Thanks to Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin has become a household name. He’s been parodied on other TV shows and, during a recent podcast appearance, he even explained he often gets notes revealing people’s pets and even children have been named after his Westeros characters. However, fandom culture doesn’t bring all good things.
In fact, during the long journey from George R.R. Martin beginning to imagine the series in 1991 to the ending of the TV show and his continued work on the books, he says that the fandom has gotten more intense, and honestly "toxic." He told Maltin on Movies,
Of course, the Internet has taken that up several orders of magnitude. Now, you can tweet and Facebook, but I don’t know that’s an improvement. The Internet is toxic in a way that the old fanzine culture and fandoms, comics fans, science fiction fans in those days, was not. I mean, yeah, there were disagreements. There were feuds, but nothing like the sort of madness you see on the internet.
George R.R. Martin also talked about trays of gelatin and the lengthy process of creating fanzines, which was not nearly as instantaneous as the Internet can be. He also noted in fanzine culture, even if you wrote an angry letter, you’d have to attach your name to that letter. It was a process in the way social media is not.
Also, in the podcast, George R.R. Martin talked about how it’s a little bit crazy that he will be known for Game of Thrones, as in the nineties he wrote a bunch of projects that were actually intended for the screen whereas Game of Thrones was not conceived with a dramatic TV show in mind.
The whole thing has been “surreal,” both in seemingly good and bad ways. The author said he never anticipated Game of Thrones would be outside of the book realm and onto the big or the small screen in the way HBO was finally able to do.
George R.R. Martin called it a challenge he didn’t originally think could be done, given his experience in 1985 and the years following in Hollywood. He said that often the budgets for television meant that he had to cut down his ideas, making battle ideas singular fights between the hero and the villain and so on and so forth. At the point where he started writing Game of Thrones, he intentionally tried to make it as expansive and imaginative as possible, given he finally did not have on-screen budgets to worry about.
Little did he know.
Whatever his issues with the fandom, Game of Thrones will be Martin's legacy and the author also said here that he recognizes that. In the scheme of things, an epic fantasy series is not a bad thing to leave behind. Let's just hope he finishes those books already.