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George R. R. Martin discusses how J.R.R. Tolkien inspired world-building in Game of Thrones



George R. R. Martin has received acclaim for his intricate world-building. It is the reason why so many prequels and spin-offs have been planned after Game of Thrones. Like most writers, he was inspired by a prominent author and has created this world with the help of two fans-turned-authors.

George R. R. Martin’s world-building inspiration

In an interview with 92NY, George R. R. Martin discussed how Tolkien inspired his world-building, noting how Tolkien’s world-building influenced the epic fantasy genre:

George R. R. Martin: The World of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones)

“Tolkien gave us all these histories, all these appendices, and genealogies, and everything was rooted, and it seemed as real as England or France or Germany when you read these things, and since then, that’s become the style for epic fantasy, it’s something fantasy readers now expect, they expect a fully realized secondary world as Tolkien called it and so certainly that’s what I set out to create in Westeros.”

Then Martin described how he initially did not have a detailed world planned out and also how he met his World of Ice and Fire co-authors Elio and Linda:

“I began with the story and the characters and the scene, and everything grew from that, but the world grew along with the story, and I rapidly discovered it. As I got into the writing, the readers wanted to know more and more about this world, and they would send me emails and letters saying, ‘This dance with the dragons that you mentioned can you tell me about that? It sounds fascinating,’ ‘Aegon’s conquest. How did Aegon conquer the seven kingdoms when he only had a little army? You mentioned that, but I don’t understand how it worked. Could you write me about that, or could you write a book about that?’ You know, as the years passed, a lot of these letters came in, and some of the earliest ones came in from Elio and Linda, Elio Garcia jr and Linda Antonsson.”

Working together to create a world

George R. R. Martin, Elio and Linda

Credit 1: LIAM MCBURNEY/PA IMAGES VIA GETTY / Credit 2: Emelie Asplund.

George then described how impressed he was back then by Elio and Linda’s knowledge of the Ice and Fire books. When he finally decided to write the companion book explaining the history and lore of Westeros, he asked them to co-write it with him:

“I got more and more requests for something like this, a concordance or world book. A number of other fantasy authors had done these, this the so-and-so companion or the concordance or whatever. I said okay, we’ll do one too, and I’ll have Elio and Linda come in. They can do all the hard work because they keep track of the stuff better than I am.”

Read Next: How George R. R. Martin writes minor characters?

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Aryan, a freelance writer with a profound passion for the English language and literature, also happens to be an ardent fan of "A Song of Ice and Fire" and its television adaptation, "Game of Thrones." Fascinated by the intricate world-building, compelling characters, and rich storytelling of these epic sagas, Aryan finds great joy in delving into the depths of their narratives and analyzing the nuances they offer.


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