Through a bizarre instance of happenstance, renowned fantasy author George R.R. Martin (of “Game of Thrones” fame) agreed to sit down with us at Tirades to Persuade for an EXCLUSIVE interview. Martin discussed his most famous series, along with his notorious propensity for killing off main characters in his work.
As the interview begins, I sit with Martin at a secluded table in a coffee shop/bookstore hybrid. The 64 year old author wears his patented grey beard, hat, and suspenders while American sitcom ‘The Office’ plays on a nearby TV.
TTP: Thank you so much, Mr. Martin, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with us! How’s the new book coming?
GRRM: Well it’s funny that you mention that. For a slow writer such as myself, I consider anywhere around 1,000 words in a day to be a good writing day. That being said, the sixth book in A Song of Ice and Fire is looking at, conservatively, 1 million words. We’re shooting for a release date somewhere in early 2015.
Wow. That’s certainly an ambitious undertaking. You think the next book is truly three years away?
GRRM: Well, considering I’ve taken time away from writing to handle your questions, four years might be a better estimate.
Point taken. I think one of your traits that definitely sets you apart from your colleagues is your complete lack of hesitation when it comes to killing off characters. And not bit players, but ones that are both fan favorites and central to the plot. Is it difficult for you?
GRRM: Certainly, to an extent. But there’s also an element of It keeps you on your toes. I want people emotionally involved in my story. I want readers to be afraid to turn the page, not knowing who’s going to live and die. That fear only becomes more intense when they realize that literally no one is safe.
Do you fear that readers’ tolerance for seeing beloved characters bite it has a limit?
GRRM: No, not really. If you look at the Harry Potter series, fans were able to deal with the deaths of Sirius Black and Albus Dumbledore. I think that made it easier for people to handle her killing of Harry at the end of the series. Another example–
Sorry, Mr. Martin, just one tiny correction, Harry Potter is alive at the end of the series. There’s even an epilogue showing him married with kids.
GRRM: Was. There was an epilogue. Please, feel free to check with one of the copies the store is selling.
I navigate the bookstore to find their Young Adult section. Flipping to the last page of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I read: “…seeing the life go out of Tom Riddle’s eyes, Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, gave his last breath gladly, knowing that the wizarding world he left behind was safer for it.”
GRRM: Like I said.
No. That’s not how it ends. This can’t…
GRRM: All life ends in death. This is the only fundamental truth, yet we keep ourselves ignorant to it! Like Hindu cattle, humanity marches on in blissful naivety while our biological clocks tick on towards expiration.
You. You did this. How could you!?
GRRM: The problem with my own books is that there are only so many characters to finish off. So I thought, why limit myself? Why not dream a little bigger?
On the nearby television set, Jim Halpert and the rest of the cast from The Office are ambushed by a medieval squad of assassins. Similar scenes play out with Arthur on PBS (poisoned), Don Draper on AMC (consumed by dragon), and Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless on ESPN (mutually defeated in one-on-one duel).
STOP! YOU’RE A MONSTER!
One exception is a televised press conference where Stephanie Meyer and E.L. James announce a seven book Twilight/50 Shades crossover series. M. Night Shyamalan is chosen to direct the film adaptation.
GRRM: I take it we’re done here. I’ll leave these with you. Hope you enjoy The Winds of Winter!
On the table he leaves copies of Goodnight Moon and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. You don’t want to know how they end.
A.N. – This is, obviously, a parody. I did not interview Mr. Martin, and have the upmost respect for his writing. Cheers.