To be clear, this is not an accusation of plagiarism, but a list of authors, books and creative choices that inspired George R.R. Martin as author of the book series, A Song of Ice and Fire, and as co-head writer (alongside D.B. Weiss and David Benioff) on Game of Thrones. In fact, author Martin has readily admitted in interviews to drawing inspiration from some of the people and artistic creations listed here.
Some of the authors and art listed are obvious sources that many if not most fantasy and sci-fi authors draw from. Others are less common literary devices or sources of inspiration, artistic works or writers from other genres that you might not otherwise expect to have kicked off George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy juggernaut. And still others, by no means the majority, are things that neither Martin, Weiss, nor Benioff have admitted or even know have influenced their writing; themes that have become part of the collective culture and are therefore echoed in most popular media whether consciously or not.
With a slightly inaccurate, possibly inflammatory, but guaranteed catchy title for a list of people and works that inspired George R.R. Martin, here is: 10 Things That Game Of Thrones “Borrowed” From Other Fantasy Franchises.
10 J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth
9 Historical Fiction
8 H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Cult
7 Epic Battles And Military Strategy
6 The Dark Ages
Probably partly due to the fact that Tolkien and peers like C.S. Lewis were Brits writing during and in the wake of a war (WWII) that devastated their country and pitted truly evil, totalitarian regimes against the at-the-time innocent Western world, both authors set up the convention in fantasy writing that holds to this day of setting the story in a time and place like the Dark Ages that follow the Fall of Rome in non-fiction history books.
5 Ambiguous Prophesies And A "Chosen One"
4 Big Evil, One Love
3 Made-Up Commodities
2 TV on the HBO
1 The Author's Name
Author George R.R. Martin only has one middle name on his birth certificate, but because the creator of Middle Earth, J.R.R. Tolkien's, birth name is John Ronald Reuel, the creator of Westeros and surrounding lands now calls himself George Raymond "Richard". Whether or not the creator of A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones (the TV series being named after the first book in the literary series) admits that his second middle name is an homage to one of the late and greatest patriarchs of modern fantasy writing, it cannot be a coincidence that someone who so openly admits to being largely influenced by Tolkien has the same alliterative middle initials.
Sources: bernardcornwell.net, ew.com, imdb.com, time.com
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