So I knew that even before I finished the first book. I knew, ultimately, that the Red Wedding would be coming. Which didn’t make it any easier to write because by the time I wrote it I’d spent six years with these people and I’d come to love Robb, I’d come to love Catelyn. Letting go of them was very, very difficult for me.


Just wanted to tell you all a little story. My dad was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer in august last year and was given 3-6 months to live. He died january 4th, this year.

Anyway, just before christmas, I wanted to give my dad at least a few moments of joy. My dad loved Game of Thrones so I searched up George R.R. Martin ’s email address, and sent him an email explaining the situation and asking if he could reply with a few words of encouragement for my dad. I knew it was a long shot, because even on his website he states that he can’t reply to all the fan emails he gets. 

Two days later, I had an email back from him. He was wondering if my dad had read “The world of ice and fire” a history book of his world. I said I don’t think he had, and he offered to send us an inscribed copy of that book.
Not too long after, the book arrived. I was expecting a normal sized book, but what we got was huge.
I was so excited to give it to my dad, and I couldn’t have gotten a better reaction. In all my years of life, I have NEVER seen him that happy. He even made himself get up to give me a hug. I’m so glad I could arrange that for him.
Whether GRRM has assistants writing his email replies or he does it himself, whoever is at the other side of that email address, is an amazing kind hearted person. I’ve emailed back and forth with him a bit, and let him know a while ago that my dad had passed, and he sent his condolences.
I honestly can’t thank him enough, the expression on my dads face when he opened the book is something that will stay with me forever.
What was written in the book was:
“Some dreams of fire, to help keep winter at bay.” with his signature. I’m truly grateful that man exists.

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.

Harington learned of George R.R. Martin’s feverishly loved series of novels, “A Song of Ice and Fire,” while working in a bookstore. “I used to stack George R.R. Martin’s books, and I used to hate him because they were so big. I had to carry them down in boxes, and I used to think, ‘Who is this (jerk) who’s written this massive book?’” He says he told that story to Martin once he landed the role of Jon Snow and read the series. “He just laughed,” the actor says with a smile, “because he’s vindictive like that.” (x)

The idea that one fantasy fiction can be deemed more realistic—essentially, more non-fictional—than the other, deserves contemplation. With science fiction, at least, we have the categories of hard and soft, depending on the sort of technology at the heart of the story. Consider, for example, elements in Martin’s Game of Thrones which Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings lacks. A Game of Thrones begins with a slaughter, followed by a beheading scene. The Lord of the Rings begins with plans for a birthday party, followed by the birthday party itself. Beheading, in fact, constitutes the single most gruesome detail of Tolkien’s many scenes of war, when the forces of Sauron use a catapult to throw the heads of Gondorian soldiers over the walls of Minas Tirith. In A Game of Thrones, atrocity is unflinching; even dead children are shown in all their red ruin. […]

There can be no doubt that Martin and Tolkien provide different experiences. The more modern publication delves much deeper into the personal psychology of its characters, while the other provides much more historical depth. To claim, however, that one imaginary world is more realistic than the other is to beg a standard that simply cannot assert itself. As Northrop Frye considered in his Anatomy of Criticism, as inhabitants of the real world, everything we imagine ourselves to understand—whether fiction or nonfiction—must have some basis in our own experience. Something entirely apart from that experience would be incomprehensible to us—untranslatable, as it were.

In deciding matters of realism, then, we must ask ourselves how deeply our experience goes with the criteria we invoke, and from there decide whether our decision is valid. Some may realize, for example, that they have attended more birthday parties than beheadings in their lifetime.

With Game of Thrones, as with a great many current television programs and films whose realism is measured by their grittiness, the spotlights are constantly on the shadows. It should come as no surprise that cockroaches scatter. To claim, however, that their matters of murder, deceit, rape, and worse somehow impart greater credibility to a fantasy world than do their existing moral counterparts—this makes Game of Thrones not just theater, but a thermometer.