George R. R. Martin

American Novelist

Often regarded as the American Tolkien, George R. R. Martin has undoubtedly influenced pop culture and the literary world with his epic novels and intricate worldbuilding.

George Raymond Richard Martin is an American author, television producer, and screenwriter. Born on September 20, 1948, George’s works on literature and television production have undoubtedly influenced the world at large. His best work, A Song of Ice and Fire, got adapted to become one of the most Awarded TV shows.


Life Facts

  • George R. R. Martin was born on September 20, 1948.
  • George got married twice. The first time, he got married to Gale Burnick in 1975. However, the marriage lasted for four years. They got divorced in 1979. The second time, he got married to Parris McBride in 2011.
  • George studied at Northwestern University, where he earned his B.S. and M.S.
  • George refused to join the Vietnam war even though he was eligible for the draft. His reason was his disapproval of the war.
  • George has received numerous awards for his contributions to literature and television.
  • He is called the American Tolkien.

Interesting Facts

  • George’s mother was wealthy but lost everything during the Great Depression.
  • George is an avid comic book fan. He always talks about the influence of comics on him.
  • George’s friend’s death was what inspired him to become a full-time writer.
  • George named some of his characters in his epic fantasy after characters he created when he was a young boy.


Famous Books by George R. R. Martin

‘A Game of Thrones’ is George R. R. Martin’s best novel. It is the first story of A Song of Ice and Fire. The story begins with Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfell, getting news of his friend, Jon Arryn’s death. With his death, Ned also learns that the King, Robert Baratheon, his friend, is headed to Winterfell.

On arrival, Robert requests for Ned to become the new Hand of the King, and after deliberating on the offer, Ned accepts. Initially wanting to take two of his daughters and one of his sons, Ned takes his daughters instead, as his son, Bran, gets pushed off a wall by Robert’s wife’s brother, Jaime.

On reaching King’s Landing, the capital of Westeros, Ned begins investigating the death of his friend. His investigation leads him to discover that Robert’s wife, Cersei, had illegitimate children for the King. Catelyn, Ned’s wife, tries to investigate her son’s accident and attempted assassination. She meets Petyr Baelish and learns that the assassin’s knife was his, but he lost it to Tyrion.

Across the ocean, Daenerys, the daughter of Aerys II Targaryen, and her brother, Viserys, stay in the free city of Pentos. Viserys marries Daenerys to Khal Drogo in hopes of getting an army. However, his plans backfire, leading to his demise.

In Westeros, Ned confronts Cersei about the truth, and while Robert is away, she plans an accident for him; this leads to his death. Upon his death, Ned gets arrested and killed. With Ned’s death, Robb, his son, decides to wage war, and he gets crowned the King in the North. Daenerys, on the other hand, loses everything she loves but gets three dragons.

‘Fevre Dream’ is a 1982 fantasy novel by George R. R. Martin. The novel tells the story of Abner Marsh, an unattractive but experienced Mississippi River steamboat captain. When a financial crisis threatens his business, Abner gets contacted by Joshua York, a soft-spoken gentleman. Joshua promises to finance a new steamboat for Abner, and they become business partners.

On the boat’s completion, Abner and Joshua co-captain the ship. However, though the boat, Fevre Dream, is everything Abner has dreamt of, he and his crew become suspicious of Joshua and his unusual friends. Abner confronts him and learns Joshua is a vampire hunter investigating a series of mysterious deaths along the river.

Soon, Joshua reveals the whole truth to Abner, telling him that he and his friends are vampire hunters and that he is their bloodmaster. He tells Abner that he has developed a portion that makes vampires have no lust for human blood and that he wants to change all vampires. However, Damon Julian, the evil rival to Joshua, learns of his plans and boards the Fevre Dream.

Damon disposes of Joshua and becomes the new bloodmaster of all vampires, including Joshua. Abner escapes and tries to reclaim his ship but fails. Eventually, he gives up. He later reunites with Joshua, and they face Damon one last time.

‘Tuf Voyaging’ is a 1986 science-fiction novel. It is a collection of many short stories related to each other. The novel tells the story of Haviland Tuf, a very tall, pale, overweight, cat-loving, bald, vegetarian, and solitary space trader whose accidental adventures lead him to become the master of the Ark, a 30-kilometer-long seedship (a warship with advanced ecological engineering capabilities). As the captain, Tuf begins traveling to worlds, offering his services as an environmental fixer.


Early Life

George Raymond Richard Martin was born on September 20, 1948, to Raymond Collins Martin and Margaret Brady Martin in Bayonne, New Jersey. For the first four years after his birth, George and his parents lived with his great-grandmother. His mother had lost all her wealth to the Great Depression. George recalled he got reminded of his family’s lost riches every day as he walked past the house his parents owned.

Two years after his birth, Raymond and Margaret welcomed another child, Darleen, George’s sister, into the world. When he was four and his sister two, his parents moved into their apartment, a house in the low-income housing projects on First Street called LaTourette Gardens. There he lived his entire childhood till eighteen. At age seven, George got another sister, Janet. His mother was half Irish, and he later confirmed his French, English, Welsh, and German ancestry.

During his childhood, George’s world, which was from First to Fifth street, made him begin to daydream of adventures around the world. He became obsessed with the idea of traveling around the world, and soon that obsession made him become a prodigious reader. He began writing and selling monster stories to the children in his neighborhood, and the stories were about a mythical kingdom populated by his pet turtles. However, he did not finish many of the stories as he did not like how they turned out on paper.


Education

For his education, George attended Mary Jane Donohoe School from kindergarten to the eighth grade. The school was on Fifth Street, and he always walked to it since his family had no car. He stated on his website that he always walked past the Catholic Grade School and would marvel at its size. The public schools had classes half the size of the Catholic schools. Since George’s mother believed that a smaller class was better for learning, she admitted him into Mary Jane Donohoe against the advice of a parish priest, who told her that putting George in a public school would send them to hell.

In 1962, George graduated from Jane Donohoe School as the Valedictorian. He stated that the school’s motto, Honor not Honors, might have been the inspiration for Eddard Stark, one of the primary characters in ‘A Game of Thrones.’ On graduating, George got television and was excited as he could watch some of his favorite shows like The Twilight Zone and Thriller.

After graduating, George was off to High School. His parents sent him to a Catholic prep school, Marist High, and one thing he disliked about the school was it was an only-boy school. So, for four years, the only girls George talked to were his sisters.

In high school, George wrote and edited for the school paper but left it when he had an issue with censorship. It was in high school that he became interested in comic books. His interest made him write and publish amateur superhero stories in fanzines. In 1964, he went to his first Comic-Con in New York. In 1996, George graduated from high school. He got accepted at several local schools but decided to pick Northwestern University, the farthest from home.

In 1970, George got his B.S. in Journalism, graduating summa cum laude, from Northwestern, and a year later, he earned his M.S. in the same field. He declined to join the Vietnam War. Instead, he did alternative service work for two years as a VISTA volunteer assigned to the Cook County Legal Assistance Foundation, providing legal aid to the poor of suburban Cook County, Illinois.


Personal Life

In 1973, George met Lisa Tuttle at a con in Dallas. Lisa was a college student in Syracuse, New York, and her attraction to George was almost instant. Their relationship grew, but the distance between them led to Lisa falling for someone else. While attending the East Coast science fiction convention, George met Gale Burnick, and in 1975, they married. Gale moved in with him but decided not to change her surname to Martin. George admitted that his wedding to Gale was fun, but their marriage was not as four years later, they divorced, and he moved to Santa Fe.

In 1981, George met Parris McBride. She moved in with him, and their relationship kicked off. On August 19, 2011, George and Parris married during a small ceremony in their home.

When asked about his religious views, George R. R. Martin called himself a lapsed catholic. He stated that he would call himself an atheist or agnostic. He also admitted that religion and spirituality fascinated him.


Career

George began his writing career at 21 by selling short fiction stories professionally. His first novel sold was ‘The Hero.’ He sold the story to Galaxy magazine. George continued writing short stories for other magazines like Analog magazine, and in 1973, his story got nominated for the Nebula and Hugo Awards.

Though his short stories were a success, and he got money from them, George could not support himself by writing stories alone, and his dreams of becoming a full-time writer got delayed. He soon got a job as a tournament director for the Continental Chess Association as he had experience playing chess. The job gave him an extra source of income sufficient enough for him to work as a writer. However, the chess bubble burst, leading to a significant cut in his pay.

In the mid-1970s, George met George Guthridge at a science fiction convention and was able to convince him to begin writing speculative fiction. Receiving George’s advice, Guthridge became a well-established writer. As a favor, Guthridge helped George find a job at Clarke University as he admitted that George was not making enough money to stay alive from writing and chess. From 1976 to 1978, George worked as an English and Journalism instructor at the university. He later became a writer at the same university from 1978-1979.

Though he loved his job at Clarke, George decided to reorganize his life after the demise of his friend, Tom Reamy, in 1977. He then decided to become a full-time writer, and in 1982, he published a vampire novel titled ‘Fevre Dream.’ He continued writing, and in 1983, he published another horror novel, ‘The Armageddon Rag.’ The book’s failure made George consider venturing into real estate.

In 1984, Betsy Mitchell, the new editor of Baen Books, called George asking if he considered writing a collection of Haviland Tuf stories. Though he was on his next book, ‘Black and White and Red All Over,’ Martin accepted Betsy’s offer as the failure of his previous book made all editors reject his story. He wrote Tuf stories, and together they got compiled in ‘Tuf Voyaging.’

Before George could make a sequel, he received an offer from producer Philip DeGuere Jr. who wanted to adopt ‘The Armageddon Rag.’ The film got canceled, but George kept in contact with DeGuere, and when he became the producer for the reenactment of The Twilight Zone, George received a job as a writer. Martin moved to Hollywood after realizing it paid more, and in 1989, he became the co-supervising producer for the series Beauty and the Beast.

In 1991, George started writing again as he was frustrated that his screenplays were not getting released. In 1996, he published ‘A Game of Thrones,’ and rose to stardom. Two years later, ‘A Clash of Kings’ got published, and in 2000, ‘A Storm of Swords.’ Five years later, George published ‘A Feast for Crows.’ Six years later ‘A Dance


Literature by George R. R. Martin

Explore literature by George R. R. Martin below, created by the team at Book Analysis.