George Raymond Richard Martin is an American novelist and scriptwriter working in the science fiction, fantasy and horror genres. He is popularly known as "GRRM" to his fans. He resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with his wife Parris and several cats. He wrote the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, of which Game of Thrones is a direct adaptation.
Martin is credited on the Game of Thrones TV series as a producer and consultant. He has written the scripts for the eighth episode of the first season, the ninth episode of the second season, seventh episode of the third season and the second episode of the fourth season. It was originally planned that he would write one episode per season of the show. However, he stated in an interview that he won't write an episode for Season 5 in order to finish the next installment of A Song of Ice and Fire.
George Raymond Martin was born on 20 September 1948, in Bayonne, New Jersey. His parents were Raymond Collins Martin and Margaret Brady Martin, who also had two daughters, George's sisters Darleen and Janet. The family was of mixed Irish and Italian heritage. Raymond worked as a longshoreman, and the family lived in a federal housing project near the Bayonne docks. The family followed Roman Catholicism, and at the age of 13 George received the confirmation name "Richard", hence "George Raymond Richard Martin" (in later years, when working on the Game of Thrones TV series, George has described himself as a "lapsed Catholic").
He became an avid fan of comic books while in high school: Fantastic Four #20 (November 1963) contains a letter he wrote to the editor. He subsequently became involved in the comic book fanzine scene, and attended the very first Comi-Con convention in New York City. In his youth he also became a fan of science fiction and fantasy literature, such as the works of Robert Heinlein, Robert E. Howard, Jack Vance and J.R.R. Tolkien. After college he held jobs as a journalist, chess tournament organizer and English teacher at a Christian women's college. He was married briefly in the mid-1970s, and has lived with his partner Parris in Santa Fe since 1981. They married in January 2011.
Martin has chosen a turtle as his personal sigil, and he is often seen wearing a hat with a turtle pin on it. As Martin himself explained at the Game of Thrones panel for San Diego Comic Con 2012:
- "Turtles have always been my sigil, I suppose. When I was a kid, growing up in Bayonne, NJ, I lived in a federal housing project, and we were not allowed to have a dog or cats. The only pets I could have were turtles. So, I had an entire toy castle filled with dime-store turtles. I gave them all names, and since they were living in a toy castle, I decided they were all knights and kings...and I made up stories about how they killed each other and betrayed each other and fought for the kingdom. So, Game of Thrones, actually began with turtles. I decided later to recast it with actual human beings."
As he also explained in an interview with Financial Times:
- "In America at the time, in places like Woolworths, you could buy 'dime store turtles' – they came in a little plastic bowl, it had water down one side and a divider down the middle, gravel on the other side and a little fake palm tree...Those were the only pets we could have. I had a toy castle set up near my bed, made of tin, and the courtyard was just big enough for two turtle tanks, and I had five or six turtles who lived in the castle. I decided they were knights, lords and kings, so I started writing this whole fantasy series about the turtle kingdom and the king of the turtles. And these particular turtles seemed to die very easily. I don't think it was really a very good environment for them. Sometimes they would escape and you would find them under the refrigerator a month later, all dead. So my turtles kept dying, which was very distressing but it also made me think, 'Why are they dying? Well, they are killing each other in sinister plots.' I started writing this fantasy about who was killing who, and the wars for succession. So Game of Thrones originally began with turtles, I think."
Martin began writing his first short fiction in the late 1960s, but wasn't published professionally until 1971. A lot of Martin's early work was set in the 'Thousand Worlds', an SF backdrop set millennia into the future where humanity has slowly spread into space and encountered other races. His 1973 story from this setting, A Song for Lya, won Martin his first Hugo Award. In 1980 he achieved significant acclaim when Sandkings won both the Hugo and the Nebula for Best Novelette and The Way of Cross and Dragon won the Hugo for Best Short Story. Sandkings was for many years his best-known story and was adapted for television as the pilot episode of the new Outer Limits in 1996.
Martin moved into novel-length fiction with Dying of the Light, a sci-fi novel set in the Thousand Worlds milieu. It was published in 1977 and was nominated for a Hugo the following year. He followed up on this book with Windhaven in 1981, co-written with Lisa Tuttle. In 1982 he achieved significant critical and commercial success with Fevre Dream, a vampire novel set on the Mississippi around the time of the American Civil War which was nominated for the World Fantasy Award. His publishers eagerly signed up his follow-up, The Armageddon Rag, about a rock band whose comeback tour has supernatural overtones, but the book was a commercial failure, despite critical acclaim and a second World Fantasy Award nomination. Although Martin successfully sold a collection of his Thousand World stories featuring the character of Haviland Tuf as Tuf Voyaging, his novel career seemed to have stalled at that point.
The failure of The Armageddon Rag had a significant impact on Martin's fortunes, and there was little excitement over his next novel-in-progress, Black and White and Red All Over. However, television producer Phil DeGuere was impressed enough by The Armageddon Rag to option it as a movie script, and in 1985 asked Martin to contribute to a new project he was developing for CBS, The New Twilight Zone. Martin, although a huge fan of the original Rod Serling series, was hesitant to enter the competitive field of scriptwriting, but was convinced by the involvement of another writer he respected enormously, Harlan Ellison, as well as DeGuere's promise of backstage passes to Grateful Dead concerts. When Ellison abruptly left the series due to creative clashes, Martin was brought in as a staff writer. When the show unexpectedly returned for a second season, Martin was bumped up to story editor, but the series was then taken off the air for "retooling" for its third season.
George R.R. Martin was not involved in the third season as Ron Koslow, a fan of his Twilight Zone work, had recruited him to be involved in his new urban fantasy series, Beauty and the Beast, starring Linda Hamilton, Ron Perlman and Roy Dotrice. Martin started as Executive Story Consultant and ended up as Supervising Producer on the third and final season. During his time on the show, he gained a reputation for being unafraid to kill off major characters (to fan's ire) and for showing the darker side of humanity. After the show ended, Martin had gained enough Hollywood credentials to attempt to launch his own show, Doorways, which eventually had a pilot produced by ABC in 1992. The pilot was never screened and the show never made, although a later series, Sliders, explored similar ideas.
Roleplaying and Wild Cards
Martin's first involvement with roleplaying games came when Scottish science fiction and fantasy writer Charles Stross 'borrowed' the githzerai and githyanki from his Thousand Worlds setting to use as Dungeons and Dragons monsters in an article for Dragon Magazine. They proved popular and have remained a D&D mainstay ever since, although Martin was unaware of the homage until many years later.
Martin himself was introduced to roleplaying games in the late 1970s by Parris. His first game was Call of Cthulu by Chaosium, and he was soon running his own game. However, he put this to one side when he was introduced to SuperWorlds by Victor Milán. His gaming group became enamored of the game and setting, and Martin eventually hit on the idea of developing their campaign into a shared-world anthology series. This idea proved successful, since such anthology series were all the rage in the mid-1980s thanks to the success of Lynn Abbey and Robert Asprin's Thieves World series, and Martin further enhanced the book by calling in experienced writers such as Roger Zelazny and Howard Waldrop to help expand it. Wild Cards was released in 1986 and was an immediate hit, and was succeeded by fourteen further books in the series, released over the next nine years. Despite very strong sales to start with, by the mid-1990s interest was on the wane and after a relaunch with a new publisher proved unsuccessful, the series was 'rested', although occasional new books slipped out in 2002 and 2006.
The series was relaunched by Tor Books in 2008 with a new trilogy taking a 'next generation' approach with no prior knowledge of the series required. This relaunch was successful and extended to four new books, with the earlier volumes to be reprinted. Melinda Snodgrass wrote a spec film script which attracted interest in the wake of the success of the television series Heroes, and Daniel Abraham has written a successful six-issue comic book limited series based on the setting.
A Song of Ice and Fire
Despite the earlier failure of The Armageddon Rag, by the time Martin left Hollywood in 1990 his writing fortunes had risen again. The Wild Cards series had kept his name on bookshelves with a steady stream of new releases, and his TV work had been well received. He started work on a new Thousand Worlds novel called Avalon, but in 1991 put it to one side after being gripped by the vivid image of a young child having to watch a beheading and then finding a wolf dead in the snow. With no idea of what this story was or whether it was a short story or novella or novel, he was inspired by it and began devoting more time to it. This promising work was put on hold by the development of Doorways but when he came back to it afterwards, it remained compelling.
In the early 1990s epic fantasy had become a major commercial concern, following the enormous success of works such as Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy and the opening volumes of Robert Jordan's lengthy Wheel of Time sequence. The news that Martin, a respected and multi-award-winning author, was working on a similar work provoked a major bidding war between several publishers for the rights. Martin sold the series, which he was now calling A Song of Ice and Fire, to Bantam as a trilogy consisting of the novels A Game of Thrones, A Dance with Dragons and The Winds of Winter.
The first book ballooned out of control, with the first book eventually being split into three, individually large, novels. A Game of Thrones was published in 1996, but Martin had already removed a large amount of material from the book to form the beginning of a new second volume, eventually published in late 1998 under the title A Clash of Kings. With events left on a major cliffhanger and the first two volumes attracting considerable critical and commercial success, he was able to produce the third volume A Storm of Swords, for publication in late 2000.
Martin's original plan had been for there to be a narrative pause of five years between A Storm of Swords and the next book in the series, A Dance with Dragons, and he began tackling the fourth book with this plan in mind. Unfortunately, he found this had led to a narrative dependence on lengthy flashbacks, which was severely slowing the pace of the novel. After eighteen months spent trying to get this to work, in September 2001 he chose to junk the completed material and start again from scratch on a new fourth novel, A Feast for Crows, which would instead immediately pick up events after the third novel. This proved to be slow going, and when A Feast for Crows did eventually approach completion, it was decided that it was too large to publish in one volume. After consulting with his friend and Wild Cards collaborator Daniel Abraham, Martin decided to split the book by character, with approximately half appearing in A Feast for Crows and half in the follow-up. Roughly 500 manuscript pages were removed from the novel to achieve this, and A Feast for Crows was published in late 2005 with a hopeful indication that the next book, still called A Dance with Dragons, would follow a year later.
In the event, A Dance with Dragons was repeatedly delayed as Martin made significant structural and textual changes to the material he had already written as well as the requirement for 1,000 or more new manuscript pages to bring the book up to a similar length of the others in the series. These issues resulted in the book expanding in size and scope. He completed the novel in April 2011 and it was released on 12 July 2011.
In 2007, HBO purchased the television rights to A Song of Ice and Fire and began developing an adaptation under the title Game of Thrones. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss produced a pilot episode, filmed in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Morocco in October–November 2009, and HBO officially commissioned a full series in March 2010. The first season was produced between July and December 2010 and began airing on 17 April 2011. The series was renewed for a second season on 19 April.
Martin currently has two more novels forthcoming in the book series, entitled The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring. While he is writing the sixth novel of the series, the show has been rapidly catching up. At the current rate that the books and the seasons of the show are coming out, the show will catch up with the books, leaving limited options. Either Martin will have to rush the last two books of the series in order to stay ahead of the show, the show will have to take a break to allow Martin to complete the final two books, or the show will overtake the books and the story will be finished on screen with books six and seven coming out later.
Martin's work as editor of the Wild Cards series has continued and he also joined forces with long-term friend Gardner Dozois to develop anthology projects. The first, Warriors, released in early 2010, focuses on soldiers and warriors working in different genres. The second, Star-Crossed Lovers, focuses on love stories told against similarly different backdrops. Martin and Dozois also edited Songs of the Dying Earth, featuring different short stories and novellas set in Jack Vance's signature fantasy setting. This was followed by an anthology called Down These Strange Streets, which explores the urban fantasy subgenre. They are currently working on Dangerous Women, which explores female protagonists in SFF stories, and Rogues, a follow-up to Warriors exploring more disreputable characters.
In 1998 Martin was asked to submit a short story for Roger Silverberg's Legends anthology project. His entry, The Hedge Knight, a prequel to A Song of Ice and Fire set 90 years before the first book, was very popular and spawned a sub-series of short stories chronicling the characters of 'Dunk 'n' Egg'. The second, The Sworn Sword, appeared in Legends II in 2002. A third, The Mystery Knight, appeared in Warriors. The first two stories were adapted as successful graphic novels by Dabel Brothers Productions. A fourth story, The She-Wolves of Winterfell (working title), will be published in Dangerous Women.
The success of A Song of Ice and Fire saw all of Martin's older novels put back in print, and his best short stories and scripts were assembled as a huge collection called GRRM: A RRetrospective, published in 2003 as a limited edition and then again in 2007 as Dreamsongs. Daniel Abraham also completed a novel Martin and Dozois had been collaborating on in the 1980s called Shadow Twin, which Abraham then re-wrote as a novel called Hunter's Run, published in 2007.
Martin has won multiple awards for his work, including the Bram Stoker Award, multiple Locus Awards and Premio Ignotus Awards, as well as the prestigious World Fantasy Award. He has also won five Hugo Awards, one for A Song of Ice and Fire and one for Game of Thrones (shared with the rest of the production team), and been nominated for many more.
Co-executive producer/creative consultant
- All episodes to date.
Martin receives the "Based on A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin" credit on every episode of the series.
|Season one credits|
|Winter is Coming||The Kingsroad||Lord Snow||Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things||The Wolf and the Lion|
|A Golden Crown||You Win or You Die||The Pointy End||Baelor||Fire and Blood|
|Season two credits|
|The North Remembers||The Night Lands||What is Dead May Never Die||Garden of Bones||The Ghost of Harrenhal|
|The Old Gods and the New||A Man Without Honor||The Prince of Winterfell||Blackwater||Valar Morghulis|
|Season three credits|
|Valar Dohaeris||Dark Wings, Dark Words||Walk of Punishment||And Now His Watch is Ended||Kissed by Fire|
|The Climb||The Bear and the Maiden Fair||Second Sons||The Rains of Castamere||Mhysa|
|Season four credits|
|Two Swords||The Lion and the Rose||Breaker of Chains||Oathkeeper||First of His Name|
|The Laws of Gods and Men||Mockingbird||The Mountain and the Viper||The Watchers on the Wall||The Children|
Martin announced that he would not write a script for Season 5, to focus on writing the next novel. In March 2015, he also announced that he will voluntarily not be writing an episode for Season 6 either, as it would take about a month's worth of writing time away from his continuing work on the novel series.
- Dying of the Light (1977)
- Windhaven (1981, with Lisa Tuttle)
- Fevre Dream (1982)
- The Armageddon Rag (1983)
- Hunter's Run (2007, expanded version of the novella Shadow Twin, with Gardner Dozois and Daniel Abraham)
- A Song of Ice and Fire series:
- A Game of Thrones (1996)
- A Clash of Kings (1998)
- A Storm of Swords (2000)
- A Feast for Crows (2005)
- A Dance with Dragons (2011)
- The Winds of Winter (forthcoming)
- A Dream of Spring (forthcoming)
- A Song for Lya (1973)
- Night of the Vampyres (1975)
- The Skin Trade (1989)
- Shadow Twin (2004, with Gardner Dozois and Daniel Abraham)
- The Tales of Dunk and Egg series - set in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire, some 90 years before the events of the main series.
- The Hedge Knight (1998)
- The Sworn Sword (2003)
- The Mystery Knight (2010)
- The She-Wolves of Winterfell (forthcoming)
- Other novellas based on material from The World of Ice and Fire:
- The Princess and the Queen (2013) - in the anthology "Dangerous Women". Chronicling the great civil war of House Targaryen fought 170 years before the main series, during which most of the dragons were killed.
- The Rogue Prince (forthcoming) - a prequel to The Princess and the Queen, chronicling the life of Daemon Targaryen, younger brother of King Viserys I, a daring adventurer who used his dragon Caraxes to seek glory in the numerous wars between the Free Cities.
- Sandkings (1979)
- Meathouse Man (1976)
- The Ice Dragon (1980 short story, 2006 children's book)
- A Song for Lya (1976)
- Songs of Stars and Shadows (1977)
- Sandkings (1981)
- Songs the Dead Men Sing (1983)
- Nightflyers (1985)
- Tuf Voyaging (1987, collection of linked stories)
- Portraits of His Children (1987)
- Quartet (2001)
- GRRM: A RRetrospective (2003; reissued 2006 and 2007 as Dreamsongs)
- The New Twilight Zone
- The Last Defender of Camelot (1986) - writer (teleplay)
- The Once and Future King (1986) - writer (teleplay), story editor
- A Saucer of Loneliness (1986) - story editor
- Lost and Found (1986) - writer (teleplay)
- The World Next Door (1986) - story editor
- The Toys of Caliban (1986) - writer (teleplay)
- The Road Less Traveled (1986) - writer (story and teleplay), story editor
- Beauty and the Beast
- Terrible Savior (1987) - writer
- Masques (1987) - writer
- Shades of Grey (1988) - writer
- Promises of Someday (1988) - writer
- Fever (1988) - writer
- Ozymandias (1988) - writer
- Dead of Winter (1988) - writer
- Brothers (1989) - writer
- When the Blue Bird Sings (1989) - writer (teleplay)
- A Kingdom by the Sea (1989) - writer
- What Rough Beast (1989) - writer (story)
- Ceremony of Innocence (1989) - writer
- Snow (1989) - writer
- Beggar's Comet (1990) - writer
- Invictus (1990) - writer
- Doorways (1993) - writer (story and teleplay), creator
- A Game of Thrones
- Pilot (in pre-production) - writer (story), co-executive producer
- Season 1, Episode 8: "The Pointy End" - writer (story and teleplay), co-executive producer
- Season 2, Episode 9: "Blackwater" - writer (story and teleplay), co-executive producer
- Season 3, Episode 7: "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" - writer (story and teleplay), co-executive producer.
- Season 4, Episode 2: "The Lion and the Rose" - writer (story and teleplay), co-executive producer.
- Wild Cards (1987)
- Aces High (1987)
- Jokers Wild (1987)
- Aces Abroad (1988)
- Down and Dirty (1988)
- Ace in the Hole (1990)
- Dead Man's Hand (1990)
- One-Eyed Jacks (1991)
- Jokertown Shuffle (1991)
- Double Solitaire (1992)
- Dealer's Choice (1992)
- Turn of the Cards (1993)
- Card Sharks (1993) (Book I of a New Cycle trilogy)
- Marked Cards (1994) (Book II of a New Cycle trilogy)
- Black Trump (1995) (Book III of a New Cycle trilogy)
- Deuces Down (2002)
- Death Draws Five (2006)
- Inside Straight (2008) (Book I of the Committee triad)
- Busted Flush (2008) (Book II of the Committee triad)
- Suicide Kings (2009) (Book III of the Committee triad)
- Fort Freak (2011)
- Lowball (forthcoming in 2014)
- High Stakes (forthcoming)
Others (with Gardner Dozois)
- Songs of the Dying Earth (2009)
- Warriors (2010)
- Star Crossed Lovers (2011)
- Down These Strange Streets (2011)
- Dangerous Women (2013)
- Old Mars (2013)
- Rogues (forthcoming in 2014)
- Old Venus (forthcoming)
- George R.R. Martin on Wikipedia
- George R.R. Martin on IMDb
- George R.R. Martin on Twitter
- George R.R. Martin on A Wiki of Ice and Fire
- George R.R. Martin's website.
- George R.R. Martin's blog.