There are a lot of great distractions out there. George R.R. Martin said so in terms of finishing the last two books in A Song of Ice and Fire series, especially The Winds of Winter which has been coming for a long time. He has insisted in the past that he is trying to eliminate the distractions and making progress into the complex design of TWOW.
And now, he seems to be pushing himself to the far end. Martin talked to The Wall Street Journal about TWOW and the phenomenon of Game of Thrones. He is apparently in hiding on a “remote mountain hideaway” to finish writing the sixth book. It’s supposed to be a cabin, whose location he keeps private, where he sits down to complete his books. He had done this with A Dance with Dragons, the fifth in ASOIAF.
However, a different book comes out this month.Fire and Blood. The Targaryenwords. It covers the history of Targaryens and how they came to rule Westeros, a prequel happening 300 years before the events of A Game of Thrones. Martin must have his hands full with TWOW and the recently announced prequelto Game of Thrones.
The world created by GRRM has spread like wildfire, catching the frenzy of millions across the globe, most wanting to know more and more about it. George seems fascinated by this,“It astonishes me that today there are tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of kids all over the world who know more about the Starks and the Lannisters than they know about the Yorks and Lancasters.” Yorks and Lancasters were the rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet, who fought The War of Roses for control of the English Throne.
Martin’s books are inspired by real historical events, drawing from wars like The War of Roses. He believes that history should be taught with the touch of drama, as characters and conflicts, so that it’s interesting to learn history.“The way history is taught today, it’s more socioeconomic trends and things like that, which…I don’t know if it’s more valid or less valid, but it’s certainly more boring,” he says.
He found himself reading history for“the wars and the betrayals, who stabbed who in the back, who was having an affair with whom, and to me that’s the juicy stuff of history. That’s what makes history fun.” Nothing is as heartbreaking as reality. According to him, the violence and love-making in his books are a toned-down version of real events.
People are driven by similar motivations to do things in life. Martin sees them be love and glory.“They’ve motivated everybody from Alexander the Great to Napoleon to all the great figures in history, but also the ordinary guy,” he insists.
As far as vivid worlds go,Middle Earth comes into view as easily as imagination exists. And it’s no news that like a million others, George Martin is a fan of J. R. R. Tolkien and his Lord of the Rings series. There are apparent similarities between the two worlds, Middle Earth and Westeros, yet major differences too. Martin says, “I don’t think there are any real dark lords out there, as Tolkien and his imitators have filled fantasy with. Evil is real, evil exists in our universe, but it’s ordinary people who do evil.”
He goes on, “As much as I love Tolkien, I love going places that Tolkien would never go. There’s obviously no porn or erotica in Middle Earth.”
The series of ASOIAF has expanded to humongous proportions. When he writes now, he keeps the detailed maps of the lands and histories of the dynasties handy. But “the master depository is still my fevered brains,” he states. The HBO show has moved beyond the books and is following a different trajectory, though it may arrive at the same conclusion. But does it affect how the story ends in his books?“I’m still going to finish it the way I always wanted to finish it, the way it’s been in my head for 25 years now,” he declares.
GRRM thinks that the history and events in his books may impart some lessons to the ones reading them.“Maybe some kid who is reading it now…will be a president or senator, and the lessons of Westeros will have been incorporated into his worldview and affect some decision he makes 20 or 30 years from now.” After a pause, he continues, “It depends on who he models himself on, Jon Snow or a new Joffrey. We don’t need anyone modeling themselves after Joffrey.”
Power resides where men believe it resides. It’s a trick.Game of Thrones has had a lot of such significant moments, where a scene or a dialogue says so much more than just the story. While we move into the final phase of waiting, with the premiere month out for season 8, let’s look for more of such moments.
What do you think about GRRM’s writing? Tell us in the comments.