George R. R. Martin

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They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world. Someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.
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George R. R. Martin

George R. R. Martin (September 20, 1948 - ) American writer


  • "In real life, the hardest aspect of the battle between good and evil is determining which is which."
    • Interview with Infinity Plus, February 2001
  • "Tolkien made the wrong choice when he brought Gandalf back. Screw Gandalf. He had a great death and the characters should have had to go on without him."
    • on a panel at Odyssey Con 2008, April 2008
  • Ten years from now, no one is going to care how quickly the books came out. The only thing that will matter, the only thing anyone will remember, is how good they were. That's my main concern, and always will be.
    • Official blog, July 2007
  • "Art is not a democracy. People don't get to vote on how it ends."
    • Interview with GamePro magazine, 8 April 2003
  • "I've been killing characters my entire career, maybe I'm just a bloody minded bastard, I don't know, (but) when my characters are in danger, I want you to be afraid to turn the page (and to do that) you need to show right from the beginning that you're playing for keeps."
  • "As a writer, my goal, (which I'm never going to achieve, and I know that, and no writer can achieve that,) but my goal is to make you almost live the books... I want you to fall through that page and feel as if these things are happening to you."
  • "There are many different kinds of writers, I like to use the analogy of architects and gardeners. There are some writers who are architects, and they plan everything, they blueprint everything, and they know before the drive the first nail into the first board what the house is going to look like and where all the closets are going to be, where the plumbing is going to run, and everything is figured out on the blueprints before they actually begin any work whatsoever. And then there are gardeners who dig a little hole and drop a seed in and water it with their blood and see what comes up, and sort of shape it. They sort of know what seed they've planted - whether it's an oak or an elm, or a horror story or a science fiction story, but they don't how big it's going to be, or what shape it's going to take. I am much more a gardener than an architect."
Kings have no friends, only subjects and enemies.

A Song of Ice and Fire (1996-)

  • "A knight who remembered his vows."
    • Steely Pate in The Hedge Knight (1998)
    • Describing Duncan the Tall, to explain why the commoners are on his side.
  • "In the name of the Warrior I charge you to be brave. In the name of the Father I charge you to be just. In the name of the Mother I charge you to defend the young and innocent. In the name of the Maid I charge you to protect all women [...]"
    • The Hedge Knight (1998)
    • Start of the knighting ceremony
  • "Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death... I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night's Watch, for this night and all the nights to come."
    • Vow of the Night's Watch
  • "Winter is coming."
    • Words of House Stark
  • "Valar morghulis."
    • A saying in High Valyrian
  • "In a coat of Red or a coat of Gold a lion still has claws. 'And mine are long and sharp, my lord, as long and sharp as yours."
    • A line in the song 'The Reins of Castamere.'
      • A song written about the destruction of house Tarbeck and House Rein brought about by Lord Tywin Lannister.

A Game of Thrones (1996)

  • "Can a man still be brave if he's afraid?"
"That is the only time a man can be brave."
  • Bran & Ned. Bran(I)
  • "A ruler who hides behind paid executioners soon forgets what death is."
    • Lord Eddard Stark. Bran(I)
  • "Generations of capering fools in motley have won me the right to dress badly and say any damn thing that comes into my head."
    • Tyrion. Jon(I)
  • "When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground."
    • Cersei Lannister in Chapter 48, Eddard (XII)
  • "The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are."
    • Ser Jorah Mormont in Chapter 23, Daenerys (III)
    • Context: Daenerys claims the commoners are praying for her to return and claim her rightful throne.
  • "I beg to differ. Death is so terribly final, while life is full of possibilities."
    • Tyrion Lannister in Chapter 9, Tyrion (II)
    • Context: After Bran's fall Jaime says the merciful thing would be to kill him.

A Clash of Kings (1998)

  • Prince Tommen was not so obedient. "I'm supposed to ride against the straw man."
"Not today" [Joffrey said].
"But I want to ride!"
"I don't care what you want."
"Mother said I could ride."
"She said," Princess Myrcella agreed.
"Mother said," mocked the king. "Don't be childish."
"We're children," Myrcella declared haughtily. "We're supposed to be childish."
The Hound laughed. "She has you there."
  • Sansa (I)
  • "Tell me, Bronn. If I told you to kill a babe . . . an infant girl, say, still at her mother's breast . . . would you do it? Without question?"
"Without question? No." The sellsword rubbed thumb and forefinger together. "I'd ask how much."
  • Tyrion and Bronn, Tyrion (II)
  • (a confrontation concerning someone bound for the Night's Watch)
"I'll have the boy."
"You'll have no one," Yoren said stubbornly. "There's laws on such things."
The gold cloak drew a shortsword. "Here's your law."
Yoren looked at the blade. "That's no law, just a sword. Happens I got one too."
  • Arya (III)
  • Kings have no friends, only subjects and enemies.
    • Stannis Baratheon (Catelyn III)
  • "There are no men like me. There's only me."
    • Jaime Lannister in Chapter 56, Catelyn (VII)
  • "So many vows . . . they make you swear and swear. Defend the king. Obey the king. Keep his secrets. Do his bidding. Your life for his. But obey your father. Love your sister. Protect the innocent. Defend the weak. Respect the gods. Obey the laws. It's too much. No matter what you do, you're forsaking one vow or the other."
    • Jaime Lannister in Chapter 56, Catelyn (VII)
  • "I've never lain with another woman but Cersei. In my own way I've been truer than your Ned ever was. Poor old dead Ned. So who has shit for honor now, I ask you? What was the name of that bastard he fathered?"

"Brienne" "No, that wasn't it. Snow, that was the one, such a white the pretty little cloaks they give us in the Kingsguard, when we swear our pretty little oaths."

    • Chapter 56, Catelyn (VII)
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A Storm of Swords (2000)

  • "You'll wear your Chains, Kingslayer"

"You figure you'll row all the way to king's Landing, Wench."

"You will call me Brienne, not Wench."

"My name is Ser Jaime. Not Kingslayer."

"Do you deny you slew a king?"

"No. Do you deny your sex? If so unlace those breaches and show me. I'd ask you to open you bodice but from the look of you that wouldn't prove much"

    • Jaime (I)
  • "You know nothing, Jon Snow."
    • Ygritte
  • "Another name? Oh, certainly. And when the Faceless Men come to kill me, I'll say, 'No, you have the wrong man, I'm a different dwarf with a hideous facial scar.'"

Both Lannisters laughed at the absurdity of it all.

    • Tyrion to Jaime

A Feast for Crows (2005)

  • "The war of the Ninepenny Kings?" [asked Hyle Hunt.]

"So they called it, though I never saw a king, nor earned a penny. It was a war though. That it was."

    • Brienne
  • "I fear what little law and order left to us by the five kings will not survive the three Queens."
    • Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish