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George R.R. Martin Talked About Success and Toxic Online fans
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Anyone who’s ever completed a successful project knows the fear that their followup won’t be a hit. But few of us will ever work on anything that’s quite as popular as Game of Thrones—and author George R.R. Martin is well aware that the television phenomenon is going to be a tough act to follow.
“The scale of Game of Thrones’ success, reaching all over the world and invading the culture,” said Martin on the podcast Maltin on the Movies, “it’s not something anyone could ever anticipate, not something I expect to ever experience again.”
Martin saw another one of his works adapted for the small screen during Thrones’ run, with the premier of Nightflyers on SyFy last year. The show, which was based on a book Martin wrote before he penned A Game of Thrones, was poorly received by critics and canceled after a single season, so it’s understandable that the writer might be concerned about future projects.
But more than 19 million people watched the Thrones finale, making it the most watched TV episode in HBO history, and it seems likely that a good number of those viewers will be interested in checking out some of the network’s spinoff shows. Three projects are currently in development, and the first, a series starring Naomi Watts that will explore the origins Westeros’s Long Night, is set to begin filming later this year.
In his appearance on the podcast, which is hosted by veteran film critic Leonard Maltin, Martin also discussed the sometimes noxious nature of internet fandom. Game of Thrones viewers weren’t shy about their distaste for the show’s final season, and an online petition requesting a remake of the season has amassed 1.6 million signatures and counting.
Martin first became active in the sci-fi/fantasy fan community during childhood, and in the interview he described the internet as being “toxic in a way that old fanzine culture and fandoms” were not. Unlike fandoms of years past, the internet “empowers anonymity, the coward’s means of discourse.”
“There were disagreements, ” said Martin of old-school fan groups. “There were feuds, but nothing like the madness that you see on the internet.”
Gabrielle Bruney is a writer and editor for Esquire, where she focuses on politics and culture.