The Inspirational Story of The Mastermind Behind Game of Thrones

Many authors have captivated our minds through the works of their fantasy novels, yet very few have managed to mesmerize an audience on a massive scale. This is especially true for when the viewer base is primarily of adult age. However, there is one author whose imagination has resonated with millions of adults, bringing fantasy to the mainstream. And that man is George R.R. Martin.  

Martin introduced us to the world of Westeros and Lannisters, Starks, and Targaryens, in his novels A Song of Ice and Fire. Due to its traditional storytelling, the series gained a television adaptation by HBO, which transformed into the cultural phenomenon Game of Thrones, which ends its eight-year run on HBO in 6 weeks. The namesake of the television series, Game of Thrones, is based on the second entry of Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, which was initially published back in 1996. The HBO fantasy drama didn’t air until 2011. 

Martin is still cramming out behemoth-sized novels, continuing the legacy of A Song of Ice and Fire, all the while being an executive producer and writer for the television version. But how did Martin get a start to his writing career, and where did he get inspiration to write these novels? 


Martin grew up in a federal housing project with his family in Bayonne, New Jersey. Being locked down in the block of apartments he lived on, he wanted to escape and travel.  But due to his lower-income family, his imagination was the only tool for traversing to unknown lands.  Because of this, he took up reading to escape his reality. He soon became a lover of science fiction and an avid reader of the fantasy genre. He even started his amateur writing career by selling short “monster” stories to his classmates for pennies. This was when Martin knew he had a passion for fiction. His earliest inspiration for Game of Thrones, quite arguably, derived from the deaths of his pet turtles, which he assumed were fighting each other to the end--they would determine who would be the king of the turtle throne. 

He was always enamored by the strange nature of science fiction and the epic scale of fantasy stories. For as much as passion he had for reading, and he shared the same for writing. He attended college at Northwestern University in pursuit of a degree in journalism, where he eventually earned his Master’s degree. Soon after graduation, Martin started his professional writing career, where he wrote short science fiction stories and sold to popular magazines at the time.  

Writing stories for these publications wasn’t as lucrative as he wanted it to be, so Martin picked up a day job to supplement his writing career. But he persisted and continued to achieve his goal of becoming a fantasy novelist. Eventually, Martin made his way up in his writing career as a writer at a television studio. He worked on Beauty and the Beast and The Twilight Zone. For a while, he was happy with the work he was doing, but that didn’t go without conflict. 

One of the biggest challenges Martin faced while being a TV writer was the budget that had to be followed when producing the episode. There are so many restraints that they had as writers, that he felt that this was hurting him creatively. While Martin was finally in a stable writing job, he was letting his passion die and decided to return to writing novels. He chose to do this because the size of his imagination is not limited when he is writing, whereas, with television, every creative aspect is directly affected by budgetary restraints. This may have seemed like a risky choice, but his decision ultimately led to one of the most influential cultural phenomena we have seen on television today. 

The Game of Thrones saga started in 1996 as A Song of Ice and Fire, but its notoriety wasn’t as grand until HBO adapted it as a tv show in 2011. Martin didn’t receive commercial success overnight, but that didn’t stop him from continuing the medieval fantasy series. Martin didn’t see his work paying off until 2005, when his fourth entry to the series, A Feast for Crows, became a best-selling book. With the success of the television series, Martin released another best-selling entry to the novels, A Dance with Dragons, and is writing the future final two additions, The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring. 


Despite his humble upbringings, Martin overcame his adversity and pursued his dream of becoming a successful novelist in an industry that doesn’t necessarily find fantasy as a profitable genre for adult readers. He didn’t let his imagination die after becoming an adult, which drove him to produce the compelling stories we read and see on tv screens. He claims Game of Thrones is finally giving respect to the fantasy genre, by bringing it back to the mainstream. 

Martin wasn’t afraid to express his imagination and young age, and he isn’t scared to do so at his current age. Because he didn’t have a chance to leave his neighborhood quite often, he relied on the fantasy fiction he read to expand his imaginative mind. George R.R. Martin soon became inspired to create his own stories, for which he continues to do today. Martin achieved his goal by never giving up his passion for writing and never let his inspiration die, and because of that, he produced one of the most successful fantasy stories that grew into the cultural phenomenon that it is today, Game of Thrones.