Much like Frank Sinatra, George R.R. Martin grew up in a New Jersey ghetto, and dreamed of bigger things. However, Sinatra dreamed of Hollywood, singing, acting, directing, and did it all. How did Martin, “Game of Thrones” bestselling author, novelist dream? He dreamed of a different world, far from Hollywood, far from the tenements of New Jersey, and about a new place called Westeros. And now what does he do, now that thanks to his bestselling novels and TV’s most powerful and successful series on Premium Cable? “I spend all day in Westeros and King’s Landing. The real world almost seems to fade away,” Martin said in an interview.
When talking about his world and his life today, Martin speaks forcefully. “It has been huge,” he says, on the phone from his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he lives with his wife Parris McBride. “It does seem like another world to me sometimes.
“When the writing is going really well, I do get lost in it, I almost live in it. It occupies the back of my head. I’m thinking about it constantly. I go to sleep thinking about it. I wake up thinking about it. I cross the street thinking about it – my office is across the street from my house.
However, as prolific as Martin is, HBO and viewers of the hit series “Game of Thrones” are anxious to see the next book, and where is he at this point in this story? He’s on “The Winds of Winter,” and he will vows not to go any faster. “I think it will be [finished] in seven books,” he says hopefully, “but I’ve been wrong about that before.”
When he started all those years ago, he thought it might be one book. Within a few months, he knew it would have to be three. When A Game of Thrones was released, it didn’t make a huge splash, but as the years went by and he wrote more of the books, ranging from about 700 to more than 1100 pages each, he knew the story was getting bigger, and with it, he entered further into “the Known World” containing Westeros.
David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are the “GoT” showrunners, and they seem to be the only people not pushing Martin to complete his latest installment. But, for how long? Fans are anxious to find out who ultimately will occupy the Iron Throne. Though Benioff told Highlight Hollywood last summer, “There will be several who will ascend to the Iron Throne before the final occupant is installed.”
The expansive world of Westeros is brought to television with the highest production values in TV history, estimated last season to cost a whopping $5 million per episode of the 10 episodes, Highlight Hollywood has heard that this year, will be even more expensive. And expansive! But when pressed on when he [Martin] plans on completing the books? “It is great that so many people are eager for the next book and certainly these are the people who are paying my bills and allowing me to have a house across the street from my other house,” he says. “But at the same time, sometimes I just wish they would stop pressuring me about it. It will be done when it’s done. I’m working on it. I don’t know what else I can say: I’m a slow writer, I’ve always been a slow writer, and these are gigantic books.”
Perhaps it’s the actual reality of the storylines that make this story so enthralling and almost addictive? “Of course, all these things are nothing compared with what happened in real history,” he says. “If you read the real history of the Middle Ages, the level of butchery and barbarity could be extreme. That is why it is such an interesting period to write about. You have such dramatic opposites. You have the whole idea of knighthood and chivalry, one of the most idealistic codes for a warrior we have ever seen in history,” said Martin. “But the reality was that the knights frequently committed acts we would consider today to be horrible war crimes – killing prisoners and raping and killing their way through enemy territory.
“On good days I vanish into Westeros and the real world goes away and I spend the day dealing with my characters,” he says. “There are bad days too, when there are a lot of distractions. The real world is always a threat to the imaginary world. These days there are certain things that come with success. I am not just a writer but a business, so I have three assistants. Seven years ago I had none,” concluded author George R.R. Martin.
And his wife says, he’s promised not to kill off several of the main characters in the book, though Martin sheepishly shrugged and says that he had to lie to her in order to finish the past books. Guess he’ll be blaming David Benioff and D.B. Weiss when all hell breaks loose this upcoming fourth season in Westeros. One you won’t want to miss.
Winter is Coming!
CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW, the latest EPIC trailer prepares us, “I Saw It In The Flames” and “The Northerners Will Never Forget”
Game of Thrones Season 4 – The Dark Night
Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: Helen Sloan/HBO
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