A few days ago at an event in Brisbane Game Of Thrones author George RR Martin committed a crime against the nerd community by calling fan fiction lazy. Here are his comments:
It’s a lazy way to go when you’re just taking my characters…I recognise that it’s an act of love … I would rather they make up their own characters and their own stories and not just borrow my world. These characters are real to me, I’ve been living with them since 1991. I know what they would do and what they can’t do, and some fan writers take over them and make them do things to my mind that are wildly out of character.
That’s a pretty ballsy statement when you consider that there’s considerable overlap in the Venn diagram of George RR Martin Readers and Fan Fiction Writers. But the man is just that passionate about preserving his world. And you have to sympathize. After seeing things like Game Of Bones you absolutely have to sympathize. I know some fan fiction is fantastic. Of course it is. But on the other end of the spectrum you have whatever that was I saw when I typed “Loki” into Tumblr the other day. Don’t do that, gentle readers, I lost all my remaining innocence. For more thoughts on the art of fan fiction, I heartily recommend Rainbow Rowell’s excellent novel Fangirl which does a superb job of parsing the difference between mere brainless imitation and creative output.
Basically, Martin says you’ll wrest the rights to Westeros from his Cold dead Hands. However, that doesn’t mean your dreams of a Jorah/Dany all boning all the time spin-off must die with him.
Eventually, Martin concedes, he will die and the rights to his work will pass on to someone who sees Westeros as a money grab rather than a beloved work of art to be preserved. He says:
I don’t think my wife, if she survives me, will allow that either. But one thing that history has shown us is eventually these literary rights pass to grandchildren or collateral descendents, or people who didn’t actually know the writer and don’t care about his wishes. It’s just a cash cow to them. And then we get abominations to my mind like Scarlett, the Gone with the Wind sequel.
So to sum up, nerds, keep writing that Sansa/Margaery slash fiction, but keep it under your jaunty little railroad cap until Martin has gone to that great brothel in the sky. Then, you know, unleash The Kraken or release The Hound or whatever it is that moves you.