George R. R. Martin

On how to write great epic fantasy.

“You know, everything I’ve known about human nature . . . we have this innate quest for power and dominance. And if we had the power with just a few spells to undo armies, we would be the rulers. Whoever had that power would rule, they wouldn’t be the adviser to the ruler or someone who lives all alone in a tower. So you have to look, you know, if you’re gonna make pigs fly . . . it’s gonna change the pork industry. [laughter] Hugely! Capturing pigs is going to be much harder. So think through everything where you depart from real life, and where you don’t depart from real life. Make sure you learn everything you can about what you’re writing about, whether it’s, you know, medieval armies, or armor and weaponry, or care and feeding of horses, or whatever it is, try to get it right. Because if you get it wrong, somebody will notice and write you letters about it. [laughter]”

The option to read our full interview with George R. R. Martin is also available.