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George R. R. Martin says he almost didn't include dragons in A Song of Ice and Fire!

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Can we imagine Game of Thrones without Daenerys’s three majestic dragons, or the stories of Meraxes, Vhaegar and Balerion the Black dread? Can we imagine Dany walking out of Drogo’s funeral pyre without three tiny dragons with her? It’s almost impossible to think that Game of Thrones could exist without one of its most attractive features. You’d be surprised, but George R.R Martin almost didn’t include dragons in the early plans of A Song of Ice and Fire series. Shocking as it is, here’s what he had to say about it during an interview with Russian online newspaper Meduza:

I did consider in the very early stages not having the dragons in there. I wanted the Targaryen’s symbol to be the dragons, but I did play with the notion that maybe it was like a psionic power, that it was pyrokinesis — that they could conjure up flames with their minds. I went back and forth. My friend and fellow fantasy writer Phyllis Eisenstein actually was the one who convinced me to put the dragons in, and I dedicated the third book to her. And I think it was the right call.”

Although it would have been pretty cool to see Dany controlling fire with her powers, nothing compares to those dragons, we can all collectively agree. Martin also spoke about the use of magic in his work and how he likes it.

“Fantasy needs magic in it, but I try to control the magic very strictly,” he said. “You can have too much magic in fantasy very easily, and then it overwhelms everything and you lose all sense of realism. And I try to keep the magic magical — something mysterious and dark and dangerous, and something never completely understood. I don’t want to go down the route of having magic schools and classes where, if you say these six words, something will reliably happen. Magic doesn’t work that way. Magic is playing with forces you don’t completely understand. And perhaps with beings or deities you don’t completely understand. It should have a sense of peril about it.”

He also said that the show is independent from the books, that the show runners David Benioff and D.B Weiss have creative control and that they’ve done a great job with it.

“They are independent,” Martin said. “They can do whatever they want. I don’t have any power… any contractual right to [stop them]. I consult with them. I talk to them on a regular basis. Of course, years ago, we had a series of very long meetings, where I told them some of the big twists and turns and huge events that were coming in the last few books. So they’ve been touching [on] some of these, and doing some of the reveals, but they have also been departing in various ways. The show is the show. David and Dan are doing it, and they have to make choices with parameters that I don’t have to deal with. Questions about what audiences will accept and not accept, questions about running time, questions about what they can actually do.”

He then spoke about how he likes to keep his characters grey instead of completely good or evil. “I think the battle between good and evil is fought all over the world, every day, in the individual human heart, as we all struggle with the choices that define us and define our lives. And we have to choose what we are going to do, and sometimes the choice is not easy; it’s not this absolute juxtaposition of the good guys and the bad guys. And I wanted to get to that with my characters, and show some of the difficulties that they face.”

He said that Jon and Theon are two sides of the same coin. “In some senses, Theon is struggling all the way through to be a hero. They both come out of the same situation: they’re both raised in Winterfell by Eddard Stark, but they’re not part of the real, core family. Theon is a ward, and Jon Snow is a bastard son. So they’re both a little outside, but Jon handles this successfully, and Theon fails to handle this. He is poisoned by his own envy and his sense of not belonging.”

Martin then said that he relates to Samwell Tarly the most in real-life and would like to be Jon Snow. “The character I’m probably most like in real life is Samwell Tarly,” he said. “Good old Sam. And the character I’d want to be? Well who wouldn’t want to be Jon Snow — the brooding, Byronic, romantic hero whom all the girls love.”

He discussed a lot more about the books and his writing in the interview. Read it all here.

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Founder at Wiki of Thrones and a full-time Game of Thrones fan who does other work when he has finished reading and writing about Game of Thrones and also dreams about playing a role in the show.

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