Creator / George R.R. Martin

"Don't ask him when it's going to be finished! Don't you know that every time someone asks when [the next A Song of Ice and Fire novel] will be finished, George R. R. Martin kills a Stark!?!"
Jude8098, commenting on Martin's official blog

George Raymond Richard Martin (born 1948) aka "Evil Santa", "Fiction's Most Notorious Serial Killer", or "The Great Bearded Glacier" is an American author and screenwriter. He is most famous for his Fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire.

As a boy, he was (and, let us not forget, remains) definitely One of Us. You can see the fan-mail he wrote to Stan Lee when he was sixteen here (complete with his Bayonne, New Jersey address).

His short story With Morning Comes Mistfall was nominated for a Nebula Award in 1973. He also wrote numerous Science Fiction short stories known collectively as "The Thousand Worlds." He has also written political fiction and Horror.

In the 1980s, he wrote screenplays for television series, including The Twilight Zone (1985) and Beauty and the Beast (1987). He often ran into trouble due to failure to consider the reality of how his scripts could actually be filmed within budget, which eventually led him back to books. He is also an editor on the Wild Cards cycle. His short story Nightfliers was adapted into a feature film.

In 1996, he published A Game of Thrones, the first installment in the Door Stopper Fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire. The series has been acclaimed by critics, readers, and fellow authors alike. He is currently working on The Winds of Winter, the sixth book in the series. The rights to a live-action TV series were acquired by HBO and five seasons have aired. Martin himself is credited as the co-executive producer for the series and has been quoted as saying going on set was like walking into a dream and has said in an interview that "my God, they got it right."

Martin is well-known for his cordial relationships with his fans. Some say it detracts from his working pace. He keeps a regular Blog, titled Not A Blognote , where he keeps readers up to date on his projects, life, and favorite football teams; he also frequently comments on politics, both the internal politics of the speculative fiction world (see: his extensive commentary on the "Sad Puppies") and general American politics (he is a proud liberal Democrat). He also is a frequent guest at conventions, where he will happily hand out Shrugs Of God and occasionally invite some fans to private dinners. However, he is firmly opposed to Fan Fiction of his works, as he feels it weakens his copyrights and is bad practice for aspiring writers. Fan-Art, however, is acceptable.

There is a great deal of controversy over his writing schedule (or lack thereof), particularly the long gap between A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons, leading to a Broken Base of those that felt he should finish the damn books already and those that felt the quality is well worth the wait. Neil Gaiman himself has chimed in on the issue, summing it up as "George R.R. Martin is not your bitch." Whether or not the completion of Winter will heal the breach in the base probably depends on the quality of the book and how long the next one takes. Some other fans worry about possible Author Existence Failure causing an Orphaned Series, as Martin has said in the past that in the event he dies before finishing the story, he has left instructions that all his notes and any unpublished manuscripts be destroyed. However, it is now known that in the event of his death, the story will be concluded on Game of Thrones (with whose creators he has cooperated most closely).

A word of warning: don't tell him to write faster and for God's sake don't sing a song about it!

Also not to be confused with Beatles producer Sir George Martin.


Bibliography:

Literature

  • A Song for Lya
  • Night of the Vampyres (1975)
  • The Lonely Songs of Laren Dorr (1976) (Roger Zelazny described this as "one of the few stories by someone else which I wish I'd written.")
  • Meathouse Man (1976)
  • Dying of the Light (1977)
  • Nightflyers (1980), adapted into a feature film in 1987.
  • Sandkings (1981), adapted into a two-part episode of The Outer Limits (1995).
  • Windhaven (1981, with Lisa Tuttle)
  • The Ice Dragon (1980)
  • Fevre Dream (1982)
  • The Armageddon Rag (1983)
  • Tuf Voyaging (1986) A collection of short stories about Havilland Tuf, who's gained control of an Environmental Engineering Cool Starship.
  • The Skin Trade (1989) - Optioned for film by Mike the Pike Productions.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire series:
    • A Game of Thrones (1996)
    • A Clash of Kings (1998)
    • A Storm of Swords (2000)
    • A Feast for Crows (2005)
    • A Dance with Dragons (2011)
    • The Winds of Winter (forthcoming)
    • A Dream of Spring (forthcoming)
  • Tales of Dunk and Egg series - set in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire
    • The Hedge Knight (1998)
    • The Sworn Sword (2003)
    • The Mystery Knight (2010)
  • Shadow Twin" (2004, with Gardner Dozois and Daniel Abraham)
  • Hunter's Run (2007, expanded version of the novella "Shadow Twin," with Gardner Dozois and Daniel Abraham)
  • Songs of the Dying Earth (2009, editor, with many others)

Television Series

  • The Twilight Zone (1985)
    • The Last Defender of Camelot (1986) - writer (teleplay)
    • The Once and Future King (1986) - writer (teleplay), story editor
    • A Saucer of Loneliness (1986) - story editor
    • Lost and Found (1986) - writer (teleplay)
    • The World Next Door (1986) - story editor
    • The Toys of Caliban (1986) - writer (teleplay)
    • The Road Less Traveled (1986) - writer (story and teleplay), story editor

  • Beauty and the Beast (1987)
    • Terrible Saviour (1987) - writer
    • Masques (1987) - writer
    • Shades of Grey (1988) - writer
    • Promises of Someday (1988) - writer
    • Fever (1988) - writer
    • Ozymandias (1988) - writer
    • Dead of Winter (1988) - writer
    • Brothers (1989) - writer
    • When the Blue Bird Sings' (1989) - writer (teleplay)
    • A Kingdom by the Sea (1989) - writer
    • What Rough Beast (1989) - writer (story)
    • Ceremony of Innocence (1989) - writer
    • Snow (1989) - writer
    • Beggar's Comet (1990) - writer
    • Invictus (1990) - writer

  • Game of Thrones
    • "Pilot" - writer (story), producer, creator
    • "The Pointy End" (2011) - writer
    • "Blackwater" (2012) - writer
    • "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" (2013) - writer
    • "The Lion and the Rose" (2014) - writer

Tropes present in Martin's works as a whole or discussed by him:

  • Anyone Can Die: Has become infamous for this. Honest Trailers affectionately describes him as "fiction's most notorious serial killer." He states this is because he wants the reader never to never be able to know what happens next through established Sorting Algorithm of Mortality conventions or tropes like The Good Guys Always Win.
  • Berserk Button:
    • People speculating that he might die before finishing A Song of Ice and Fire has understandably become one. An interview where he said "Fuck you, to those people" while flipping the bird quickly went memetic.
    • A minor one is the Date of Worldcon. As far as he is concerned the only Fan Convention that should be allowed to take place on Labor Day weekend is Worldcon and he will throw a minor tantrum any year that this doesn't happen.
  • Dark Fantasy: His stories deal with huge amounts of moral ambiguity, honorable heroes suffering and/or dying when outmanoeuvred by ruthless villains and deconstructing a great many established fantasy tropes along the way.
  • Double Standard: Lampshaded. Martin pointed out in an interview that he can describe a horrifically violent death in great detail without any reaction, while the same amount of detail describing a sex scene would cause an uproar.
  • Downer Ending: Hardly any of his works end in any other way.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: He's talked about how one of the earliest writing tips he got was to give each character's name a different first letter, to make them easier to remember. He responded, "But I'm planning to have more than 26 characters!"
  • Lying Creator: In one of the Game of Thrones featurettes aired prior to the start of season 1 to introduce the world of Westeros to viewers, Martin said that "Ned Stark is the main character whom the books revolve around". Anyone who's familiar with the books were probably laughing their ass off when watching that. He dies before the end of the first novel. Though considering that his death is the trigger for the War of the Five Kings, the books revolve around him From a Certain Point of View.
  • Schedule Slip: He's notoriously suffered from it since around the turn of the century. One article even noted that every time he releases a preview chapter, it now feels more like getting a finger from a kidnap victim.
    • This has now reached the point where you can count on quite a few fans to throw a fit whenever he's reported to be doing literally anything besides working on A Song of Ice of Fire. Some news stories even make tongue-in-cheek references to "things George R.R. Martin is doing instead of writing his books."
    • Amusingly referenced in IZombie, which posits that the perfect way to get under any fan's skin is to ask what Martin is doing at that very moment, to which the answer is inevitably "Not writing."
  • Shades of Conflict: The questionable morality in his works leads to plenty:
    "I sometimes think the second world war has changed our entire western civilisation's view of war, because, of all the wars in history, the second world war is closest to fantasy war, in which there is a dark lord, whose guys are actually evil and dress in black and wear skulls on their uniforms. The first world war was a much more typical war: what were all those people really fighting for?"
    • Grey and Gray Morality: George has made a point of presenting morally ambiguous characters in a setting where clear cut notions of right and wrong are hard to come by. The murkiness of war, politics and the negative impact is has on those outside of the social elite is a central theme in many of his works.
    I like grey characters; fantasy for too long has been focused on very stereotypical heroes and villains.
    • Black and Gray Morality: While there are no clear-cut heroes, when a guy has bad intentions he will be as vile as possible (usually enjoying rape, murder - and if it's a Cruel and Unusual Death, even better! - and torture). Characters like Ramsay Bolton, Gregor Clegane and Joffrey Baratheon are noted as some of the most despicable characters in modern fiction.
  • Story-Breaker Power: He does his utmost to avert this in his stories, especially regarding magic, hence why A Song of Ice and Fire starts out as Low Fantasy before The Magic Comes Back.
    "I think if you put too much magic in your Fantasy it overwhelms the plot, and it starts to make the plot nonsensical. If you do have a sorceress or a wizard who can speak a word and wipe out an army, why would you even assemble an army?"
  • Trolling Creator: As his appearance on Last Week Tonight more than proves.
    John: Hey, George. How's your writing going?
    George: [on Skype] I just killed three of your favorite characters.
    John: What?! It's not Arya, is it!? Give me a hint! It's not Arya, right?!
    George: [Shrugs, resumes writing.]
  • Villain Protagonist: On several occasions he has found himself discussing the reasons why a villain can be the main character and yet enjoyable to watch despite clearly being evil—mainly in opposition to Executive Meddling he experienced in the movie business that the main characters need to be "more heroic" out of (in hindsight unsubstantiated) fears that the audience will otherwise tune out. Martin himself has crafted some rather memorable villains in central roles who, despite being "the bad guys," retain a loyal fan base due to being interesting characters.
    [referring to The Sopranos]
    "HBO has proven that we will follow for years and years some pretty reprehensible characters as long as they're fascinating."
Also
[On his opinion ofThe Lord of the Rings]
"[...]A villain is a hero of the other side, [...]I think some of that is definitely what Iím aiming at[...]"

Alternative Title(s): George RR Martin