by the giant Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun (popularly, "Wun-Wun"), with his blood flowing over his sigil, a blue star on silver. The latter is a reference to the dress of the Dallas Cowboys, whilst Wun-Wun's name is a nod to quarterback Phil Simms, whose number 11 shirt was retired by the New York Giants in 1995.


Patrick St. Denis[]

Patrick St. Denis is a noted genre blogger. His website, Pat's Fantasy Hotlist, has given favourable reviews to Martin and his works for many years. Martin and St. Denis had a wager for several years straight over who would win the American football season. Martin won the first two bets and made St. Denis read books of his choice. For the third season, Martin lost and agreed to feature St. Denis in one of his novels.

  • The aforementioned Ser Patrek of King's Mountain is directly based on Patrick St. Denis, and his gory death was part of the wager. King's Mountain refers to St-Denis's home city of Montreal (Quebec, Canada), which would translate from old French as "Royal Mountain"


Richard Courtenay and Peter Greenhill[]

Richard Courtenay and Peter Greenhill are two noted creators of model knights, which Martin collects.


Other Literature[]

  • Samwell Tarly's nickname of "Ser Piggy" may be a nod to the character Piggy in William Golding's Lord of the Flies: an overweight but intelligent young man who provides sensible advice to a group's more charismatic but inexperienced leader (Jon Snow).
  • In addition to the Grateful Dead reference noted above, the weirwood trees may also be an allusion to Edgar Allan Poe's poem "Ulalume", which mentions "the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir". Martin is known to be a Poe fan, having previously put forth money to present the Boston Public Library with a bronze bust of the famous horror author. He also credits a high school assignment to re-write the ending of "The Pit and the Pendulum" as one of his earliest inspirations toward a writing career.
  • The Weirwoods and House Swann are a reference to the novel The Weirwoods by Thomas Burnett Swann. In the novel, The Weir Ones are half humans touched by magic who live in a forest called the Weirwood and the Etruscans fear and distrust them. Much like the First Men fear and distrust The Children of the Forest. A nobleman enslaves one of the Weir Ones and the others retaliate by massing together behind the spells of a Water Sprite sorceress and attacked the city with the overwhelming savagery of the wildest creatures of Earth. Much like the Children singing the songs of Earth with the Green Men on the Isle of Faces to break the arm of Dorne and the Children of the Forest warring with skinchanged animals. House Swann is named after Thomas Burnett Swann.

Monty Python[]

  • Grand Maester Pycelle tells Cersei Lannister that she has not lost a son but gained a daughter when Margaery Tyrell weds Tommen. The exact same words are used in Monty Python and the Holy Grail when the Lord of Swamp Castle's son marries a noblewoman with "huge tracts of land". Martin is a known appreciator of the film, and may have referenced it elsewhere, as noted below. However, in this case, the saying is commonplace enough that it may not be a specific reference to the film.
  • The new Unsullied of Astapor are said to "run when you fart in their general direction."  This could be a reference to Monty Python and the Holy Grailin which a French soldier uses the phrase "fart in your general direction" to insult English knights before forcing them to retreat.
  • Davos Seaworth reads the letter inviting Stannis Baratheon to the nameday celebration of Rylene Florent and pronounces "night" as "niggit". This is the same mispronunciation that the taunting French soldier in Monty Python and the Holy Grail uses when taunting King Arthur and his "niggits".