Earlier this week George R.R. Martin joined fellow fantasy author Robin Hobb for a wide-ranging discussion about their craft in front of a live audience. They covered everything from their process, to their starts in the genre, to advice they’d give to their younger selves. (For the record, Martin’s was “stay anonymous,” which, man, can you even imagine the media frenzy if the identity of the mind behind a series of beloved books that spawned a zeitgest-capturing cable series was a total mystery? It would be chaos.)
Most importantly for fans of Game of Thrones and/or murder, however, was this:
“The way my books are structured, everyone was together, then they all went their separate ways and the story deltas out like that, and now it’s getting to the point where the story is beginning to delta back in, and the viewpoint characters are occasionally meeting up with each other now and being in the same point at the same time, which gives me a lot more flexibility for killing people.”
“Which gives me a lot more flexibility for killing people.” This is a very revealing quote. It means, among other things, some of which we’ll touch on in a bit, that it is about to get easier for George R.R. Martin to kill of all your favorite characters. Because it was apparently harder before. During all those murder-filled seasons. If Ser Pounce dies we riot.
He also said this, which, when coupled with the series itself and quotes like that last one, kind of makes sense. Perfect, terrifying sense.
“I had these cheap alien toys and I made up stories for them. They were space pirates. They didn’t have names so I made up names. These were the first stories I wrote. Even as a little kid I was thinking about torture.”
Really? You? No. Nah. No way. I don’t believe it. George R.R. Martin? Good ol’ Georgie? Thought about torture a lot as a kid? Nope. Must have the wrong guy.