George R. R. Martin Talks With The Guardian About the Next Books, Stress, and Game of Thrones

If you thought Game of Thrones finally coming to an end (not to mention the way it ended) drummed up all sorts of complicated emotions for you, just wait until you read the latest interview with George R. R. Martin. Speaking to The Guardian, the author refused to discuss whether he’d watched the show’s finale, but revealed that the series concluding has been a huge stress-reliever.

“There were a couple of years where, if I could have finished the book, I could have stayed ahead of the show for another couple of years, and the stress was enormous,” he told The Guardian. “I don’t think it was very good for me, because the very thing that should have speeded me up actually slowed me down. Every day I sat down to write and even if I had a good day – and a good day for me is three or four pages – I’d feel terrible because I’d be thinking: ‘My God, I have to finish the book. I’ve only written four pages when I should have written 40.’ But having the show finish is freeing, because I’m at my own pace now. I have good days and I have bad days and the stress is far less, although it’s still there… I’m sure that when I finish A Dream of Spring you’ll have to tether me to the Earth.”

Martin added that the show’s polarizing finale will have no impact whatsoever on the books’ ending. “No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t change anything at all,” he said. “As Rick Nelson says in Garden Party, one of my favourite songs, you can’t please everybody, so you’ve got to please yourself.”

Elsewhere in the interview, he discussed his love for his fans, reminisced about attending Brotherhood Without Banners parties in the early 2000’s, admired the way book readers handled not-spoiling the Red Wedding on the shows, said he can no longer go to bookstores because of his fame, and talked about why he stays away from the internet. He also shared a suprising choice for his favorite scene to write.

“I remember there’s a speech that a septon [the Westerosi version of a priest] gives to Brienne about broken men and how they become broken,” Martin told The Guardian. “I was always pretty pleased about writing that.”

The good folks over at the A Song of Ice and Fire subreddit have transcribed the full speech, which is from A Feast for Crows. It begins:

“Ser? My lady?” said Podrick. “Is a broken man an outlaw?”

“More or less,” Brienne answered.

Septon Meribald disagreed. “More less than more. There are many sorts of outlaws, just as there are many sorts of birds. A sandpiper and a sea eagle both have wings, but they are not the same. The singers love to sing of good men forced to go outside the law to fight some wicked lord, but most outlaws are more like this ravening Hound than they are the lightning lord. They are evil men, driven by greed, soured by malice, despising the gods and caring only for themselves. Broken men are more deserving of our pity, though they may be just as dangerous. Almost all are common-born, simple folk who had never been more than a mile from the house where they were born until the day some lord came round to take them off to war. Poorly shod and poorly clad, they march away beneath his banners, ofttimes with no better arms than a sickle or a sharpened hoe, or a maul they made themselves by lashing a stone to a stick with strips of hide. Brothers march with brothers, sons with fathers, friends with friends. They’ve heard the songs and stories, so they go off with eager hearts, dreaming of the wonders they will see, of the wealth and glory they will win. War seems a fine adventure, the greatest most of them will ever know.

Then they get a taste of battle.”

You can read Martin’s full interview with The Guardian here.

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