It’s no secret that George RR Martin’s high fantasy epic A Song of Ice and Fire owes a lot of inspiration to JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Last month the 70-year-old Game of Thrones author was awarded the Burke Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Discourse through the Arts. And during the Q&A after his acceptance speech, he praised Tolkien and highlighted how he re-reads The Lord of the Rings every few years. However, Martin admitted there were some plot holes which he pointed out in a hilarious fashion.
Martin said: “It’s one of the great books of the 20th century, but that doesn’t mean that I think it’s perfect.
“I keep wanting to argue with Professor Tolkien through the years about certain aspects of it.
“He did what he wanted to do very brilliantly but…I look at the end and it says Aragorn is the king and he says, ‘And Aragorn ruled wisely and well for 100 years’.
“It’s easy to write that sentence…but I want to know what was his tax policy and what did he do when famine struck the land.
“And what did he do with all those Orcs?”
“A lot of Orcs left over. They weren’t all killed, they ran away into the mountains.”
Speaking on PBS’ The Great American Read about Tolkien’s epic fantasy, the author discussed the impact such a narrative move had on him.
Martin said: “Tolkien’s greatest invention was the characters who struggled with the temptation of the ring and what to do with it.
“They’re all fighting these battles inside their hearts. That can take place anywhere in anytime in any space in all of human history. And then Gandalf dies!
“I can’t explain the impact that had on me at 13. You can’t kill Gandalf. Conan didn’t die in the Conan books, you know?
“Tolkien just broke that rule and I love him forever for it because the minute you kill Gandalf the suspense of everything that follows is a thousand times greater because now anybody could die. Of course, that’s had a profound effect on my own willingness to kill characters at the drop of a hat.”