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George R. R. Martin shares how he names his Game of Thrones book characters



George R. R. Martin in house of dragon

With characters and creatures that have genuinely mesmerized both book and television audiences, George R. R. Martin has created one of the most adored magical worlds of all time. Martin continues to share fascinating facts about Game of Thrones, and the most recent one is as amusing as it gets.

How does George R. R. Martin come up with names for his Game of Thrones book characters?

In an interview back in 2012 with TIFF Originals, Martin was asked about his thought process that gives birth to so many characters, and how he names them. He said:

George RR Martin on Coming up with Character Names

“Names are really hard. And I need to know the name of the character before I can begin to write about them. I met a writer once, I won’t mention her name, she is a very successful sci-fi fantasy writer. Years ago, I remember visiting her in their house. That was so long ago. She was working on her IBM Selectric. She was finishing a novel and I noticed that there were like no names.”

“There was like X13, X13 turn away, she said, “Oh no no I have a hard time with names. So I put them at the end. You see I have this list where I number all the characters like a1 a2 a3 and then write them after the book ends, like I invent something like Fred.” I can’t write about Fred unless I know his name was Fred. Knowing his name is Fred influences the whole way I write about him. So you know, different writers work in different ways.”

How George R. R. Martin ignores the general rule of writing stories

Martin continued, “One of the things about names is that when you are a wee tiny little writer just starting out, one of the things they teach you, when you are writing a story, never give two characters in the story whose names begin with the same letter.”

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“Because the reader will confuse them. And I followed that rule for many years but then when I was writing A Song of Ice and Fire novels, I said wait a minute, I m planning on having more than 26 characters, what am I gonna do here? Am I gonna name them like X Fred? So I decided to ignore that rule.” 

Read Next: George R.R. Martin hopes to finish all 7 Game of Thrones books “soon”


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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Tired Of Idiots

    June 26, 2023 at 10:34 pm

    Maybe he should worry less about names and just finish the damned books.

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