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George R. R. Martin says Gandalf's death inspired his own thirst for blood

Photo: Kevin Winter (Getty Images)

You’re probably bored by now of fantasy authors touting the impact of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings series, but it’s worth hearing Game Of Thrones author George R.R. Martin riff on it, as he’s very likely the author’s truest successor. In a new interview with PBS—in conjunction with the network’s upcoming The Great American Read competition series—Martin speaks of how his own taste for bloodshed owes entirely to Tolkien’s work.

Sure, Tolkien wasn’t known for picking off characters with abandon, but he did have the guts to off the godlike Gandalf The Grey, a turn of events that, Martin reveals, blew apart the teenage mind that would one day give us The Red Wedding, Ned’s beheading, and Joffrey’s purple-ass face. “I can’t explain the impact that had on me at 13,” Martin says.

We also see Martin’s collection of miniatures, which he very sweetly says he “wrote stories about as a kid.” It’s not as impressive as Guillermo del Toro’s, but then, what is?

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About the author

Randall Colburn

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.