Movies & TV / News

George RR Martin Discusses the Downside of Fame With Game of Thrones, Why the End of the Show Is ‘Freeing’ for Him

August 18, 2019 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
George R.R. Martin Wild Cards George RR Martin Game of Thrones

The Observer recently interviewed A Song of Ice and Fire saga creator and author George RR Martin, who discussed the end of the smash hit TV series Game of Thrones, which is based on his books. Below are some highlights from the interview. Martin discussed the downside of the fame that came with the show, the stress it put on his writing work with the books, and how the recent ending of the show earlier this year is a “freeing” experience for him.

George RR Martin on the stress from the show and writing the books and why the show being done is freeing for him: “There were a couple of years where, if I could have finished the book, I could have stayed ahead of the show for another couple of years, and the stress was enormous. I don’t think it was very good for me, because the very thing that should have speeded me up actually slowed me down. Every day I sat down to write and even if I had a good day – and a good day for me is three or four pages – I’d feel terrible because I’d be thinking: ‘My God, I have to finish the book. I’ve only written four pages when I should have written 40.’ But having the show finish is freeing, because I’m at my own pace now. I have good days and I have bad days and the stress is far less, although it’s still there… I’m sure that when I finish A Dream of Spring you’ll have to tether me to the Earth.”

Martin on how he’s written some spinoffs and other side books rather than the main series: “Westeros has become very big, and I know that that frustrates some of my fans, who would rather I just keep to the main storyline as they see it, which is the seven-book Song of Ice and Fire. But almost from the first I’ve seen other possibilities, other stories that are buried there.”

Martin on how he can’t meet new people anymore and how parties he used to like to attend grew too big: “When I first went to a Brotherhood Without Banners party there would be a few dozen people there, and I became quite friendly with some of them. And every time I attended I would meet new ones and spend time with them and run trivia contests for them. It was great but, as the books became more and more successful and then the show became a hit, so the parties became bigger and bigger and more and more crowded. They still have those parties and they’re still great, and I’m still friendly with the people I met back in 2001 and 2002, but I can’t meet the new people any more because there are too many. I’m sure they’re just as delightful as the old people, but I don’t want to go to a party where an unending succession of people want to take selfies with me, because that’s not fun the way it was in the old days. That’s work.”

George RR Martin on missing being able to go to a bookstore: “Yeah. Honestly I do. I mean, I can’t go into a bookstore any more, and that used to be my favorite thing to do in the world. To go in and wander from stack to stack, take down some books, read a little, leave with a big stack of things I’d never heard of when I came in. Now when I go to a bookstore, I get recognized within 10 minutes and then there’s a crowd around me. So you gain a lot but you also lose things.”

On how he stays away from the internet now: “At first I was very flattered and I’d go on message boards and think: ‘Oh, this is cool, they’re all really excited.’ But then I began to think: ‘No, I should really steer clear. I don’t like the fact that some people have figured things out that are correct, and I don’t like the fact that other people have figured out things that are wrong but that could influence me too.’ So I took myself out of all that and let fans have their theories, some of which are right and some of which are wrong. They’ll find out which when I finish.”