The Dead Robots' Society

Writers on Writing


This week Paul, Terry, and Justin discuss George R. R. Martin’s “A Game Of Thrones” novel, not just as readers, but also as writers. What did we think Martin did well, what did we not care for, and will we be returning to Westeros? Listen and find out.

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  1. Wow, universal disdain for Mr. Martin’s writing? I didn’t see that coming. Still, I can join you guys with a few criticisms (I read it years ago but still remember these):

    1) I just wanted to get through each Sansa chapter as fast as possible as soon as it appeared.

    2) I felt the threat from the north shouldn’t have led off the whole book if it wasn’t resolved, or even advanced really, in book 1.

    3) Some of the knight descriptions leading into a tournament fight felt a bit like a fantasy version of the WWF (or whatever they call wrestling these days).

    That said, I think Martin’s writing as a craft is among the best out there. I’d give all of his books in the series 5 stars for that reason alone. I read each as soon as they hit paperback (only Tad Williams is an always-in-hardcover purchase for me) and I definitely should go back and reread them.

  2. Bryan, I wouldn’t use the word “disdain” for our feelings. While Terry is certainly not a fan, I think Paul and I have a lot of respect for aspects of Martin’s writing, even if we also wish he were a bit less wordy. Disdain seems a bit harsh. 🙂

  3. Fair enough. Maybe more lukewarm than disdainful? Haha. In any case, I think it was mostly a genre thing. I really like long, descriptive epic fantasy. Not everyone has to. I agree with the comment that anyone can learn from him when it comes to writing complex characters.

  4. Enjoyed the episode.

    It seemed like you liked the Daenerys storyline. You might be interested to know that that storyline actually appeared as a standalone novella, Blood of the Dragon before A Game of Thrones was published. I’m pretty sure Path of the Dragon was similar, but associated with the later books.

    Speaking of short fiction expanded into a novel, I was a bit puzzled by the comment that this was unusual. There are plenty of great examples. There are fix-ups like Foundation or Accelerando. Among the list of stories which were expanded into novels: Ender’s Game by Card and Beggars in Spain by Kress.


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