When he isn't busy playing with wolves, signing autographs and not writing his books, George RR "It's ready when it's ready" Martin loves to dabble in the world of fan theories inspired by his vast, unfinished saga (Bitter? Us? What gave it away).
The latest nugget to have gained the Martin stamp of approval comes to us via Vanity Fair, after the author made (an increasingly rare) appearance at a fan event, Balticon, in Baltimore, Maryland, US.
In addition to reading out a new chapter from The Winds of Winter (just FINISH IT ALREADY), Martin revealed a rather badass back story for the beloved heroine, Brienne of Tarth.
In both the books and HBO's adaptation, Brienne's origins are brutal to say the least: the sole surviving child of Lord Selwyn from the rugged island of Tarth, her mother died when she was too young to form any real memories of her, and all her siblings died in childhood. Despite being able to inherit an island, she has several betrothals fall through - due in part to her intimidating physical size.
But Martin's new revelation goes a long way to restoring some pomp to poor old Brienne: it turns out she is the descendant of Ser Duncan the Tall.
While fans of the books will be familiar with the name, he's only cropped up a handful of times in the TV show.
The famed seven-foot-tall knight of Westeros lived some 100 years before the events of the war for the Iron Throne. A giant of a man - chivalrous, honourable and unparalleled in his sword skills - he's actually one of Martin's favourite characters; in between not writing The Winds of Winter and turning up at fan events, Martin wrote a series of novellas (The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword and The Mystery Knight) on Ser Duncan and his squire Egg - who is actually prince Aegon Targaryen.
It's a family link that book fans have speculated on for some time; in addition to the shared vast height, do-gooder attitude and sword mastery, Brienne finds Ser Duncan's coat of arms in her father's armoury, taking it on as her own.
So there you have it - Brienne is actually the descendant of one of the most awesome characters in Martin's series, which would lead us to believe she's either not going to die, or that her death is going to be so blindingly heroic that we'll not be able to get over it. Here's hoping it's the former - we still haven't got over Hodor.
[Via: Vanity Fair]