Photo: Neilson Barnard (Getty Images)

We have to assume it’s kind of tiring to be George R.R. Martin, a man who’s spent the last several decades of his life pushing a boulder called A Song Of Ice And Fire up a hill called “Dear God, I’m going to be writing this thing until I’m fucking 80.” That fatigue is presumably not helped by the fact that the boulder is really all anybody wants to talk to him about, too: “When’s the next part of the boulder coming out?” “What do you think about the boulder’s TV adaptation?” “If you die before you’re done pushing the boulder, do you think it’ll squish your body as it rolls back down the hill?” It’s gotta be exhausting for the poor guy: Why can’t someone just ask him about his fun little hats for once, instead?

Well, that day has finally come, as The New York Times ran an interview with Martin this week in which its staffers hit him with a wide variety of questions. But while he was happy to talk about where he gets his hats (“Many places. Many places”), what TV he likes to watch (a reader-depressingly vast amount of stuff, including The Deuce, Better Call Saul, and The Big Bang Theory), and how often he grooms his beard (“Every few weeks”), Martin was uncharacteristically unwilling to get into the gory details about his actual work. He fielded a few questions about ASOIAF, mostly stuff he’s said before (the books are based on the historical War Of The Roses, Joffrey is the character most like Donald Trump), but responded to a vast array of questions with a simple, somewhat infuriating “Pass.”

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Admittedly, some of these questions were kind of lame— “What real-world celebrities map to Thrones characters?” and “What geo-political insights can the story teach?” both got waved off—but Martin seemingly got less and less willing to field inquiries as the interview went on. “If you could go back and not kill off one character, who would it be and why?” was an easy “Pass,” apparently, as was “What plot point do you most regret?” By the end, he was passing halfway through questions, and ended by firing back at a couple of inquiries about plot specifics with “Read the books,” which is the sort of thing that might make less rational people snap back with, “Stop giggling at goddamn Sheldon Cooper and write the books, then, god damn it.” But, then, that’s the sort of attitude that lets the boulder win, right?