Earlier today, George R. R. Martin engaged in a talk at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. As well as divulging information about his upbringing and literary influences, he responded to questions regarding A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones. We’ve rounded up some of the highlights.
Warning: Character spoiler for The Winds of Winter/A Dream of Spring after the break.
- George takes a lot of influence from English, French and Scottish history in particular, as they have the benefit of being very well-documented in the English language.
- In writing A Song of Ice and Fire, he sought to break the mold of “Tolkien-imitators”, i.e. writing a fantasy epic that was told and made sense within its own context.
- Responding to a question about Renly and Loras‘s love scenes, Martin pointed out that the show has been more explicit about gay relationships as a result of the camera being an objective observer. The Guardian quotes Martin as saying there could be gay sex scenes in the future, if the story dictates it. “I’ve had letters from fans who want me to present particularly an explicit male sex scene – most of the letters come from women.” He explains, “I’m not going to do it just for the sake of doing it. If the plot lends itself to that, if one of my viewpoint characters is in a situation, then I’m not going to shy away from it, but you can’t just insert things because everyone wants to see them.”
- He wouldn’t consider any of his characters to be of either moral extreme; even Ned Stark renounced his honor in falsely confessing to crimes, as his final act.
- He doesn’t necessarily have any notable difficulty in writing women/dwarves/marginalized characters. Everyone is a human being and thus subject to human experience and emotion.
- He has not and will not let fans’ (correct) theorizing of plot points affect the eventual outcome of the story. If the clues are already in place, he owes it to the reader to deliver upon them as originally intended.
- He confirms that Willas Tyrell, while not a viewpoint character, will enter the fold in the upcoming books, and play an important part going forward.