Behind Fire and Ice: George R. R. Martin
Behind Fire and Ice: George R. R. Martin

By Julie Barber

Did you spend your Sunday night on April 15 reuniting with your favorite characters from Winterfell and King’s Landing? I know I did! If you’re a die-hard Game of Thrones fan like myself, this season probably feels a bit bittersweet considering it’s the final one. From the very first episode to now, we’ve seen our favorite and least favorite characters grow—and die—and it’s almost time to say goodbye. As literary people, we get attached to fictional characters, and we regret nothing. You could say that’s one of the many things that makes writers like George R. R. Martin truly great: the ability to create emotionally provocative characters. I recently decided to get to know a little more about the man behind our favorite story of fire and ice, so take a look at what I discovered!

Chess helped George R. R. Martin write Game of Thrones

When Martin was in his twenties, he earned a living working chess tournaments. Chess had become so popular in the 1970s, Martin was able pay the bills just by working on the weekends, allowing him five days out of the week to hone his craft as a writer.

Martin is a die-hard New York Jets fan

His love for sports has often surprised many people, including me! Martin’s favorite football team is the New York Jets, and he enjoys watching the NFL draft.

He loves comic book conventions

Martin considers himself a comic book enthusiast, especially with the sci-fi genre. He’s a member of the Labor Day Group, which is a group of writers who regularly get together and converge at the annual WonderCon event. Martin has also been attending a smaller convention called Bubonicon since 1986.

He owns a theater

Martin owns a little indie theater in Sante Fe called the Jean Cocteau Cinema. After completing some renovations in 2013, Martin reopened it and turned it into a place for independent films and a hangout for independent artists and writers.

He has a library tower

Martin made every bookworm’s dream a reality in 2009 when he bought a home across the street from his own in Santa Fe. He had a two-story library tower built on the site, which also serves as his office space.

Novelist heartbreak almost ended his career

Long before Game of Thrones, Martin had built himself up as an award-winning sci-fi and horror novelist, but his success nosedived after the commercial failure of his book The Armageddon Rag. Martin took the failure pretty hard because it was his favorite work at the time, and he was so discouraged he gave up novel writing for a while.

Thankfully, Martin was able to recover from his heartbreak and weave one of the greatest stories of all time. So whether you’re with the Starks or the Lannisters, we’ll all be in front of our TV screens every Sunday to see how this beautiful and bloody story ends.

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