George R.R. Martin, the author of A Song of Ice and Fire, which was turned into HBO’s series, A Game of Thrones, will turn 66 years old tomorrow. That makes him eligible for full Social Security retirement benefits. The man has led a long and interesting life, and he seems like’s he’s had a few careers, and a number of successful and not so successful relationships. Above all — his mistreatment of Starks notwithstanding — George R.R. Martin is a good guy, and on the occasion of his birthday, we thought we’d celebrate with 13 facts about Martin and his personal life (the details of which, he’s shared on the Internet).
1. In the 1970s, George R.R. Martin was lovers with Lisa Tuttle, with whom he collaborated on Windhaven. Tuttle has dated other sci-fi writers, too, including Steven Utley and Christopher Priest. In the sci-fi/fantasy world, she’s kind of a big deal.
2. The wedding song at George R.R. Martin’s wedding to his first wife, Gale Burnick, was “Bridge Over Troubled Waters.” It was an omen. The marriage did not work out.
3. Martin met his second wife, Parris McBride, for the first time in 1975, but didn’t begin dating her until the 1980s. At the time, she lived in Portland, Oregon. She visited him in New Mexico and ended up never leaving. They finally married in 2011.
4. Martin was also close friends with Hugo award winning sci-fi author, Roger Zelazny. In fact, Martin adapted his short story, “The Last Defender of Camelot” into a Twilight Zone episode in 1986.
5. George R.R. Martin’s favorite Song of Ice and Fire character is Tyrion Lannister. NEVER ASK HIM THAT QUESTION AGAIN. (On the other hand, he thinks that Loras Tyrell is the sexiest character in Westeros.)
6. In the sixth grade, George R.R. Martin briefly gave up comic books, and gave all of his Superman comics away. However, after six months, he began buying comic books again, just in time to buy the first edition of Spider-man and The Fantastic Four, which — he says — could fund his retirement now.
7. The first piece of writing Martin ever got published was a letter he wrote to a magazine arguing that Stan Lee was a better writer than Shakespeare. He would also write letters to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Here’s one from when Martin was 15.
8. Many people know that George R.R. Martin uses the Wordstar word processor, developed in the early 1980s. It is a text only DOS program. He’s not the only author who still uses Wordstar, however. The late William F. Buckley, Jr. used it until his death in 2007, and the Canadian sci-fi author Robert J. Sawyer also still uses it.
9. George R.R. Martin is a confirmed “breast man.” He is not, as South Park suggests, obsessed with penises.
10. In 1993, Martin wrote a television movie called Doorway, which starred Carrie Anne Moss, who also starred in a TV series that same year called Matrix, which was completely unrelated to the Wachowski movies except for one thing: They both starred Moss.
11. George R.R. Martin also once admitted that he owes much of his career success to chess player Bobby Fischer. Because Fischer had popularized chess during a brief time in the 70s, Martin was able to work as the director of a chess tournament in his early 20s, a job that afforded him a lot of spare time to work on his writing, which would eventually lead to his publication.
12. He would appreciate very much if you wouldn’t rush him on his writing because only intensifies the pressure, and he’s already afraid he’s going to “pull a Lost.” And for God’s sake, don’t suggest he’s going to die before he finishes the series.
13. In the event he DOES die, however, Martin has ordered that all his incomplete notes and manuscripts be destroyed so that no one else is allowed to finish the series for him (however, he would like the HBO series to be completed, which is why he’s sketched out the ending with the Game of Thrones showrunners).