George R.R. Martin, Stephen Colbert
Screenshot: The Late Show

When noted self-proclaimed fantasy geek Stephen Colbert gets someone connected to one of his favorite imaginary worlds on The Late Show, it’s like watching a kid on Christmas. So the evening before Thanksgiving was a perfect time for Colbert to welcome Game Of Thrones granddaddy George R.R. Martin, there to plug his new book—no, not that new book—Fire & Blood. Colbert, hefting the 700-page tome, marveled at Martin’s description of his “imaginary history” of the world of his A Song Of Fire And Ice novels, asking incredulously, “This is the first half!?”

Yep. In what seems like a delightfully lucrative literary goof on those fans gnashing their teeth waiting for Martin to finish the longer-than-long-gestating sixth entry in the series proper, The Winds Of Winter, the author has written what he terms “his Silmarillion.” Referring to his and Colbert’s hero J.R.R. Tolkien’s infamously abstruse catalogue of the pre-The Hobbit history of his sprawling fantasy universe, Martin said Fire & Blood provides centuries of backstory to the events of his own universally beloved saga of backstabbing, sibling-sexing, throne-gaming, all in the form of one maester’s copious research into Westeros’ primary source material. (All the way back to Aegon the Conqueror, for all you Targaryen-heads out there.) Including, Martin told Colbert impishly, an infamous tome of “Westeros erotica” called A Caution For Young Girls. Noting that his own entry into Tolkien was hindered initially by the British author’s signature prudery when it comes to matters of sex (where are the female dwarves, anyway?), Martin told Colbert sadly, “There is no porn in Middle Earth.”

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Raised as he was on other fantasy hero Robert E. Howard’s fantasy hero Conan the Barbarian (and the accompanying Frank Frazetta “Conan on a pile of corpses fighting a huge snake with a scantily clad lady at his feet” covers), clearly Martin has spent much of his career rectifying that one tiny flaw. Still, laying out all the projects he’s got cooking in addition to the desperately awaited The Winds Of Winter (including a second entire volume of Westeros pre-history), the 70-year-old author told Colbert sheepishly, “I should actually get home and get to work, I guess.” Seriously.