George R.R. Martin: ‘Game of Thrones’ Was Almost a Short Story

In an enlightening new interview, fantasy superstar George R. R. Martin opened up about his first efforts to write the epic saga—and his current efforts to wrap up his seven-years-in-the-making The Winds of Winter draft. 


George R. R. Martin, soon-to-be author of 'The Winds of Winter'

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The first chapter of A Game of Thrones came to Martin in 1991, meaning that the unfinished saga has already had a total lifespan of nearly three decades. It gets crazier: the total word count of the series clocks in at 1,736,054 words before you count the current manuscript. At nearly 2 million words, it’s substantially longer than the ‘Harry Potter’ series, which seems comparatively to-the-point at a mere 1.08 million. It’s ridiculous to imagine Martin’s epic as a short story—but that’s exactly how it started out. Martin spoke openly:


When I began, I didn’t know what the hell I had. I thought it might be a short story; it was just this chapter, where they find these direwolf pups. Then I started exploring these families and the world started coming alive. It was all there in my head, I couldn’t not write it. So it wasn’t an entirely rational decision, but writers aren’t entirely rational creatures.


George R. R. Martin with GoT cast

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Martin offered more insight into his writing process when he shockingly admitted to his struggles in finishing his latest, long-awaited The Winds of Winter. Somewhat infamously, the novel has been in the works since 2011 with no official release date. Fans want answers, and they’ve gotten some: The Winds of Winter may be over 1,500 pages long, and Martin has been balancing his writing with GoT set visits in beautiful Croatia. There’s also the matter of his writing pace—in his own words, “slow.” Martin gave fans some more answers in his most recent interview, stating that the pressure to write something great is “a considerable weight to bear.” This eagerly-anticipated instalment in the series is one of his greatest challenges so far. Martin confessed:


I’ve been struggling with it for a few years. The Winds of Winter is not so much a novel as a dozen novels, each with a different protagonist, each having a different cast of supporting players and antagonists and allies and lovers around them, and all of these weaving together in an extremely complex fashion. So it’s very, very challenging.


While 1,500 pages of new content might be a challenge for Martin, it’ll be a delight for all of us! 



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