This is worth reading, if you’re a fan.
One of the commenters writes: “Please, please, please…. Stop doing interviews, book signings, tours, TV producing & just finish your books. You’re 66 with a family history of heart disease. We don’t know how long you have left. Don’t let your legacy be an incomplete one”
When book 4 came out, I went to a signing where GRRM told the crowd during Q&A roughly this: “I don’t have any notes. I know what happens, but it’s all in my head. If I die, you’re all FUCKED.” He said that with a big grin on his face.
Originally shared by Yonatan Zunger
George R. R. Martin gives an excellent interview to Rolling Stone where he talks about many of the key ideas that drive his writing, where they came from, and so on. (Honestly, I wish more author interviews got into this depth — but Martin’s ability to get into this depth is unusual, and no small part of his success as a writer) Take this quote, for example:
“This was maybe my answer to Tolkien, whom, as much as I admire him, I do quibble with… Tolkien can say that Aragorn became king and reigned for a hundred years, and he was wise and good. But Tolkien doesn’t ask the question: What was Aragorn’s tax policy? Did he maintain a standing army? What did he do in times of flood and famine? And what about all these orcs? … Did Aragorn pursue a policy of systematic genocide and kill them? Even the little baby orcs, in their little orc cradles?”
Martin has an excellent point, of course: one of the essential weaknesses of Tolkien’s work (which he inherited, in no small part, from the medieval sagas which so inspired him) is its fundamental one-dimensionality, in that it reduces characters to good and evil impulses. (Or in quite a few cases, just one or the other) But ruling is always a choice between the lesser of two evils. That education policy will cost money which could go to hospitals. Another country just seized some strategic land; is it worth a war for you to keep them from doing so? That sect wants to impose its own religious law on a district; do you let them do so, or accept that they’ll become your implacable enemies? What’s more important, to follow the law or prevent a civil war?
The interview has quite a lot of thinking about all of these issues, and his willingness to wrestle with the basic questions of power and its consequences is what makes it so interesting. Enjoy!