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Shout Out / A Song of Ice and Fire

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  • George R. R. Martin has stated that the title of the saga was influenced by Robert Frost's poem Fire and Ice.
  • Archmaester Rigney, who believes that "time is a wheel", and Lady Jordayne of the Tor are both references to The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan (real name Jim Rigney), which is published by Tor Books. GRRM has claimed, semi-facetiously, that the house words of House Jordayne are "Let It Be Written".
  • Robb and Lyanna are the names of the protagonists of George R. R. Martin's novella A Song For Lya, while here they are two important members of House Stark.
    • Also the Greeshka in A Song for Lya have a collective consciousness that parallels the Weirwood trees described by the Children of the Forest.
    • There are many parallels between the A So Ia F series and the Thousand Worlds novels and stories. There are white-barked red-leafed trees with stone-hard trunks in one of his early stories. "Lizard lions" are in at least two Thousand Worlds stories. One story describes a planet with seasons that last for years with people who live at a medieval technological level in geothermally heated castles. There are many, many more.
  • House Stark was confirmed to be a reference to Iron Man, there are heraldic sigils in Tywin Lannister's army referencing the Blue Beetle, Green Arrow and other comic book characters as well.
    • Between the North, the Riverlands, and the Westerlands is a bay called ... Ironman's Bay.
    • House Dayne of Starfall, who wield the sword Dawn, forged from a fallen star, are likely a shout out to Marvel's Black Knight, as one of them named Dane Whitman wielded a sword made from Starstone.
  • Three soldiers who escort Catelyn to the Eyrie are references to The Three Stooges in name and appearance.
    • One of the heraldic sigils is a blackadder (spelled as one word).
  • The Dunk and Egg novella "The Mystery Knight" features Lord Gormon Peake of Starpike as a prominent villain (his son and successor by the time of the main series is called Titus). A previous Lord Peake, Unwin, had a bastard brother called Mervyn Flowers.
  • One of the gods worshipped in Braavos is Bakkalon, the Pale Child. This same deity is mentioned in some of Martin's Thousand Worlds Science Fiction stories, most notably "And Seven Times Never Kill Man".
  • Aeron Greyjoy's religious rhetoric in his opening chapter in A Feast for Crows echoes Christ's:
    The god took me deep beneath the waves and drowned the worthless thing I was. When he cast me forth again he gave me eyes to see, ears to hear, and a voice to spread his word, that I might be his prophet and teach his truth to those who have forgotten.
  • Similarly, the High Septon's recollections that he "seldom feels so close to god as when I am being whipped for mine own wickedness" when Cersei is shocked to see how Ser Osney has been tortured echoes St. Jean Vianney's observation that "when I was free to flog myself without mercy, God refused me nothing."
  • There are a number of references to the Cthulhu Mythos. The Iron Islanders worship the Drowned God, saying, "What's dead can never die." The Greyjoys have a kraken for a symbol. These are all references to Cthulhu. One of their kings was called "Dagon," which is also the name of a character in the Mythos. Another character named Dagon (Dagon Codd) "looks like his father had sired him on a fish." The wooded free city of Qohor worships the Black Goat, which is a reference to Shub-Niggurath, "The Black Goat of the Woods." There is a "Cult of Starry Wisdom" in Braavos. The maps in The Lands of Ice and Fire show that the far eastern regions of the Known World have names straight out of Lovecraft. Almost at the edges of the map you have the cities K’Dath and Carcosa, plus the island of Leng, in the Jade Sea. In Bran's most recent chapter, the Three-Eyed Crow is referred to as "The Whisperer in Darkness".
  • A Monty Python and the Holy Grail reference when a character mentions that Dany's Unsullied don't run if you "fart in their general direction".
  • Cersei Lannister has been prophesied to be destroyed by "another, younger and more beautiful". What does this remind you of?
  • In A Dance with Dragons, when the crew of the Shy Maid go under the Bridge of Dreams for the second time, Haldon Halfmaester says: "Inconceivable. We've left the bridge behind. Rivers only run one way."
  • When Ned Stark is leaving Grand Master Pycelle's chambers after questioning him about the death of Jon Arryn, he pauses in the door and asks "One last question" as an afterthought.
  • There is an abandoned stronghold on the Wall named Icemark.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien:
    • The abandoned stronghold east of Castle Black is called "Oakenshield". This name is also given to one of the Shield Islands.
    • While at the Nightfort, Hodor drops a stone down a well. Bran warns him that it was a bad idea: "You might have hurt something... or woke something up." Later that night he hears heavy footsteps coming from the well. It turns out to be Sam Tarly.
    • Khal Drogo is named after Drogo Baggins, the father of a rather famous hobbit named "Frodo".
    • The character name "Samwell Tarly" is an obvious nod to "Samwise Gamgee," while another of Jon's entourage is named Pyp.
    • Two minor characters are named Daeron and Beren (Targaryen and Tallhart, respectively). The musician in the Night's Watch called Daeron may be named for an Elvish musician from "The Silmarillion". Daeron is also a name which two Targaryen Kings had.
    • Marillion is the name of a singer in Westeros, but in the real world it's the name of a whole band.note 
    • An important Valyrian phrase is "Valar morghulis," or, "All men must die." The Valar are essentially the strongest group of angelic beings in the Tolkien Legendarium, and "morgul" is the Sindarin (Elvish) word for evil magic (the root mor means "black, dark", cf. "dark arts").
    • And there's the city of Valyria itself: during its height, said to have reached glory unmatched before or since, including technology such as its steel swords whose secrets are now lost, until it was shattered by an unexplained natural cataclysm leaving only ruins ... just like Tolkien's Númenor.
    • The first two details Bran notices when going riding in the Wolfswood are a black squirrel and a spider's web, which could be a subtle nod to Mirkwood.
    • Euron's sigil of a red eye may be a shout out to Sauron, who has a similar sigil.
    • During the Kingsmoot, Gylbert Farwynd claims there is a land beyond the Western sea without death or misery, which could be a reference to Valinor, the land in the West that Elves sail to from Middle-Earth.
  • To Robert E. Howard:
    • Young Robert Baratheon is a gigantic man with black hair and blue eyes who loves battle, drinking, eating and wenching just like Conan the Barbarian;
    • The Shrykes are a race of half-human creatures said to be lizard-men or rather men clad in the skins of lizards, like the lost lizard men of Valusia from Kull;
    • There's Stygia, a continent with a city of the dead past Asshai in "A World of Ice and Fire".
  • When Prince Quentyn Martell, using the false name Frog, meets Dany and reveals his true identity, she laughs and comments:
    In the Seven Kingdoms there are children's tales of frogs who turn into enchanted princes when kissed by their true love.
  • The city of Lys is named for the Arcadian utopia in Arthur C. Clarke's The City and the Stars.
  • Robin Hood:
    • In A Storm of Swords, the Brotherhood Without Banners briefly mention someone named Mudge, who was the son of a miller. Much the Miller's Son was one of the Merry Men, the outlaw band which was clearly something of an inspiration for the Brotherhood.
    • The Hooded Man is a legendary figure from the age of Heroes.
  • Blood and Fire — the Salvation Army's motto is oddly familiar...
  • The Tullys' castle, Riverrun, is named for the first "word" of Finnegans Wake.
  • Sam's internal dilemma over killing or not killing the mouse he sees while researching the Others in the depths of Castle Black is similar to DH Lawrence's in his poem "Snake"
  • I, Claudius:
    • The observation that "the gods flip a coin" every time a Targaryen is born to determine if they'll be a great leader or a mad tyrant echoes a similar statement by the title character of the book about his own family's legacy;
    • Martin has stated that Stannis Baratheon is based on the portrayal of Tiberius Caesar in the BBC miniseries;
    • Of course one of the source of inspiration for Tyrion Lannister's characterization is Claudius himself, as is Claudius' marvellous relationship with his beloved nephew Joff...ehm Caligula.
  • Martin has called Dragonslayer one of his favorite fantasy films. Tyrion's name is probably inspired by Tyrian, a character in the film. Various names of dragons (Vermithor, Syrax, etc.) are obviously inspired by Vermithrax, the dragon in the film. Martin called it his favorite dragon name. Game of Thrones out-and-out name-drops Vermithrax.
  • After Sam becomes the first person known to have killed an Other in years, he is referred to by his fellow Night's Watchmen as "the Slayer".
  • Another ancient hero is 'Roland of the Horn' - who probably did not fall at a place called Roncevalles.
  • One house- whose entire contribution to the mythos consists of a single character, as the only other member turned out to be a spelling mistake- is called House Rogers of Amberly, a reference to Roger Zelazny.
  • To Shakespeare:
    • Although Martin is definitely well-versed in history, the characterization and tone of the series definitely bears the stamp of Shakespeare's Henry VI cycle of plays detailing the War of the Roses.
    • In A Dance With Dragons, Lord Wyman Manderly brings three giant pork pies to Ramsay Bolton's wedding feast. Considering that the filling might well be three missing Freys, definitely a nod to Titus Andronicus.
      • The words of House Karstark are "The Sun of Winter," referencing the opening lines of Richard III, "Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this son of York!" The fictional House Stark was based on the real House York, and as a cadet branch of House Stark, the Karstarks would indeed be the "Son of York". Lord Rickard murders two children imprisoned in a tower, like the Richard in the play does.
  • The tale of the 'Rat Cook' in which Lord Wyman bases his 'pork' pies references the Classical Mythology tale of Atreus cooking and the sons of his twin brother Thyestes and then feeding them to the latter, thus bringing down a curse upon their house.
    • Alternatively, given the transformation, it can be a nod to another tale from that mythology, that of Lycaon, a king who served a boy/baby to a guest and was turned into a werewolf for it (along with his sons) when the guest turned out to have been Zeus in disguise, just as he suspected.
  • George Martin is a huge fan of The Accursed Kings and even pushed for a new edition. There are several plot inspired by the French novel:
    • King Jehan I Switched at Birth with Giannino Baglioni. It's reveled Varys (allegedly) did the same with Prince Aegon Targaryen and a peasant baby.
    • Olenna's murder of Joffrey by poisoning and her overall character are inspired by Mahaut of Artois and her regicide against Louis X.
    • Cersei's framing her daughter-in-law and her cousins is inspired by Queen Isabella framing her sisters-in-law.
  • To Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn:
    • There is a House Willum with two brothers Elyas and Joshua, and Prince Josua's ascent to the throne is usurped by his brother Elias, 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 A Dance with Dragons, one of the ships in Victarion's fleet is the Sparrowhawk
  • In A Storm of Swords Jamie, somewhat jarringly, paraphrases Robert Frost: "We have promises to keep, and long leagues before us." Naturally the line comes immediately after them being warned about how dark and deep the woods are.
  • In A Feast for Crows Brienne beats up her suitors at a mêlée at Bitterbridge. Two of them are Harry Sawyer and Robin Potter. Guess where she gives Potter a scar?
  • In The Princess and the Queen there are two Lord Tully named Elmo and Kermit, with relatives named Grover and Oscar.
  • Brynden "Bloodraven" Rivers was inspired by Elric of Melniboné created by Michael Moorcock. Fittingly, his rival half-brother Aegor Rivers is a character similar to Conan the Barbarian. Elric was created to be Conan's opposite.
  • Tyrion Lannister has one green eye and one black one like Woland, a major character in The Master and Margarita, who also has one green eye and one black one.
  • Daenerys' marriage to Khal Drogo is a possible homage to the Nibelungenlied legend, where Grimhild marries Attila the Hun in order to avenge her heroic husband Siegfried's death.
  • In "The Hedge Knight" graphic novel the puppet show has the hero named as Ser Rilian, who slays a dragon and returns to take his rightful place as Prince. This is similar to Prince Rilian from "The Silver Chair".
  • The red comet seen in A Clash of Kings, taken to be a harbinger of future triumph, impending doom, or a great change in the world is a Shout-Out to War and Peace. The Great Comet of 1811, still visible in 1812, is interpreted along those same things, but most importantly as a bad omen — sure enough, Napoleon invades Russia later that year.
  • Among the odd and unusual slave-soldiers fielded by Yunkai in A Dance With Dragons is a band of one hundred muscular soldiers who wear nothing but breechclouts, cloaks, and bronze shields.
  • Possibly unintentional, but Greywater Watch, the seat of House Reed, is rumored in-series to mysteriously move. Howland Reed is lord of Greywater Watch. So that means it's...Howland's Moving Castle
  • One of the most infamous outlaws in anyone's recent memory is the Smiling Knight, who was renowned as being insane, a deadly fighter, and having evaded justice numerous times. This sounds a bit familiar.
  • In Brienne's first chapter in A Feast for Crows, Ser Creighton Longbough responds to a slanting reference to his girth with "I have big bones".
  • In her last A Dance with Dragons chapter, as Arya plots the death of the crooked insurance merchant, she thinks, "A good day for a death", echoing the Klingon saying "It is a great day to die".
  • Star Wars:
    • Jojen's dialogue with Bran in A Clash of Kings over the latter's emerging psychic abilities sounds like Obi-Wan's with Luke:
      Jojen: The power is strong in you.
      Bran: I don't want it. I want to be a knight.
      Jojen (later): You will never find the eye with your fingers, Bran. You must search with your heart.
    • And a famous line of Yoda's from The Empire Strikes Back is echoed in two different conversations, in different books, with Jon Snow:
      • In A Clash of Kings:
      Qhorin Halfhand': Our honor means no more than our lives, so long as the realm is safe. Are you a man of the Night's Watch?
      Jon: Yes, but–
      Qhorin: There is no but. You are, or you are not.
      • In A Feast for Crows
      Jon: I can't command you to be brave, but I can command you to hide your fears ...
      Sam: I ... I'll try.
      Jon: You won't try. You will obey.
    • In one chapter (Tyrion (IV)) of A Storm of Swords, Tywin presides over the first post-Blackwater meeting of the Small Council. He gets two lines that echo Darth Vader's:
      Dragons and krakens do not interest me ...
      ... this Mance Rayder might even prove a useful ally.
    • This comes after, earlier in the chapter, the narrator tells us that "Tyrion had a bad feeling about this", a line that will be repeated in a later chapter.
    • And then in A Feast for Crows, Cersei twice responds to some news by saying it "does not concern me".
    • Later in the same book, at the council of war Jaime convenes during the siege of Riverrun, after Lord Piper storms out, Karyl Vance tries to explain that Piper is still bitter over the killing of 25 his men at the Red Wedding: "Many were nephews and cousins." Edwyn Frey quickly responds: "Traitors and rebels they were, you mean."
    • And in Cersei's last chapter, she tells Qyburn that Jaime "is my only hope" of extricating herself from her imprisonment by the Faith.
    • Tyrion's last chapter in A Dance with Dragons ends with him saying "Leave that to me" over the possibility of the Second Sons switching to Danaerys's side.
    • Early in the book's epilogue, Ronnet Connington tells the Small Council, which doubts his loyalty in the wake of his exiled older brother's rebellion in support of the young man claimed to be Aegon Targaryen, he will take up arms against his brother himself if desired, to clear himself. "We shall deal with your uncle and his feigned boy in due time", Mace Tyrrell, newly elevated to Hand of the King, responds, in a paraphrase of Grand Moff Tarkin's promise to Leia that "we will deal with your rebel friends soon enough" right before blowing up her home planet.
  • When she takes up with the Faceless Men in Braavos, it is mentioned in regard to Arya's minimal living space that she "kept her treasures there"
  • Musing about whether he ought to more vocally protest his conscription into the Second Sons, Tyrion thinks "If you bugger a man you expect a squeal or two."
  • While encamped outside Volantis awaiting orders to march on Meereen, one of the Golden Company offhandedly refers to "the bloody Volantenes"
  • In the backstory given in Fire & Blood, mention is made of a sell-sail named Ned Bean. Calling him "Sean Stark" would have been a little too obvious.
  • In A Feast for Crows, Euron Greyjoy has the noblewomen of House Hewett stripped naked and forced to serve dinner to the ironborn, a reference to a similar scene in Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom.
  • After losing a bet with a friend of his, George Martin, a devout New York Giants football fan, included a reference to the hated Dallas Cowboys in his books. Enter Ser Patrek, a retainer of Stannis Baretheon. His sigil is a blue star on a grey field, the Cowboys' logo, and he is the most insufferable, arrogant and delusional man to ever raise a sword in all of Westeros. He spends most of his on screen time trying to get himself married to Val, the wildling beauty and/or gifted a northern castle and lands for being (in his own mind) Stannis' greatest and most loyal knight when the only people that hate him more than Stannis himself are his actual enemies who want him dead. In the end, he stumbles across Wun Wun , who is offended by him somehow and picks him up by the leg and slams him from side to side like a rag doll, a literal Giant who kills off the Cowboy caricature like a cartoon just to make the Take That! complete.
  • Reek is something of a polar opposite of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille from Perfume: Grenoiulle had no sense of smell and no body odor and started murdering girls to capture their scent and create the ultimate perfume, ultimately using it to kill himself by enticing a crowd to tear him apart. Reek had an unbearable stench which he sought to remove by drinking Lady Bolton's perfumes. He and Ramsay would hunt young girls and rape them, after which Ramsay's dogs would tear them apart.
  • Ramsay's armor in the Theon's final chapter of A Clash of Kings, resembling a flayed man, is clearly reminiscent of the famous armor from Bram Stoker's Dracula.
  • Leaf tells Bran the river in the cave flows down to a sunless sea, which is a reference to Kubla Khan.
  • When describing the various animal masks of the Brazen Beasts escorting Daenerys and Hizdahr to the fighting pits in A Dance with Dragons, the text lists "boars and bulls, hawks and herons, lions and tigers and bears, fork-tongued serpents and hideous basilisks."