Noted best-selling science fiction and fantasy author Tad Williams (“Otherland”, “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn“) is scheduled to host a live Q&A session on Google Hangouts on September 4th, 6 PM (Pacific Standard Time). Williams will be reading from his latest manuscript, The Witchwood Crown, the highly-anticipated first volume of “The Last King of Osten Ard”, a sequel series to his classic “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” series, coming Spring 2017 from DAW Books.
The current manuscript is over 1,000 pages, comprised of 54 chapters. (Williams is no stranger to very long manuscripts, many of his novels clocking in at around the same size. The third “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” book, To Green Angel Tower, is one of the longest novels in the English language.)
Here are my much-delayed revised chapter titles. These are still subject to change, but they all have something to do with their chapters now. (Often I will start a chapter with a title, but decide to deal with something different instead of my original plan for that chapter, then forget to change the title.)
Anyway, make of them what you will. It will be a while until I have a good cast list to share.
THE WITCHWOOD CROWN
Volume One of THE LAST KING OF OSTEN ARD
PART ONE: WIDOWS
Ch. 1 – The Glorious
Ch. 2 – Conversation with a Corpse-Giant
Ch. 3 – Brother Monarchs
Ch. 4 – Island of Bones
Ch. 5 – An Aversion to Widows
Ch. 6 – The Finest Tent on the Frostmarch
Ch. 7 – Audience with the Ever-Living
Ch. 8 – A Meeting On Lantern Bridge
Ch. 9 – Heart of the Kynswood
Ch. 10 – The Third Duke
Ch. 11 – Ghosts of the Garden
Ch. 12 – Baroness Alva’s Tale
Ch. 13 – Hymns of the Lightless
Ch. 14 – At the Top of the Holy Tree
Ch. 15 – A Passage of Arms
Ch. 16 – A Hand In The Snow
Ch. 17 – No Shadow
Ch. 18 – A Bad Book
Ch. 19 – Unnatural Birth
Ch. 20 – His Bright Gem
Ch. 21 – Crossroad
Ch. 22 – Death Songs
Ch. 23 – Testament of the White Hand
PART TWO: ORPHANS
Ch. 24 – Terrible Flame
Ch. 25 – Example of a Dead Hedgehog
Ch. 26 – The Small Council
Ch. 27 – Noontide At The Quarely Maid
Ch. 28 – Cradle Songs of Red Pig Lagoon
Ch. 29 – Bones and Black Statues
Ch. 30 – The Slow Game
Ch. 31 – A High, Dark Place
Ch. 32 – Rosewater and Balsam
Ch. 33 – Secrets and Promises
Ch. 34 – Feeding The Familiar
Ch. 35 – The Man with the Odd Smile
Ch. 36 – A Foolish Dream
Ch. 37 – Two Bedroom Conversations
Ch. 38 – The Factor’s Ship
Ch. 39 – A Grassland Wedding
Ch. 40 – Watching Like God
PART THREE: EXILES
Ch. 41 – Hern’s Horde
Ch. 42 – Forest Music
Ch. 43 – Into Deeper Shadows
Ch. 44 – Charms and Tokens
Ch. 45 – A Nighttime Sun
Ch. 46 – River Man
Ch. 47 – Hidden Chambers
Ch. 48 – The Little Boats
Ch. 49 – Blood As Black As Night
Ch. 50 – Stolen Scales
Ch. 51 – Several Matters of State
Ch. 52 – Homecoming
Ch. 53 – The Queen’s Pleasure
Ch. 54 – Voices Unheard, Faces Unseen
There are some inconsistencies with the chapter titles; for example, Chapter 27’s title, referring to the Quarely Maid, is not the name of the inn chosen by readers on the official message board last year. But of course, these chapter titles are subject to change or revision. The Witchwood Crown is expected to be released in Spring 2016, followed sometime thereafter by Empire of Grass and The Navigator’s Children.
Last month Tad Williams interviewed Steven Erikson (“Malazan Book of the Fallen”) at Kepler’s Bookstore in Menlo Park, California. Williams asked Erikson what led him to writing fantasy, what authors inspired him, and why Fantasy readers like big, thick books. They also talked about Stephen R. Donaldson’s early works, including Lord Foul’s Bane.
Below is the first part of the recorded interview:
More parts of the interview, along with musings about the Dothraki language constructed for Game of Thones, can be found at IvyNettle’s “Letters and Leaves” blog.
Tad Williams announced today that he has written well over 500 pages of the first draft of The Witchwood Crown, the first volume in his new series, “The Last King of Osten Ard”:
Just to let you all know, I hit a nice little milestone today — 555 pages of the 1st draft, end of Chapter 30. I’ve actually had time again to get into a rhythm, and it’s amazing how much faster it goes when I have dedicated working time and thinking time.
With 30 chapters of the first draft having been written, the manuscript may already be larger than Stone of Farewell, which only contained 28 chapters. In comparison, The Dragonbone Chair had 44 chapters and To Green Angel Tower had 60. This means that the manuscript is approaching or has already exceeded the size of previous Osten Ard books. Williams is known for long, intricate stories, and it looks as though The Witchwood Crown will be no exception.
In other news, it appears as though the publication date of The Witchwood Crown has been pushed back to Spring 2016, to allow time for editing of what is likely to be a massive manuscript. The original publication date had been set to Fall 2015. Williams writes very fast, and there likely will be no long publication delays that have been seen in other massive epic fantasies such as Robert Jordan’s “The Wheel of Time” or George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire”. Indeed, The Witchwood Crown was only announced in April of this year.
It’s been said that there are certain books you have to read at the right time in your life in order to understand them completely, novels that speak to particular age groups or circumstances. The Catcher in the Rye and A Separate Peace come to mind, for example; maybe The Sun Also Rises. All great works of fiction at any age, but particularly powerful when read as an adolescent (the Salinger and Knowles novels) and as a young man (the Hemingway). This seems axiomatic to me, and no work of fiction proves it more strongly than The Dragonbone Chair.
SF-Signal’s Larry Ketchersid recently wrote an article entitled “The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams and Its Place in the History of Epic Fantasy,” a timely retrospective on the 1988 fantasy classic written in anticipation of the forthcoming sequel series, The Last King of Osten Ard. Reading it made me want to talk about what The Dragonbone Chair and its sequels mean to me, as their impact on my life has been significant. Spoilers abound.
Tad Williams has announced that he has written around 400 pages of The Witchwood Crown, Book One of his new epic fantasy series “The Last King of Osten Ard”:
I’ve had a lot of other things going on, so I’m only at about page 400 of the book, but I’m back into a stretch where I can work on it full-time again.
The first volume of the new Osten Ard series, a sequel to the classic “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” books, is expected to be published sometime late next year, but no concrete date has yet been set. Each new novel in the series is expected to be about the size of previous Osten Ard novels, which were between 750 and 1,600 pages each.
It is no secret that George R. R. Martin drew inspiration for his A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels from the best-selling Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series by Tad Williams. Martin has stated repeatedly that Williams inspired him to write ASOIAF:
Tad’s fantasy series, The Dragonbone Chair and the rest of his famous four-book trilogy was one of the things that inspired me to write my own seven-book trilogy. I read Tad and was impressed by him, but the imitators that followed — well, fantasy got a bad rep for being very formulaic and ritual. And I read The Dragonbone Chair and said, “My god, they can do something with this form,” and it’s Tad doing it. It’s one of my favorite fantasy series.
In fact, Martin purposely buried some homages to MS&T in ASOIAF, while at other points, he seems to reuse the same plot elements, often to a surprisingly detailed degree. Here are 25 similarities between the two book series [contains spoilers for both series of novels]:
1) A high-born girl named (M)arya disguises herself as a boy, and learns to fight with a sword as she travels throughout the lands. She travels from one end of the world to the other, fleeing danger everywhere, while disguised as a boy. Despite the fact that many people see through her flimsy ‘disguise’, she keeps wearing it.
2) Two princely brothers who hate each other fight over the royal throne. The country is torn apart as various factions choose sides. But the side that plays dirty will win…
3) A red-robed advisor to the new king convinces the king that he needs to sacrifice his hated younger brother; this sacrifice, the red-robed advisor says, will make the kingdom whole once more.
4) A tailed star appears in the sky, portending doom/change.
5) Feuding brothers named Elias/Elyas and Josua appear in the story.
6) Strange, otherworldly creatures who live in the far north appear, and although they have been inactive for centuries, they plot to take over the world. They have been exiled at the northern edge of the world for many years, but will soon take it all back, manchild.
7) It is foretold of the coming of an unusual winter which will last a very long time, at the same time as the otherworldly invasion. Only the northerners take these old legends seriously. Everyone else laughs at such absurd tales. But the people of the north never forget.
8) A very unusual throne lies at the center of the human dispute for the kingdom, but it is only a distraction for the real conflict.
9) A major noble character, a close relative of the king, loses his hand.
10) A wolf character plays a major role.
11) A character that is the ‘Hand’ figures prominently.
12) A slender sword named ‘Needle’/’Naidel’ is wielded by a main character, who can’t use a heavier sword.
13) Everybody laughs at the idea of ice giants in the north… until they see them for themselves.
14) Young, noble children are cruelly thrust out into the cold, cruel world by evil adults, slowly learning to fend for themselves as they grow into young men and women.
15) A crown made to resemble antlers appears as a plot element.
16) A very short yet intelligent character has a betrothal as part of his storyline. But he is soon put on trial, where the penalty is death, and everyone seems set on killing him… even his own lover.
17) The story begins shortly before the death of the old king, whose reign was peaceful, and kept the kingdoms safe. The king brought peace and prosperity to the lands, but now his death has thrown the empire into conflict, with factions fighting.
18) The Children of the Dawn/Forest, who once lived throughout the realm, but who are now living in hiding, will have a part to play. They appear to be at odds with the otherworldly creatures in the far north.
19) A character whose name is Snow(lock), who is forced to journey into the north, is a main character. He appears to be a nobody, but his secret lineage is important. No one knows the truth…
20) A guilt-tormented knight, Sir Camaris/Ser Connington, spends years in exile in the south, only to return, where he is at last revealed as still being alive.
21) A major character lives thousands of miles from the rest of the other main characters, for over a thousand pages having no real interaction with the main group. But eventually, Danaerys/Tiamak will have a role to play.
22) The series was meant to be a trilogy, but got out of hand.
23) A major young male character likes to climb his castle’s walls and turrets, and can do so with ease. Eventually, he will be forced to leave his childhood home, no longer able to climb the castle’s walls and turrets.
24) This same character is plagued by prophetic, spooky dreams.
25) A new god, the Red God, demands blood sacrifice. His adherents are more than willing to do the Red God’s bidding, no matter how awful the sacrifice is. Once blood is spilled, the spell is created, and shadowy figures appear…
26) A servant of evil wearing a hound’s head helmet.
27) An important character of very short size. 26&27 thanks to @Max_Hallam
28) A fierce people of nomadic grasslanders.
29) Birds are used as messengers between intellectuals.
30) A battle on a frozen lake (not yet canonical in ASoIaF but still).
28-30 thanks to @paulrogerson
31) Miriamele/Arya shoots/stabbes the Storm/Night King.