Called the ‘American Tolkien’ by Lev Grossman, a writer for Time magazine and included in the Time 100 list of most influential people in 2005, George R. R. Martin has produced some amazing works of fiction during his career. These days, his name is synonymous with the HBO series Game of Thrones, but it took him most of his career to achieve this household name status.
Growing up in a lower-middle class family in New York and New Jersey gave George the desire to see more of the world and for a young child with very limited resources, books became his escape. By becoming an avid reader, he was able to explore the depths of imagination, both his and those of others.
After dabbling in science fiction shorts and some horror, George found the world of comics. He began to expound to the writers of comics in editorial letters and was soon invited into the very small world of comic fandom and began writing for an assortment of sci-fi magazines. This led him to his first ‘comic con’, although they weren’t yet being referred to in that way as the movement was still in its infancy.
After receiving his BS and later an MS in journalism, Martin found himself writing in his spare time and working as a teacher, or a chess tournament director. Odd jobs to basically keep the lights on were really all these were though, as Martin had been attempting to become a full-time writer since early childhood when he sold penny stories to the neighborhood kids.
Martin eventually made his way into writing for TV and while he enjoyed the bigger checks, he still found himself wanting to be an established author in his own right. After the death of a close friend and a few minor contracts with Tor Books, Martin began to reevaluate his career and decided that he would try to write an epic fantasy. And so came the first of the Game of Thrones series A Song of Ice and Fire.
The series was intended to be three books in a series but currently, the count is up to seven. The release date for his newest book, Fire and Blood, is November 20th of this year and will deal with the history of the Targaryen family. HBO picked up the series and Game of Thrones is now one of the most watched TV series in history.
With the release of the latest book, we truly can see a similarity to Tolkien’s works in that we are now getting more background information on the characters from the main story, much like The Silmarillion, which came after The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings but contained crucial historical information from the imagined world.
In short, Martin’s career path has the ability to show us that achieving one’s dreams is possible, no matter how long it takes or how hard we have to work at them. If you decide that your dream is going to happen, you just have to keep working towards it, no matter what.