When it was announced yesterday that George Martin – the music producer dubbed the Fifth Beatle by Paul McCartney – had died, music fans across the world expressed their sadness. For some fantasy fans, however, the response was shock and dismay. Due to a combination of not knowing who Martin was and not reading their Twitter feeds with due care and attention, rumours started to circulate that it was George R R Martin, the author of the Song of Ice and Fire series (adapted for TV as Game of Thrones), who had died.
The very much alive Martin quickly took to his blog, paraphrasing Mark Twain by confirming that rumours of his death had been “exaggerated” and he was “not dead yet”. He also took the step of reassuring fans that he was still working on his The Winds of Winter, which is the overdue sixth instalment in the popular fantasy series. “I am still here, still writing, still editing, still going to movies and reading books, and I expect to hang around for quite a while yet, thank you very much. But thank you all for caring”, he wrote.
Martin also took the time to praise the work of his namesake, saying that he was a big fan of The Beatles and was sad to hear of the producer’s passing. The two never met, although the author did note that he once briefly encountered Paul McCartney outside a hotel whilst waiting for his car.
Game of Thrones has been a huge success since it débuted five seasons ago, and a sixth season is imminent, with a trailer appearing last week. Due to the delay in publication of the latest instalment, the series has already progressed further than the source material, meaning that for the first time, even avid readers of Martin’s work will not know what is coming. Other than winter, of course. We all know winter is coming.