Esta entrevista a George R. R. Martin feita por Jean-Marie Ward para o portal Buzzy Mag acaba por ser mais sobre o seu projecto de revitalização de um antigo cinema na sua cidade (Santa Fe, no Novo México), tendo comprado o edifício histórico e reabilitado as instalações para voltar a passar filmes e a desenvolver outras actividades (como, por exemplo e entre muitas outras, ante-estreias de episódios de Game of Thrones). O que, diga-se de passagem, não deixa de ser também interessante. Mas também se fala de A Song of Ice and Fire, dos vários momentos da sua carreira literária, e dos projectos que tem em curso de momento. Dois excertos:
Jean-Marie Ward/Buzzy Mag: Getting back to Ice and Fire. Because I know our viewers will not forgive me if I don’t ask you a couple questions about that. When did you realize the saga was going to take your career in a new direction and lift it to a new level?
George R.R. Martin: Well, it’s actually lifted it to like six new levels. I think everyone comes as a little bit of a surprise to me, except maybe the first one. When I first wrote this in the early to mid-’90s, completed and delivered the first one in ’95 and it came out in ’96, my main hope was that it would get my career back on track. Because my career as a novelist had been derailed.
I had a very healthy career in science fiction and fantasy in the late ’70s and early ’80s with a series of novels, each of which have been more successful than the one before. Until I wrote my fourth book The Armageddon Rag, which, while critically acclaimed, was a very poor seller. And the commercial failure of The Armageddon Rag essentially made me unsaleable. Nobody wanted my fifth novel. I went to Hollywood and worked in television on “Twilight Zone” and “Beauty and the Beast” partly out of choice because it was an exciting new opportunity. And also partly out of necessity, because I couldn’t get anyone to buy the fifth book that I was writing.
So, after ten years there, I was kind of returning to prose with Ice and Fire and of course, I was hoping that The Armageddon Rag experience would not be repeated. Because if it had been, I don’t know, I might have had to change my name or start my career all over again. The book field is like Hollywood in some ways. It’s merciless here. You’re only as successful as your latest book or movie or television show.
But thankfully, the Game of Thrones and the books that followed Game of Thrones were successful and not only restarted my career but as you say, took it to a level of popularity and sales that none of my earlier books had achieved. And then things just kept going up. I began to make bestseller lists for the first time in my career with the second book. With the fourth book, I hit number one on the bestseller list for the first time. With the fifth book, I lived on the bestseller list for like two years.
And with the television series, everything has gone crazy. So, it’s not just been one new level. It’s been a series of new levels and it’s all been very exciting. I don’t expect any of it. I don’t even try to think about any of it when I’m writing the books. My concern is with Westeros and the world and the characters and telling the best story I can. And then I turn it over to my agents and my editors and my publishers and they take the ball and carry it from there.
JMW/BM: What about the story and the characters do you think resonates so strongly with people? What is the key element that has made this one the big one?
GRRM: I think it’s the characters. My mantra as a writer has always been William Faulkner’s Nobel Prize-winning speech where he said that the only thing worth writing about was the human heart in conflict with itself. That’s what I try to write about. That’s the fundamental of all great fiction. And it doesn’t matter what genre it’s in. Whether it’s literary fiction, a mystery novel, historical fiction or science fiction/fantasy. Whether it’s television, film or books, it’s the characters that draw the reader into the stories. It’s the characters that make it come alive. The human heart in conflict with itself. Be it on a spaceship or in a castle or on the mean streets of Raymond Chandler. The human heart in conflict with itself makes the story come alive. And that’s certainly what I try to grapple with.
A entrevista completa pode ser lida na Buzzy Mag.