A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin may have no problem with your Game of Thrones fan fiction but if you thought you might be able to get on the legal license train sometime in the future, think again. When asked if he would let anyone else write in the universe he replied, “No, not while I’m alive.”
The Sydney Morning Herald talked to the author about his wishes for the future of ASoIaF stories and while he’s got some close support, he’s still slightly concerned.
“Eventually I will not be alive because Valar Morghulis, all men must men die, and I don’t think my wife, if she survives me, will allow that either,” he told them. “But one thing that history has shown us is eventually these literary rights pass to grandchildren or collateral descendants, 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.”
Martin, who doesn’t have any children of his own, looks to The Tolkien family as a positive example of what can happen with properties after an author’s passing.
“I’ve always admired [J.R.R.] Tolkien and his immense influence on fantasy. [And] although I’ve never met the man, I admire Christopher Tolkien, who’s his son, who has been the guardian of Tolkien’s estate and has never allowed that,” he told SMH, “Because I’m sure there’s publishers waiting in the wings with giant bags of money just waiting for someone to say ‘yes, go ahead, let’s write Sauron Strikes Back‘. I hope I never see Sauron Strikes Back written by some third rate writer who leaps at the opportunity.”
I think we can all agree there are advantages to a story that has a beginning, middle, and end but the interviewer posed the most dangerous question – is there a desire to keep going instead of ending the story?
“I think when I get to the end I may very well feel some of that. It’s going to be very hard to say goodbye to some of these people, the ones who are still alive,” Martin said. “At the same time it’s going to be immense relief because the pressure of this.”
I sometimes wonder how hard it must be for Martin not to say the name of a dead (or future-dead) character during interviews, though I suppose he’s had a lot of practice.