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Law Talk: George R. R. Martin

Dave Hoffman

Dave Hoffman is the Murray Shusterman Professor of Transactional and Business Law at Temple Law School. He specializes in law and psychology, contracts, and quantitative analysis of civil procedure. He currently teaches contracts, civil procedure, corporations, and law and economics.

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30 Responses

  1. Stuart Buck says:

    why most fantasy novels seem to be set in merry olde england (28 minutes in)

    All of the cultural accretion going back to Morte D’Arthur? Interesting question: The idea of “fantasy westerns” seems as odd to me as the idea of “gunslinging Jane Austen novels.”

  2. Amber says:

    Stephen King’s Dark Tower series was essentially a fantasy western, at least in the earlier books.

    This is so amazing. Thanks for this feature.

  3. Alan Kellogg says:

    I just have a question for George. Have you picked anybody to finish the Song of Ice and Fire, and how much shelving will it take? :)

    Recommendation: Daniel Abraham’s A Shadow in Summer

  4. Mike says:

    George R.R. has become the most hated man in my literary Universe.

    I bought the first three installments of “The Song of Fire & Ice” as Amazon alluded to it as a trilogy. Then waited several years for book four, which, of course, turned out to be book 3 and a half. Several years later, still waiting for the conclusion to book four.

    Of course, as I’m a senior citizen, I’ve given up any hope of reading the final denounment book of the series. In fact, George not being a “spring chicken”, if he keeps screwing around instead of writing the final volumes of the series he’ll also have passed on prior to the ending.

    I blame George Bush!

  5. ob1 says:

    If you read his blog or whatever he wants to call it, you’ll find him to be a man filled with hatred and an almost fatal case of BDS.

  6. Michael Pate says:

    I had the opportunity to attend a reading George performed from A Game of Thrones at Necronomicon in 1994 (he read Chapters 1 and 3). So I have been waiting extra long for him to get the story finished. But as long as he keeps working at it, I am content.

  7. dischord says:

    I don’t know what ob1 is blathering about above. The blog is actually intelligent and interesting. Maybe he just doesn’t like George’s choice of football teams or something.

  8. Where is the love for my man George!?!? Time Magazine calls him “The American Tolkien” and for good reason.

    I’m waiting with baited breath for the next book too but its because his books are so damn good that we are all impatient for them to come out.

    It always surprises me how quickly people go from liking the guy’s work to anger at it not being done fast enough.

  9. Aaron W. says:

    Agreed! George R.R. Martin is a fantastic author and storyteller. It takes time to write a good book, not to mention a huge series of excellent books. Do you think JRR Tolkien finished LOTR in 5 years? No…he worked on it for over 15 years, and the entire series was as long as just one of GRRM’s books.

    I’d rather have him take 20 years to finish the series and produce something legendary, than to hurry through the books to please a few thousand impatient fans and produce something mediocre that nobody will remember in 30 years.

    Martin is the best, hands down.

  10. etay says:

    i must repeat: grrm is the best.

    my only withdrow is that now all other fantasy seems nothing comperd to asoiaf. but it’s worth it.

  11. etay says:

    i must repeat: grrm is the best.

    my only withdrow is that now all other fantasy seems nothing comperd to asoiaf. but it’s worth it.

  12. etay says:

    i must repeat: grrm is the best.

    my only withdrow is that now all other fantasy seems nothing comperd to asoiaf. but it’s worth it.

  13. Spinnray says:

    Interesting interview. I just picked up A Game of Thrones yesterday and I am 100 pages into it. It’s excellent so far… very different from my expectations.

  14. andrew says:

    asoiaf is the best fiction ever produced, my complaint as an addict is that i have no idea when i will get my next fix, will it be years?

  15. mjgrass says:

    Thanks for the great world you have written for us Mr. Martin. I wish every one would stop complaining. Dont you guys know. Every time some one complains a Stark is killed. Shhhhhh!

  16. kvjack says:

    The only book(s) that came close to GRRM’s series is David Durham’s Acacia…durham seems, to me at least, to be bit darker–but his playing around with moral choices (rather than render such a vivid, and often disheartening, picture of humanity like GRRM) gives you hope, if not for the characters in the book, but for the rest of us. I love both these authors. And I’m a corporate lawyer! Wonder why we all tend towards escapism…

  17. Pete says:

    I think the first three books of Martin’s series may be my favorite. The fourth (or 3.5) was very good by others’ standards, but did not seem as exciting. I suspect it was the extra time Martin spent trying to make it perfect, although maybe he had lost the love for the series and the drive to share it.

    No one knows when Martin will finish his fifth book. He cannot even make a schedule, let alone stick to it. Martin has filled his days with numerous other tasks and appears more excited about those than his series.

    Martin is a former union leader and a liberal, as to be expected of union leaders and most artists. However, I have not heard much hatred of BDS on his forums (just normal obvious preference for the liberal point of view on most topics). It would be an interesting hypothesis to correlate the lack of outstanding work (or at least not quite as superior, in theory) with President Bush being elected (emotionally overwhelming poor Martin).

  18. Syd says:

    Pete: I think the fourth book suffered because so many of the major characters (Daenerys and Jon particularly) were off-stage and their stories will be picked up in volume 5.

  19. Gary 7 says:

    I can well understand the obsessive drive to perfection. It’s what makes for excellence. it also drives “normal” people nuts,,,Fortunately, I’m not normal,,,

    I do hope George finishes Ice and Fire before I croak(64 and diabetic), but if not, I guess I’ll just have to reincarnate and read it as a historical document.

    Ah,the Law! That which makes it possible for civilization to accomplish the impossible, ie, build really BIG projects.

  20. Gary 7 says:

    I can well understand the obsessive drive to perfection. It’s what makes for excellence. it also drives “normal” people nuts,,,Fortunately, I’m not normal,,,

    I do hope George finishes Ice and Fire before I croak(64 and diabetic), but if not, I guess I’ll just have to reincarnate and read it as a historical document.

    Ah,the Law! That which makes it possible for civilization to accomplish the impossible, ie, build really BIG projects.

  21. Boiled Leather Smallclothes says:

    Definitely the most interesting interview of Martin I’ve come across. The law angle made for some really interesting comments from Martin on the history/background of Westeros.

    As for the haters above, if you dislike Martin’s politics go read some fiction written by your stalwart conservative brethren.

    Oh that’s right, conservative writers/artists all suck ass. You’d be stuck with Pat Boone, Ted Nugent, Dennis Miller and those Left Behind books to entertain yourselves. I guess I understand why you need us bleedin’ heart liberal commies to entertain your sorry asses.

  22. Do the later books handle the concepts of scale better? The first book doesn’t seem to have a tight handle on it, which made the book unpleasant for me, and I never went on to read more.

  23. Charles says:

    What are you all talking about? A Feast for Crows was the best book yet. The tragedy of Jaime Lannister alone was worthy of a Hugo. The series gets better with each installment, though I’m not really looking forward to all those Danywhatever chapters…

  24. john says:

    I wasn’t planning to read “a feast of crows” until the next book came out because I read that almost none of the major characters would be in it. I was however supprised at how much i enjoyed the book it turned out to be very good. Many people are to stuck on their favourite characters. They shouldn’t be the characters might get killed off at any time just enjoy the great story and all the great characters in it.

  25. Rob Hobart says:

    “Oh that’s right, conservative writers/artists all suck ass. You’d be stuck with Pat Boone, Ted Nugent, Dennis Miller and those Left Behind books to entertain yourselves. I guess I understand why you need us bleedin’ heart liberal commies to entertain your sorry asses.”

    Wow, that’s an astonishingly ill-informed post. Apparently you’ve never heard of S.M. Stirling, John Ringo, Tim Powers, David Weber… or, for that matter, J.R.R. Tolkein.

  26. M R Brusino says:

    Thank you for this!

    I’m currently in the design stage of my own personal fantasy-world, and this has definitely lead to questions that I may not have reached.

    It also interests me greatly to hear GRRM (whom I adore) speak of the history and general design of his own world that we all love.

    I would love to hear more about his world, the steps he took to design it, and things of that nature, but that’s for another forum.

    I do find it humorous that a few of you are in such an uproar over an authors political fervor and affiliations – I seek a fantastic story, I could care less as to what your beliefs are.

  27. Casey says:

    I have read all the books so far and await the next. They are wonderful. And he gets better artists than Jordan gets for his Wheel of Time. I have given copies of “A Game of Thrones” to readers of all kinds and have a permanent lending out copy for people to look at (usually my friends that aren’t into fantasy). I have had to replace it 3 times because either someone moved away with it(2) or lent it to someone else and had to get their own. I hope to see spinoffs of it, with other writers trying on some of the minor characters for size. I hope Martin finishes it. It is starting to have the feel of something that might not get that way….

  28. Angie says:

    His books’ content is hardly unique… His books seem like bunch of pieces of various ideas and stories slapped together. Although, I must say that at least in the beginning it was done well.

    He likes to portray, graphically, sex acts like incest and sex with children. Okay, I understand that at point in time in the world things like that could be happening still there is no need to turn the book into graphical erotica(or perhaps that is what attracts some readers here). Anyone here loved indepth description of Tyrion’s cock?

    He, consistently seems to be taking high ground towards his fan, sometimes bordering on disrespectful.

    There are a number of better authors around, grrm ain’t no master.

    Ohh,.. one more thing… grrm likes to say that his next book is already half done, but then a few years later it appears to be far from finish.

    Don’t start reading this series unless you are willing forever for the following books… wait till the series is complete, then pick it up. As is between his conference trips and working on other books this series is unlikely to ever be truly finished.

  29. Angie says:

    His books’ content is hardly unique… His books seem like bunch of pieces of various ideas and stories slapped together. Although, I must say that at least in the beginning it was done well.

    He likes to portray, graphically, sex acts like incest and sex with children. Okay, I understand that at point in time in the world things like that could be happening still there is no need to turn the book into graphical erotica(or perhaps that is what attracts some readers here). Anyone here loved indepth description of Tyrion’s cock?

    He, consistently seems to be taking high ground towards his fan, sometimes bordering on disrespectful.

    There are a number of better authors around, grrm ain’t no master.

    Ohh,.. one more thing… grrm likes to say that his next book is already half done, but then a few years later it appears to be far from finish.

    Don’t start reading this series unless you are willing forever for the following books… wait till the series is complete, then pick it up. As is between his conference trips and working on other books this series is unlikely to ever be truly finished.

  30. David Williams says:

    GRRM is an excellent writer in the field of epic fantasy. A Song of Ice and Fire remains my favorite fantasy series.

    I’ve heard good things about Daniel Abraham, and David Durham sounds like a great author.

    Other “realistic” fantasy series I would recommend are The Kingkiller Chronicles by Pat Rothfuss. Only the first book, Name of the Wind is out. Name of the Wind is pretty much an upgraded, more mature version of Harry Potter.

    Another great read is the First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie. It has the same dark, gritty realism as Martin’s work, with unheroic protagonists, some more than others. Not as good as ASoIaF, but an excellent read nontheless.

    Abercrombie also wrote a one shot in the same world as First Law called Best Served Cold. Haven’t read it yet, but it’s pretty much a badass Kill Bill type revenge story.