George RR Martin, the author of the A Song of Ice and Fire novels that inspired HBO’s Game of Thrones, revealed a mild spoiler for future novels in the series. During an interview with Neil DeGrasse Tyson on Star Talk, Martin revealed that unicorns will appear in an upcoming novel.
The subject came up during a conversation about Martin’s realistic approach to fantasy. “I tried to be very accurate, for example, with horses,” Martin said. “A lot of fantasy writers get horses all wrong. They make them these tireless beasts that can go anywhere and gallop for seven days straight.”
Tyson chimed in, noting that “You don’t give the horses wings on their backs, like pegasus.”
“I have an interesting take on unicorns coming up in the new books,” Martin noted. “Oops.”
Based on that comment, readers can expect to see unicorns in at least one of the final two novels in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. We wouldn’t get our hopes up about them appearing in the final season of Game of Thrones.
Unicorns in the world of Westeros are not like most popular depictions of the mythical creatures. According to stories told in that world, unicorns are more like shaggy goats than horses, though they do have the long horns one would expect. The stories suggest that unicorns live on the island of Skagos and that the lords of that island ride them into battle. Few know if the rumors are true. Skagos is remote, located as far north as the Wall. It swears fealty to House Stark of Winterfell, but the island has little contact with the mainland and rules itself for all intents and purposes. Skagos' landscape is inhospitable and unforgiving to the point that even the boldest pirates do not dare to raid there.
Readers got a glimpse of unicorns in the most recent installment of A Song of Ice and Fire, titled A Dance with Dragons. In the novel, Jon Snow has a warg dream and inhabits the body and mind of Shaggydog, the dire wolf that belonged to Rickon Stark. In the dream, Shaggydog is tearing apart an “enormous goat” and “washing the blood from his side where the goat’s long horn had raked him.” It sounds like Shaggydog encountered a unicorn.
Are you excited to see unicorns in an upcoming novel from Martin? Let us know in the comments. Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.
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