When I caught wind that world famous creator of Game of Thrones – George R.R. Martin was in town for the Edinburgh Book Festival I knew there was only one trusted warrior up to the task of tracking him down and making him talk. So I dispatched Denis of Cookstown to go see him chatting about the new book. Here’s what he found out:
HBO’s Game of Thrones goes from strength to strength, and the popularity of the original book series, a Song of Ice and Fire, has also exploded.
The series author, George RR Martin, made his first ever visit to Edinburgh Book Festival, ahead of his new book, The World of Ice and Fire.
Witty and genial as ever, he regaled the rapt audience with tales of bloodthirsty killings, his New Jersey childhood, and Xena: Warrior Princess…
6. Scotland should build an ice wall to keep out the English
On being asked about his “relationship with Scotland”, George painted a picture of his first visit to Britain in the early eighties. A trip to Hadrian’s wall conjured up images of a huge barrier to keep out the untamed Northerners. Joking about the forthcoming Scottish independence referendum , George quipped that a future Scotland could this time fortify itself to protect against the barbaric southerners. Winter is coming, after all.
5. A Song Of Ice And Fire is NOT homophobic
Asked about the lack of gay sex scenes in the books, compared with some fairly explicit moments in the TV show, George’s explanation was simple – it’s to do with with the first person viewpoint of the narrative. None of the viewpoint characters would’ve been present for any gay sex and therefore there was no direct access to the reader. Apparently he regularly gets requests for male on male scenes, “mostly from women”.
4. We know at least two characters who will die in the series
“I do know two at least two people who are going to die…”, declared George casually. He was, of course, speaking of his recent charity fund raiser for a New Mexico wolf sanctuary. Two die-hard fans paid $20,000 each for the highly coveted prize of a horrible death in the series. “I’ll dump them in a lake of acid or have their heads chopped off”, he said, adding that he’ll tweak their names slightly to avoid drawing too much attention. “I like wolves!”.
3. Brienne of Tarth was inspired by Xena
Asked about his strong female roles, he revealed his love for a certain 90’s fantasy female. “I enjoyed Xena: Warrior Princes, it was a lot of fun to watch, but I didn’t think it was an accurate portrayal of a woman warrior”. And so, George invented his own ass kicking lady characters as a reflection of what Xena was missing. Brienne has certainly broken new ground for female warriors, and with Gwendoline Christie announced in the new Star Wars cast, this archetype could be here to stay.
2. Don’t expect any cameos from Jareth the Goblin King
Often hailed as the American Tolkien, George reveres the work of the English fantasy pioneer. However, he’s not so keen on the “legion of Tolkien imitators” that followed in the 1970s and 1980s. “They took a lot of the elements that Tolkien used and cheapened them … they were being sold degraded goods”. No doubt he’s referring to the likes of Labyrinth and Legend, fantasy pastiches that over-egged the more childish traits of classic fantasy.
1. Tyrion and Arya are his favourite characters to write
George says he enjoys writing all the characters, but revealed two of his favourites to be “half-man” Tyrion, and the young tomboy Arya Stark. As two of the best loved characters in the TV show, fans will be heartened to hear that they might be spared one of series famous death scenes, but only George knows for sure.
The World of Ice and Fire looks set to be an essential purchase to all Throners, and is released this October
Unfortunately the character known as ‘Denis’ was killed off unexpectedly after this article. See that George?! Screenkicker can do anything you can!