north americaeurope
george r. r. martin

interview 04:04

[DGN] Concerning the Hedge Knight, the short story published in the ‘Legends' anthology. You have a second Dunk and Egg story in Legends II, entitled ‘The Sworn Sword'. Are you planning any more short stories, or only for the ‘Legends' anthologies…?

[GRRM] I do want to write more ‘Dunk and Egg' stories. I have a half dozen of them and I want to tell their whole lives and eventually collect them all together in a book which will take them from their meeting in ‘The Hedge Knight' all the way through a lot of important Westerosi history. I think there's some good stories there. The question is, how do I find the time to write these? The only time I have to write them is in between volumes of ‘Ice and Fire'. If I deliver one, than maybe I can sneak in a quick ‘Dunk and Egg' story before I have to start on the next one. Now the question becomes where to publish them. The ‘Legends' anthologies have been terrific showcases. That's really how they were conceived by Robert Silverberg. They're invitation-only, the top names in fantasy – they're a terrific book to be in. They really expand your audience. I've gotten dozens, maybe hundreds of letters and people coming up to me at conventions who've said ‘I've never read your stuff. I bought Legends I for the Stephen King story. I loved your work, and then went out and bought your books.' Or they bought it for the Terry Pratchett story, or the Robert Jordan story. Presumably, some of these authors are also getting ‘I bought Legends for the George Martin story and I read yours….'. Putting all of us together in this book is a terrific idea because it enables all of us to get some new readers from the people who buy the book for the others. I would love to continue to do ‘Dunk and Egg' stories for the ‘Legends' books, assuming the ‘Legends' series continues. That's not certain; if ‘Legends' does not continue – if there is no ‘Legends III' or “IV', then I'll have to find some other outlets for the series. I'm sure I will, be it magazines, other anthologies, etcetera.


[DGN] There's also a beautiful ‘The Hedge Knight' comic books series out, and you've got a collector's card game based on the wider world, called ‘A Game of Thrones'. You mention on your website that a movie/television adaptation based based on ‘A Song of Ice and Fire' is improbable due to the sheer scope. However, especially considering your experience in both television and film, have you ever considered adapting ‘The Hedge Knight' or a related short story into a visual medium?

[GRRM] I'm not going to write anything myself in terms of adaption, until I finish the series. Once again, you have the time issue. It takes a while to write things. If I adapted ‘The Hedge Knight' for a movie, it means postponing the books for six months or something like that. I don't want to do that. I could certainly sell the rights to do that to anyone who's interested, sure. So if anyone wanted to approach me about ‘Blood of the Dragon' – which is just the first Daenarys story which appeared separately as a novella – something like that could be done. A novella is a good length for a movie. You don't lose much, it's just really the perfect length. There is a problem with ‘The Hedge Knight' as a movie though. Unfortunately, there's ‘The Knight's Tale', which just came out a couple years ago. There are certain similarities between the two, and I think most Hollywood people, studio execs and producers, would look at ‘The Hedge Knight' and say "This is too close to ‘The Knight's Tale'." I mean, maybe someone would get past that, but I don't know.


[DGN] In general, you are open to sharing the world of ‘A Song of Ice and Fire' across different mediums?

[GRRM] Yeah. As long as it's done right. I'm very protective of the world, and if there's going to be spinoff products, I want them to be good products. The collectible card game I hear is terrific, and I know it has a lot of fans. I don't play collectable card games myself, but I'm very pleased with the way it came out. I know the board game is good – I've played that myself. I don't want to put out crap projects, or crap spin-offs. We have an audio book coming out that I'm very excited about, because they're finally doing it unabridged. We had a deal to do one in place several years ago, but they were going to do it abridged to 9 hours. I took one look at the abridgement, and I had to kill it because 9 hours is just like the Cliff's Notes version of the novel (laughs). It was more of a summary than the story. So we waited, and I'm glad we waited, because now we're having an unabridged audio book. It's going to be 57 hours long! (laughs). It's going to have the whole story in it, and a great reader in Roy Dotrice. I'm very pleased with it. If a movie came up, it would be the same issue. I would want to sit down with whoever wants to buy the rights, and I would want to say – "How are we going to do this?". I don't see how you could do it. If someone could come up with a way… tell me!


[DGN] There's really not much you could take out of these books.

[GRRM] You could certainly do it as a television series which would run for many years, but I've worked in American television. American television doesn't really suit it. They won't commit – everything depends on ratings. Maybe they'd develop it and put out two episodes, and then it's cancelled because the ratings weren't high enough. Or maybe they put out half a dozen episodes and they do their ‘focus groups' or ‘Q-testing' and they say ‘Well, the actor who's playing Jaime Lannister is not well-liked by the audience. Let's write him out of the story!'. That's… mad. You can't work that way. I don't want to work that way, not with this project. I've done it that way with other projects, I've worked in Hollywood. You approach it knowing what the parameters of things are. But this is a different kind of story. Now, the British have a different way of doing it. When the BBC did, say, ‘I, Claudius', many years ago, which is one my favourite television shows – classic show - they ordered thirteen episodes. They didn't just put on one as a pilot, and see if anybody liked it, or did testing and focus groups. They said "OK. We're going to do thirteen episodes." They sent a writer away for a year, or two years, or whatever, and he wrote all thirteen episodes. And when everything was finished they produced them all, just like Peter Jackson produced three movies. That's how this would need to be done. You need to get a solid commitment for how long it's going to be, you need to do it all. I don't think it's going to happen. That was the long answer. The short answer? "Don't hold your breath!"


[DGN] That's a shame! Mr. Martin, Thank you very much for time. It's been an honour. I know we're all dying for ‘A Feast for Crows', and I'm sure it'll be fantastic.

[GRRM] You're welcome.


dragonsworn would like to thank George R. R. Martin again for his unstinting cooperation, especially considering how busy he must be. We'd also like to apologise to all 'Ice and Fire' fans, as we may have delayed 'A Feast for Crows' by a couple minutes. Finally, a big thanks to everyone over at inspiration and the EZBoard forums for the helpful question suggestions. We hope you've enjoyed the interview, and invite you browse through the rest of the feature, as well as our website. If you'd like to comment on anything, please don't hesitate to email us or visit us over on inspiration.