George R.R. Martin, Father of Fantasy Fiction

Winter has been long in coming on HBO’s Game of Thrones series, but it’s been even longer for fans of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, the series of books on which the TV show is based. Even as the Emmy-winning Video game of Thrones returns on July 16 for its seventh and penultimate season, readers are still waiting for the The Winds of Winter, Martin’s long-promised sixth novel in the saga of the mythical Westeros and the battle because of its Iron Throne. The last book, A Dance with Dragons, was published in 2011, soon after Game of Thrones premiered, and events on it show have now overtaken it.

That doesn’t mean Martin has been out of the public eye-far from it. He is a co-executive producer on Video game of Thrones, and has written four episodes of the series. He maintains an active blog, spills copious digital ink about the New York Jets and Giants, and consents to a number of interviews and personal appearances. But followers of the books, some of whom are obsessive enough to create wikis and even act as consultants to Martin when he’s forgotten details from earlier installments of A Song of Ice and Fire, have grown restive. The author is 69, and he is got another publication in the series, A Dream of Spring, to go after The Wind gusts of Winter is finally completed. When will the tale reach an end, and when it does, will it be rendered anti-climactic by the conclusion of Game of Thrones?

Others, including many enthusiasts of the TV series, may have only the dimmest notion of this back story. They may not know much about Frank or about the books. Here are a few facts to help catch them up:

1) No, the author is not English. Though the landscape of Westeros, like J. L. R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth, may resemble the British Isles and other European parts, and though the central conflict is inspired by England’s Wars from the Roses, Martin is a New Jersey boy, born and raised in Bayonne. (He now resides in New Mexico. ) He began writing monster stories as a child and comic fanzine fiction because a teenager. His first professional sale came at 21, when his story “The Hero” was published in Galaxy magazine.

2) Journalism School knocked the purple out of Martin’s prose. The author finished bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in journalism at Northwestern University, training that he credited with making him a better writer when he received an alumni award from the school in 2015. “I never used one adjective where four would fit, “ he said, adding that at Northwestern his writing became “ more muscular and tighter. ” Yet he went on to say that in recent years “the adjectives have been coming back in. ”

3) Though his work is known for large-scale fight scenes and overall violence, Martin was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War. He did alternative service with VISTA, the anti-poverty program, for two years in the 1970s. The author’s interest in and knowledge of military history have only increased his awareness that “wars will be nasty things, ” as he told NPR’s All Things Considered in 2011. It also explains his famed ruthlessness with his characters. “ I think it’s sort of a cheap, easy way out to write a war story in which all the heroes… happily go killing the enemy and maybe they have a few close calls, but no one ultimately dies. ” As for the graphic sexual violence that has turned some viewers off Video game of Thrones, Martin informed Entertainment Weekly that ignoring the reality that rape results coming from war would be “fundamentally dishonest. ”

4) Game of Thrones is not Martin’s first foray into television. After producing ends meet teaching journalism and directing chess tournaments, the author published the science fiction novel Dying of the Light in 1977, followed by several additional books, including the vampire tale Fevre Dream as well as the mystery-fantasy Armageddon Rag. When the latter failed commercially, Martin decided to take a different tack, and hired on as staff article writer for CBS’ 1985 Twilight Zone reboot. He also worked on ABC’s Max Headroom and was a writer- maker on CBS’ Beauty plus the Beast.

5) Hadrian’s Wall in northern England lit the creative spark for A Song of Ice and Fire. In the NPR interview, Martin recalled that when he climbed the ancient Roman wall ( a mere 10 feet to the 700-foot-high wall of ice in north Westeros), “I stared away north towards Scotland… and I just tried to imagine what it was just like to be a Roman legionary by southern Italy standing on this wall not knowing what was going to emerge from those hills or those trees… And I said, I’ve got to capture this kind of in a fantasy reserve. ” The first volume, titled A Game of Thrones, was released in 1996.

6) Martin’s reputation as a slow writer is well earned. While the next two books inside the Track of Ice and Fire series, A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords, respectively came out in 1998 and 2000, it had been then five years before the fourth quantity, A Feast for Crows, finally appeared. Then it was another six years before A Dance with Dragons, which runs on a parallel temporal track with A Feast for Crows, emerged. He told NPR that there are two kinds of writers: the kind who “ offers his blueprints like an architect does and he know exactly where all of the pipes are going to run and how many rooms there are going to be… prior to he drives the first nail or perhaps writes the first word. But there’s also the gardener who digs a hole and plants something and waters it along with his blood. And I’m much more of a gardener than I am a great architect… ”

7) Rumors of the author’s death were greatly exaggerated. Martin provides understandably bridled at the suggestion that at this rate, he could be dead before A Music of Ice and Fire is finished. When Beatles record producer Sir George Martin died in 2016, supporters panicked, thinking their worst nightmare had come to pass. George R. R. Matn had to take to social media to reassure the world he still lived. Fans can perhaps take solace in the fact that Sir George lived to be 90. There’s still plenty of time to place a victor on the Iron Throne.

Like what you read? Give Richest Celebrities a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.