Why George R.R. Martin is the Shakespeare of the modern world
Kings. Queens. Noble houses at war. Brother against brother. True love thwarted. Villains celebrated. An audience spanning much of the known civilised world.
All written by an author whose fame exceeds almost all others.
Shakespeare, the greatest writer of antiquity, was known for all this and more.
In fact, he sounds a lot like Game Of Thrones author George R.R. Martin, who also lists Britain’s War of the Roses as his main inspiration for GOT. Both the Bard and Martin thus drank from the same well and achieved all-encompassing fame in their lifetimes.
Which, on the eve of S7, brings me to ask: is George R.R. Martin the Shakespeare of the modern world?
I would argue … yes.
What other author has won over the rich and poor, young and old alike?
Who else embraces the grand scope of themes favoured by the Bard?
Who else has created such an intimately relatable world? Whose works do we so eagerly await?
Who else is not afraid to make tragedies of our heroes and heroines?
Who else makes us care so much?
I just hope one day scholars recognise the same grand themes in Martin’s writings as they do in Shakespeare’s … and make students study Martin in school.
Just take a look at some of Shakespeare’s most famous quotes — paired with the best quotes from Game Of Thrones — and see if you don’t agree.
To be, or not to be: that is the question. (Hamlet)
What do we say to the Lord of Death? Not today.
Now is the winter of our discontent. (Richard III)
Winter is coming.
Off with his head! (Richard III)
The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword.
Get thee to a nunnery. (Hamlet)
Shame! Shame! Shame!
How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child! (King Lear)
You’re no son of mine.
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. (Henry V)
For the Watch.
All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. (As You Like it)
When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.
As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods/They kill us for their sport. (King Lear)
Why are all the gods such vicious *****? Where is the god of tits and wine?
The course of true love never did run smooth. (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
The thinks I do for love.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. (Hamlet)
You know nothing, Jon Snow.
Et tu, Brute? (Julius Caesar)
The Lannisters send their regards.
What’s in a name? A rose by any name would smell as sweet. (Romeo and Juliet)
Is a girl truly No One?