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I really thought my dad was the last person to use DOS, but apparently not. While most of us transitioned to Windows or other more modern operating systems for our personal computing needs, Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin is just fine using the old school OS to pen his beloved Song of Ice and Fire fantasy novels. Watch him explain his reasoning to Conan O'Brien in the video below:
Martin admits he uses one computer to browse the internet and do his taxes, and then he has a "DOS machine" writing computer that he keeps offline and uses solely to write his Song of Ice and Fire books on. Martin goes on to say that the program he uses to pen his books is WordStar 4.0, a word processing program designed and used back in the 80s. "I actually like it," he explains. "It does everything I want a word processing program to do, and it doesn't do anything else.
Martin goes on to explain those pesky extra features included on modern word programs, like spell-check and automatic grammar correction, which might turn a lowercase letter into an uppercase letter. While some of us rely on those programs to clean up our writing, it's true, they can be annoying when you're trying to keep a lowercase letter from auto-capitalizing. And I can only imagine what spellcheck would do with names like Margaery and Daenerys.
I'm pretty sure you can turn these features off, however. But it seems more like Martin's simply comfortable using the old system, just as some writers might prefer a typewriter. And when it comes to writing, especially a lengthy book like the ones Martin writes, a writer needs to go with whatever makes them comfortable and keeps them productive. I'm sure Game of Thrones fans would agree if it means Martin will keep writing that next book.
George R.R. Martin published the first book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series in 1996. The fifth book in the series came out in 2011 and fans are now eagerly awaiting Book 6, The Winds of Winter, which is apparently in progress somewhere in a DOS word processor. Just thinking about that makes me picture a Zork-like Game of Thrones text adventure computer game... And does this mean he's only writing when he's at home at this computer? Or is he hauling around a bulky laptop and a floppy disk to work on chapters while he travels?
Back to Martin on Conan. He had some other things to say about Game of Thrones, particularly as it relates to the HBO series, including his reaction to the writers killing off characters who are still alive in the books. Watch that here. Read our breakdown of last week's episode here and catch the preview for this Sunday's episode here.