Who Is George R. R. Martin
George RR Martin is an American writer who specializes in science fiction, fantasy and horror. He is now best known for the Game of Thrones books which have been translated into 20 languages, and produced into a stunningly successful TV series.
Martin was born in 1948 in New Jersey. As a child and young teenager he was voracious as a reader and wrote short monster stories that he sold to other children, often reading the stories to them himself. He was a great fan of the superheroes that featured in the Marvel comics produced by Stan Lee. He later said that his greatest influence as a writer was Stan Lee and that reading his comics as a kid inspired him in some of his earlier works. At that time he wrote for fanzines, and he has the distinction of having bought the first ticket for the first ever Comic-Con in 1964 in New York.
Martin studied for a degree, and a higher degree in journalism. Martin then spent time teaching at Clarke University concentrating on English and journalism. He subsequently spent a year as Writer in Residence at the University. However after the death of a close friend in 1977 Martin began to think deeply about the course his life, later becoming determined to be a full-time writer.
Why is George now so famous?
George RR Martin had been writing short stories, mostly in the science fiction genre, from his early 20s, selling enough to earn some money, which he augmented by being the Continental Chess Association’s tournament director. Chess was immensely popular in the US at this time as a result of the victory by Bobby Fischer at the World Chess Championships in 1972. By the time chess began to decline in popularity, Martin had established himself as a full-time writer, and did not need the additional income.
Martin has a vivid and unorthodox imagination, and in 1982 published a vampire novel Fevre Dream. His vampires were not supernatural but represented a branch of humanity that had evolved with unnatural powers. He followed this with another horror story The Armageddon Rag. This was not a success at the time, and Martin switched to fantasy and the Haviland Tuf adventure stories. Martin was soon approached with the offer of a job as a writer for The Twilight Zone TV series. He accepted and moved to Hollywood. Later he wrote for the satirical sci-fi series Max Headroom. This was followed by a period of writing and producing the fantasy Beauty and the Beast series.
Through the 1980s Martin continued to write for TV, edit books, write short stories and later turned his hand to TV production. His great ambition was to write an epic fantasy novel. He admired JRR Tolkien’s work, and wanted to emulate him. Martin’s epic The Song of Ice and Fire was intended to be a three volume series. The first book was A Game of Thrones and was published in 1996. This was followed by A Clash of Kings in 1998 and A Storm of Swords in 2000. Martin did not, however, stop at three books. He wrote the fourth A Feast for Crows in 2005 and a fifth A Dance with Dragons in 2011. At the time of writing two more books are eagerly awaited by fans, The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring. The fifth volume coincided with the launch of the television series based on the books titled Game of Thrones. Although known to fans of fantasy literature and respected for his considerable output over the years, Martin was not yet known by the wider public.
This changed with the advent of the TV series. HBO having purchased the rights to the series in 2007 were ready in 2011 to air the first season of ten episodes. Martin was closely involved with the TV series, using his experience of working on earlier programs as a writer and producer. The series was renewed and became a worldwide success. The first season garnered Emmy awards, Hugo Awards and considerable popular acclamation. The second series closely followed the second book and again won Emmy Awards and Hugo Awards. Fans were now eagerly awaiting the third series, and they were certainly not disappointed.
Seasons 4 and 5 continued to follow the epic tale as written by Martin in the published fourth and fifth books. The sixth book had not yet been written, so season 6 consisted of material that was original content. Martin was heavily involved in its writing, so it still followed his vision for the unfolding of the tale. Season 7, which was shorter than the others and had involved filming in Europe in winter similarly comprised largely original content, although there was some adaptation of material from the sixth and seventh novels.
George RR Martin is now a very well-known author, and is seen as a worthy successor to JRR Tolkien. Martin, however, prefers a grittier and more realistic approach to his stories. He feels that Tolkien rather romanticized both his characters and the period he set The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings in. Martin’s darker moods and themes have led some to call his work ‘fantasy for adults.’ He certainly does not want his readers to become complacent about any of his characters, and will quite happily kill off a major character in the interests of realism and plot.
How did George R. R. Martin make it?
It is currently thought that George RR Martin’s fortune stands at $120 million. He has an annual salary of $25 million part of which comes from the Game of Thrones TV show. The rest is made up from book sales, royalties, and the income from sales of merchandise related to his books. He lives a relatively modest lifestyle so probably has quite low outgoings.
He also bought the Jean Cocteau Cinema and Coffee House in Santa Fe in 2013, and completely renovated the building and re-established it as a cinema. In 2019 he opened a bookstore called Beastly Books next door.
What made him so successful with his books?
George RR Martin is a success because he was able to follow his dream to become a writer and hone his craft and imagination, outputting many bestselling books. Despite a few early setbacks, he was single-minded in his approach to his work, and never let opportunities go to waste. He has never stopped working, and believes that work is what makes you great.
Of course, George has a brilliant fertile imagination and is able to create characters his fans want to meet and stories they want to read. Writers can only be successful if they produce work that others want to read. Martin has created entire worlds and characters that fans follow through series of books, and now on TV.
George RR Martin is an inspiring writer. He has created characters whose names are now on millions of lips all over the world. Who, for example, has not heard of Jon Snow? George is a wonderful example to us all of a writer that is loved and respected by fans everywhere, yet still maintains a modest profile.