He began the first volume of the series, A Game of Thrones , in , and it was published in Martin, who initially envisioned the series as a trilogy, has published five out of a planned seven volumes. The fifth and most recent volume of the series, A Dance with Dragons , was published in and took Martin six years to write.
Game of Thrones S8 - A Song of Ice and Fire - Ramin Djawadi (Official Video)
He is currently writing the sixth novel, The Winds of Winter. The point of view of each chapter in the story is a limited perspective of a range of characters growing from nine in the first novel, to 31 characters by the fifth novel.
Three main stories interweave: a dynastic war among several families for control of Westeros, the rising threat of the supernatural Others in northernmost Westeros, and the ambition of Daenerys Targaryen , the deposed king's exiled daughter, to assume the Iron Throne. An assortment of disparate and subjective points of view confronts the reader, and the success or survival of point-of-view characters is never assured.
Within the often morally ambiguous world of A Song of Ice and Fire , questions concerning loyalty, pride, human sexuality, piety, and the morality of violence frequently arise. A Song of Ice and Fire takes place in a fictional world in which seasons last for years and end unpredictably. Nearly three centuries before the events of the first novel, the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros were united under the Targaryen dynasty by Aegon I and his sister-wives Visenya and Rhaenys, establishing military supremacy through their control of dragons.
The Targaryen dynasty ruled for three hundred years, although civil war and infighting among the Targaryens was frequent. Due to being held and bred in captivity, their dragons became ever smaller until they finally went extinct. At the beginning of A Game of Thrones , 15 peaceful years have passed since the rebellion led by Lord Robert Baratheon that deposed and killed the last Targaryen king, Aerys II "the Mad King", and proclaimed Robert king of the Seven Kingdoms, with a nine-year-long summer coming to an end.
Robert's heir apparent, the year-old Joffrey , is immediately proclaimed king through the machinations of his mother, Queen Cersei Lannister.
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When Lord Eddard "Ned" Stark , Robert's closest friend and chief advisor, discovers that Joffrey and his siblings are the product of incest between Cersei and her twin brother Ser Jaime "The Kingslayer" Lannister , Eddard attempts to unseat Joffrey, but is betrayed and executed for treason. In response, Robert's brothers Stannis and Renly both lay separate claims to the throne.
During this period of instability, two of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros attempt to become independent from the Iron Throne: Eddard's eldest son Robb is proclaimed King in the North, while Lord Balon Greyjoy desires to recover the sovereignty of his region, the Iron Islands. The second part of the story takes place in the far north of Westeros, where an 8,year-old wall of ice, simply called " the Wall ", defends the Seven Kingdoms from supernatural creatures known as the Others.
The Wall's sentinels, the Sworn Brotherhood of the Night's Watch , also protect the realm from the incursions of the " wildlings " or "Free Folk", who are several human tribes living on the north side of the Wall.
He eventually becomes Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.
Song of Ice and Fire Book 6
On the continent of Essos, east of Westeros across the Narrow Sea , Daenerys is married off by her elder brother Viserys Targaryen to a powerful warlord, but slowly becomes an independent and intelligent ruler in her own right. Her rise to power is aided by the historic birth of three dragons , hatched from eggs given to her as wedding gifts. The three dragons soon become not only a symbol of her bloodline and her claim to the throne, but also devastating weapons of war, which help her in the conquest of Slaver's Bay.
Books in the A Song of Ice and Fire series are first published in hardcover and are later re-released as paperback editions. In the UK, Harper Voyager publishes special slipcased editions. George R. Martin was already a successful fantasy and sci-fi author and TV writer before writing his A Song of Ice and Fire book series.
He grew frustrated that his pilots and screenplays were not getting made  and that TV-related production limitations like budgets and episode lengths were forcing him to cut characters and trim battle scenes. Tolkien in his childhood, he wanted to write an epic fantasy, though he did not have any specific ideas.
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When Martin was between Hollywood projects in the summer of , he started writing a new science fiction novel called Avalon. After three chapters, he had a vivid idea of a boy seeing a man's beheading and finding direwolves in the snow, which would eventually become the first non-prologue chapter of A Game of Thrones.
Martin in . In , Martin gave his agent, Kirby McCauley , the first pages and a two-page story projection as part of a planned trilogy with the novels A Dance with Dragons and The Winds of Winter intended to follow.
When Martin had still not reached the novel's end at manuscript pages, he felt that the series needed to be four and eventually six books long,   which he imagined as two linked trilogies of one long story.
What has Martin said about the book’s contents?
The revised finished manuscript for A Game of Thrones was pages long without the appendices ,  with the publication following in August The pages removed from the A Game of Thrones manuscript served as the opening of the second book, entitled A Clash of Kings.
Martin was several months late turning in the third book, A Storm of Swords. Bantam Books published A Storm of Swords in a single volume in the United States in November ,  whereas some other-language editions were divided into two, three, or even four volumes.
Since the events on the Iron Islands were to have an impact in the book and could not be told with existing POV characters, Martin eventually introduced three new viewpoints.
In , Martin was still optimistic that the fourth installment might be released in the last quarter of On one hand, Martin was unsatisfied with covering the events during the gap solely through flashbacks and internal retrospection. On the other hand, it was implausible to have nothing happen for five years.
Printing the book in "microtype on onion skin paper and giving each reader a magnifying glass" was also not an option for him. With the characters spread out across the world,  a friend suggested that Martin divide the story geographically into two volumes, of which A Feast for Crows would be the first. With around pages in manuscript length,  A Dance with Dragons was eventually published in July after six years of writing,  longer in page count and writing time than any of the preceding four novels.
Martin believes the last two volumes of the series will be big books of manuscript pages each. The Winds of Winter will resolve the cliffhangers from A Dance with Dragons early on and "will open with the two big battles that [the fifth book] was building up to, the battle in the ice and the battle [ And then take it from there.
The Winds of Winter
I've been telling you for 20 years that winter was coming. Winter is the time when things die, and cold and ice and darkness fill the world, so this is not going to be the happy feel-good that people may be hoping for. Some of the characters [are] in very dark places. In , Martin gave three years as a realistic estimate for finishing the sixth book at a good pace,  but said ultimately the book "will be done when it's done",  acknowledging that his publication estimates had been too optimistic in the past.
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He also revealed there had been a previous deadline of October that he had considered achievable in May , and that in September he had still considered the end-of-year deadline achievable.
He further confirmed that some of the plot of the book might be revealed in the upcoming season of Game of Thrones. Martin is only firm about ending the series with the seventh novel "until I decide not to be firm".
On the other hand, Martin noted the challenge to avoid a situation like the finale of the TV series Lost , which left some fans disappointed by deviating too far from their own theories and desires. This included the end stories for all the core characters. Deviations from the books' storylines were considered, but a two-year hiatus to wait for new books was not an option for them as the child actors continue to grow and the show's popularity would wane.
Regarding A Song of Ice and Fire as his masterpiece, Martin is certain never to write anything on this scale again and would only return to this fictional universe in the context of stand-alone novels.
Martin believes the most profound influences to be the ones experienced in childhood. Lovecraft , Robert E. Howard , Robert A. Heinlein , Eric Frank Russell , Andre Norton ,  Isaac Asimov ,  Fritz Leiber , and Mervyn Peake  in his youth, Martin never categorized these authors' literature into science fiction, fantasy, or horror and will write from any genre as a result. Martin experienced some harsh winters when living in Dubuque a few years in the s, and suspects these winters had an influence on his writing; "I think a lot of the stuff in A Game of Thrones , the snow and ice and freezing, comes from my memories of Dubuque".
The medieval setting has been the traditional background for epic fantasy. However, where historical fiction leaves versed readers knowing the historical outcome,  original characters may increase suspense and empathy for the readers. Martin is widely credited with broadening the fantasy fiction genre for adult content, including incest, paedophilia, and adultery.
Setting out to write something on an epic scale,  Martin projected to write three books of manuscript pages in the very early stages of the series. Martin said he needed to be in his own office in Santa Fe, New Mexico to immerse himself in the fictional world and write.
Martin drew much inspiration from actual history for the series,  having several bookcases filled with medieval history for research  and visiting historic European landmarks.
The story is written to follow principal landmarks with an ultimate destination, but leaves Martin room for improvisation. On occasion, improvised details significantly affected the planned story. For instance, Martin has inconsistently referred to certain characters' eye colors, and has described a horse as being of one sex and then another.
The books are divided into chapters, each one narrated in the third person limited through the eyes of a point of view character,  an approach Martin learned himself as a young journalism student. The short-lived one-time POV characters are mostly restricted to the prologues and epilogues. Modeled on The Lord of the Rings , the story of A Song of Ice and Fire begins with a tight focus on a small group with everyone in Winterfell , except Daenerys and then splits into separate stories.
The storylines are to converge again, but finding the turning point in this complex series has been difficult for Martin and has slowed down his writing. Depending on the interview, Martin is said to have reached the turning point in A Dance with Dragons ,  or to not quite have reached it yet in the books.
The chapters are later rearranged to optimize character intercutting, chronology, and suspense. Influenced by his television and film scripting background, Martin tries to keep readers engrossed by ending each A Song of Ice and Fire chapter with a tense or revelational moment, a twist or a cliffhanger , similar to a TV act break.
Each book shall represent a phase of the journey that ends in closure for most characters. A smaller portion of characters is left with clear-cut cliffhangers to make sure readers come back for the next installment, although A Dance with Dragons had more cliffhangers than Martin originally intended. The unresolved larger narrative arc encourages speculation about future story events. Regarding the characters as the heart of the story,  Martin planned the epic A Song of Ice and Fire to have a large cast of characters and many different settings from the beginning.
However, their backstory remains subject to change until written down in the story. Martin deliberately ignored the writing rule of never giving two characters names starting with the same letter.
Henry V of England. The family names were designed in association with ethnic groups see backstory : the First Men in the North of Westeros had very simply descriptive names like Stark and Strong, whereas the descendants of the Andal invaders in the South have more elaborate, undescriptive house names like Lannister or Arryn, and the Targaryens and Valyrians from the Eastern continent have the most exotic names with the letter Y.
All characters are designed to speak with their own internal voices to capture their views of the world. He returns to the intended story if it does not work out, but these detours sometimes prove more rewarding for him. As the character most deeply involved in magic, Bran's story needs to be handled carefully within the supernatural aspects of the books.
Bran is also the youngest viewpoint character,  and has to deal with the series' adult themes like grief, loneliness, and anger. Martin hoped the planned five-year break would ease the situation and age the children to almost adults in terms of the Seven Kingdoms, but he later dropped the five-year gap see section Bridging the timeline gap.
Although modern fantasy may often embrace strangeness, A Song of Ice and Fire series is generally praised for what is perceived as a sort of medieval realism.
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A common theme in the fantasy genre is the battle between good and evil ,  which Martin rejects for not mirroring the real world. Although fantasy comes from an imaginative realm, Martin sees an honest necessity to reflect the real world where people die sometimes ugly deaths, even beloved people. According to Martin, the fantasy genre rarely focuses on sex and sexuality,  instead often treating sexuality in a juvenile way or neglecting it completely. Martin provides a variety of female characters to explore the place of women in a patriarchal society.
Science Fiction Weekly stated in that "few would dispute that Martin's most monumental achievement to date has been the groundbreaking A Song of Ice and Fire historical fantasy series",  for which reviews have been "orders of magnitude better" than for his previous works, as Martin described to The New Yorker.