What George RR Martin Taught Me

For my early formative years of writing (early 2000s), there were only a handful of authors I read heavily:  Robert Jordan, Laurell K. Hamilton, Amanda Quick, Julie Garwood, Johanna Lindsay, and George RR Martin.  Since the Shanhasson trilogy was my first project, you’ll probably see a lot of those influences.

I tried to take everything I loved from epic fantasy… the lushness of romance…and the sultry romps of LKH (before the arduer took over)…and create a world that contained it all.  Political intrigue, worldbuilding, large character casts, sweeping story arcs, epic journeys mixed with emotional relationships and complex erotic situations.  If LKH taught me that one heroine could have many lovers, then George RR Martin taught me…

To kill characters.

I’m so in love with Game of Thrones on HBO and I’m absolutely thrilled that it’s generating such excitement for people who might not have read the series, but seriously, I’m worried about people’s reactions as those beloved characters start dropping like flies. 

Okay, I don’t quite kill as many characters as Martin, but major characters DO die in the Shanhasson series.  If you already read Road, you know that.  But killing characters is a huge no-no in Romancelandia, and since I write a lot of romance and romance-like work, I want to be clear up front.

Return to Shanhasson is NOT a romance.

However, if your heart isn’t singing with joy at the end…and yes, a few tears might spill from your eyes (I cry every time I read it)…then I’ve failed utterly and completely.

To be completely fair, characters might be DEAD but they’re not GONE.  e.g. there are still scenes with the characters who were killed and they’re still important to the story.  They’re simply bound to appear only in Dreams.  So here’s a little twist for you:  if I bring back the beloved characters, then it’s only fair that I bring back the hated ones too, right?  *wicked grin*

Anyway, if you take a look at the Return to Shanhasson page, you’ll seen the following warning:

THIS TRILOGY IS NOT ROMANCE. Bad things happen. Significant characters die. Love is the greatest gift of all, and sometimes requires the greatest sacrifice. However, love shines in the darkest night. The road is long and hard, but when Shannari reaches her destination, she’ll reunite with all her loved ones she’s lost over the years and find more love and happiness than she’s ever known.

Thank you, Mr. Martin.

9 thoughts on “What George RR Martin Taught Me

  1. Don’t get HBO but i’m excited for GOT to be released onto DVD so I can watch it. I also haven’t yet read any of Mr. Martin’s books. I want to expand my reading and his are on the list.

  2. I never got into Martin, but I *try* to kill characters. A major character was supposed to die in Valley, but my editor refused to let that happen and the dog died instead. Dammit. I’m so glad you were able to see your vision come through. {{huggs}}

  3. Oh my…LOL

    I think I warned my friends a thousand times about not getting too attached to the main characters of Game Of Thrones. I remember when I was reading the books that at some point I stopped caring so much and accepted that they’d all be killed off sooner or later lol.

    I’m trying to gather my strength before I can read Return. I’m scared….even though you said it ended well. =P

  4. Stephanie, the books are AWESOME! However, they’re very very long, huge character casts, and it’s been years in between releases. So I decided to wait until the last book is out, and then I’m going to re-read the first three straight through and finish the series.

  5. Wicked Tambo killing characters!! The end of Threads made me sob like a baby and I wanted to beat Dien up. As long as you weren’t going to kill Lars in Valley…

  6. Caroline, totally understand! I’m not nearly as lethal with my characters as Martin. :-) But the ones who die are MAJOR characters. Sobs. But I had to do it. It definitely makes for an emotional reunion at the end.

  7. “a few tears might spill from your eyes” :cough: few? :cough:

    I’ve not read Martin, but have added it to my list. I don’t get HBO so haven’t watched the show, though we had a free weekend for the premiere and it looked great. Of course Jason Momoa doesn’t hurt :mrgreen:

  8. I *never* cry over a TV series however I cried my eyes out last weekend when Ned died. I love that show! However, It’s not usually a genre I’m into reading. Can’t wait to watch last night’s episode, it’s waiting patiently for me in my DVR :-)

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