At his alma mater, Northwestern University, where Martin was awarded the Hall of Achievement alumni award from the Medill School of Journalism this week, the author spoke about his surprise at something most of us predicted.
“The show, of course, has caught up to me, which I didn’t actually think would ever happen. I had such a huge lead, but the truth is, I’m a very slow writer.”
Seriously though, how can George R. R. Martin be the one person who didn’t think HBO’s Game of Thrones would catch up to his writing? The man has penned his jumbo-sized Song of Ice and Fire books at an average rate of one every three and 1/3 years (counting Winds of Winter if it publishes in 2016), while the series churns out a season a year; how could he not expect the show to catch up to him?
During the discussion panel that followed, Martin revealed he has an unfinished story about Jack the Ripper coming to New York, saying “Maybe I’ll get back to it someday. Maybe I won’t.” He also told the story of what inspired one of our favorite taglines, “Winter is coming.”
“The coldest winter was in Chicago. There was so much snow that winter, you couldn’t see, all snow, all ice, and it was so very cold. I remember walking through the trenches and the tunnels of ice, the wind blowing so you couldn’t even see. It’s an experience that never left me.”
Martin said that particular memory contributed him creating The Wall (along with Hadrian’s Wall). Predictably though, he couldn’t reveal much about Jon Snow’s fate.
“No comment on that. I’m just saying, read the books.”
We will, George, we will! Now, when are those mothereffing Winds coming?
His final book-related comment gave a hint at what to expect when the Ice and Fire stories come to a close.
“We all yearn for happy endings, in a sense. People have asked me how Game of Thrones is going to end. I’m not going to tell the specifics, of course, but I’ve always said to expect something bittersweet.”
While at Northwestern, Martin also met up with a fellow HBO-er at the game against Penn State.