George R.R. Martin: 9 Facts About the Game of Thrones Author

In print since the 1970s, George R.R. Martin is one of the most successful fantasy authors of all time, with his books being adapted into mega hit TV series like Game of Thrones. We’ve pulled together 9 facts about George R.R. Martin…

1) Martin learned to read using comic books 

Martin hated traditional children’s books – particularly the ones they used in schools to help kids learn to read. Instead, he spent most of his time reading superhero comic books – particularly Marvel comics like Fantastic Four. He’s credited Stan Lee as being one of his major literary influences. 

2) George R. R. Martin sold monster stories as a kid

When talking about his childhood, Martin explained that his family was very poor and never travelled outside their town of Bayonne. To make a little bit of pocket money, he would put his love of writing to good use, and churn out short stories about monsters to sell to kids around the town for a penny a pop. 

3) Game of turtles 

Martin has said that the only pets he was allowed as a kid were turtles. He kept them in a toy castle, and would write stories about them. The turtles would become knights and kings and princes, and the young writer would come up with plots where they betray and kill each other. A very early version of Game of Thrones! 

4) Martin started selling stories to magazines at 21

When Martin turned 21, way back in 1970, he got his first story sale to a magazine. The story was called ‘The Hero’. It was picked up by Galaxy magazine, and Martin got his first cheque. He want on to sell several more stories to science fiction magazines. 

5) Chess tournament director

In the early 70s, Martin wasn’t earning much from his writing, so he needed a side job to supplement his income. Due to his fair knowledge and skill in the game of chess, he gpot himself a role as director of a local chess tournament. 

6) Martin wrote for The Twilight Zone reboot

TV producer Phil DeGuere saw potential in one of George R.R. Martin’s early novels, The Armageddon Rag, which hit bookstores way back in 1983. DeGuere asked Martin to help him adapt the book into a screenplay for a TV series. Although the series never got picked up, the friendship paid off when DeGuere was hired to work on The Twilight Zone’s mid-80s reboot, and he brought Martin on as a writer. He wrote several episodes of the show. 

7) George R.R. Martin rejected several film offers 

The first novel in George R.R. Martin’s epic A Song of Ice and Fire series, A Game of Thrones, hit bookshelves in 1996. Throughout the years, several studios approached the author about adapting the series into a film. However, the author felt that his novels were too lengthy to be made into movies, and much of his plots would be cut out. 

8) Martin tested David Benioff and D. B. Weiss 

With movie adaptations off the cards, George R.R. Martin’s interest peaked when he was approached by two TV producers about adapting A Song of Ice and Fire into a series. But he didn’t make it easy for David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. Before granting them permission to adapt his novels, he asked them a single question: ‘Who is Jon Snow’s mother?’ They clearly gave an acceptable answer, because Martin signed over the rights. 

9) Martin owns an independent cinema

In 2013, Martin decided to buy an independent cinema in the town of Santa Fe where he lives. Although the cinema had been popular with locals, it closed down in 2006. A big lover of movies, the author bought the place, and reopened it. Game of Thrones episodes were shown at the theatre, and there’s even a bar inside with GOT themed drinks. 

There you have it – 9 facts about George R.R, Martin.