George R. R. Martin’s 1999 interview about the A Song of Ice and Fire series reveals some interesting information
While we wait for the 7th season of Game of Thrones to drop, an older interview which has the author of the series, George R. R. Martin talking about the future of A Song of Ice and Fire has resurfaced, from Event Horizon. The 17-year old piece has some interesting comments from GRRM. Here are some excerpts from the interview :
When asked if any character will live in the end :
“No one will be alive by the last book. In fact, they all die in the fifth. The sixth book will be just a thousand-page description of snow blowing across the graves. . .”
This one hits so close to home that it just hurts.
Talking about the lines between good and bad characters :
“I want to blur those lines. I like to paint in shades of grey, not blacks and whites. Someone once said the villain is the hero of the other side. I wanted to reflect that. So many fantasies have villains who are cardboard cutouts. Lord Blackness or King Evil or the Monstrous One or somesuch. Feh.”
*cough* Jaime Lannister. *cough*
Talking about character development :
“Well, it helps that he has more chapters than anyone else. When I began A GAME OF THRONES, I figured I’d have the same number of chapters for each character, but I soon discovered that would never work. Some had to be more equal than others. Ned is the dominant character in the first book; Tyrion in the second. Tyrion is one character I find very easy to write, as well. The hardest characters are Jon and Dany — in part because they are so removed from the main action, and in part because their chapters have the heaviest “magic quotient.” As I have said in other interviews, the magic needs to be handled very carefully.”
Talking about the fantasy genre :
“Fortunately, A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE won’t have that problem. Many fantasies after Tolkien have been terrible, of course. There are terrific writers, don’t get me wrong. Tad Williams, Robin Hobb, Ursula K. Le Guin, Jack Vance, Guy Gavriel Kay, and others have done wonderful work in the fantasy field. But a lot of it does read like they boiled all the good stuff out of The Lord of the Rings and kept what was left.”
Talking about the Rhegar-Lyanna relationship :
“Rhaegar and Lyanna — well, that’s a revelation that will need to wait for later volumes. But if you’re uncertain about it, I am glad. One thing I wanted to do was suggest the uncertainty of truth. I mean, think about it — in our own world, we don’t even know what happened between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings — or between Bill Clinton and Paula Jones, for that matter. The truth of Rhaegar and Lyanna may be similarly elusive. . .for a time.”
There are much more things GRRM discussed in the chat, right from Daenerys Targaryen’s ‘unburnt’ incident, to the possibility of bringing in more mythical creatures into the series. What changes did you notice between the 1999 GRRM’s vision of the series, and the series in its current form?