George R.R. Martin, author of the phenomenal A Song of Ice and Fire series upon which HBO mega series Game of Thrones is based, recently interviewed with Observer about his career as a writer for print and television.
Martin talks about remembering days when you could count the number of television stations on 1 hand and when the medium wasn’t really a platform for grand scale nerdable consumption.
His status as a celebrity writer is still surreal to him at times. Watching his head getting bitten off in Sharknado 3 was “pretty weird! But fun,” He says.
He also has grievances with the media in general coopting the gist of some of his interviews into clickbait headlines; “Well, I always go to Comic-Con and I’m not there!” I was missing it. Then I read a headline: “George R.R. Martin Doesn’t Miss Comic-Con.” What? How did they get that out of that? They’re parsing the words, some of these sites, I guess for clicks. It’s clickbait journalism, and it irritates me.”
Finally interviewer Sean T Collins asks;
The number one question people ask me about the series is whether I think everyone will lose—whether it will end in some horrible apocalypse. I know you can’t speak to that specifically, but as a revisionist of epic fantasy—
I haven’t written the ending yet, so I don’t know, but no. That’s certainly not my intent. I’ve said before that the tone of the ending that I’m going for is bittersweet. I mean, it’s no secret that Tolkien has been a huge influence on me, and I love the way he ended Lord of the Rings. It ends with victory, but it’s a bittersweet victory. Frodo is never whole again, and he goes away to the Undying Lands, and the other people live their lives. And the scouring of the Shire—brilliant piece of work, which I didn’t understand when I was 13 years old: “Why is this here? The story’s over?” But every time I read it I understand the brilliance of that segment more and more. All I can say is that’s the kind of tone I will be aiming for. Whether I achieve it or not, that will be up to people like you and my readers to judge.
We’ll have to see what qualifies as “bittersweet” for George R. R. Martin. Even in the example he gives, Most of the main characters introduced in the beginning of the series made it to the end after the Hobbits liberated the Shire. It’s a pretty safe bet that Martin won’t end the series without several more tragic demises. Can’t wait to read it all the same!