A Song of Ice and Fire fandom

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Two fans costumed as Khal Drogo and Daenerys Targaryen. Cosplay is a popular activity at fan conventions.

The A Song of Ice and Fire fandom is an international and informal community of people drawn together by George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire book series, the HBO television series Game of Thrones, and the related merchandise.

History[edit]

During his years in television, Martin's novels slowly earned him a reputation in fiction circles,[1] although he said to only receive a few fans letters a year in the pre-internet days.[2] The publication of A Game of Thrones caused Martin's following to grow, with fan sites springing up and a Trekkie-like society of followers evolving that meet regularly.[1] By 2005, Martin received tons of fan e-mails and was about 2000 letters behind that may go unanswered for years.[2]

Westeros.org[edit]

Linda Antonsson, Elio M. García and George R.R. Martin in 2015.

Sweden-based fans Elio M. García Jr. and Linda Antonsson run one of the main Ice and Fire fansites, Westeros.org, which they established in 1999. The site had about 17 thousand registered members in 2012. Martin himself has checked with García (whom The New Yorker dubbed a "superfan" with encyclopedic knowledge of Martin's works) to confirm details of his own series, and has referred HBO researchers to García as well.[3][4]

The very first fan website and messageboard (as recounted by Garcia, Antonsson, and Martin) was a site called "Dragonstone", which only lasted for about one year between the release of the first novel in 1996, and when the site crashed in 1997, never to be rebuilt. The creator of "Dragonstone" moved on, however, several of the earliest online fans who had met on the site (Elio Garcia among them) coalesced again to create Westeros.org.[5]

Though his work at Westeros.org is voluntary, García has been a paid consultant for licensed tie-in merchandise.[3] García and Antonsson are Martin's coauthors of a companion book to the series, The World of Ice & Fire (2014).[3][6][7][8][9][10][11] Martin had approached the pair about the project in 2008.[7]

Brotherhood Without Banners[edit]

The Brotherhood Without Banners is an unofficial fan club operating globally.[3] George R. R. Martin attends their gatherings on his travels and counts their founders and other longtime members among his good friends.[3]

Game of Thrones[edit]

Since the creation of the television series in 2011 there has been a proliferation in the number of fansites dedicated to the show and novel series.[12] These include 'WatchersOnTheWall.com' which provides news reports, reviews and discussion forums, 'ToweroftheHand.com', which organizes communal readings of the novels, and 'Fleabottom.net', an online discussion forum. In addition to these there is further discussion on more general sites, such as Reddit, and tumblr, where there are many fan-created blogs.

Moreover, there are also many podcasts covering the series.[13] These podcasts, such as 'Game of Owns', and 'A Podcast of Ice and Fire' provide discussions of each book chapters, and each episode in the television series, as well as discussing the current theories in the fandom.

GRRuMblers[edit]

"After all, as some of you like to point out in your emails, I am sixty years old and fat, and you don't want me to 'pull a Robert Jordan' on you and deny you your book. Okay, I've got the message. You don't want me doing anything except A Song of Ice and Fire. Ever. (Well, maybe it's okay if I take a leak once in a while?)
—George R. R. Martin on his blog in 2009[14]

While Martin calls the majority of his fans "great", and enjoys interacting with them,[15] some of them turned against him due to the six years it took to release A Dance with Dragons.[3] A movement of disaffected fans called GRRuMblers formed in 2009, creating sites such as Finish the Book, George and Is Winter Coming?.[3][16] It is not uncommon for Martin to be mobbed at book signings either.[1] The New Yorker called this "an astonishing amount of effort to devote to denouncing the author of books one professes to love. Few contemporary authors can claim to have inspired such passion."[3]

When fans' vocal impatience for A Dance with Dragons peaked in 2009, Martin issued an angry statement called "To My Detractors"[14] on his blog to stem a rising tide of anger.[17] Author Neil Gaiman backed Martin on his own blog, replying to a fan's inquiry about Martin's tardiness that "George R. R. Martin is not your bitch."[3][18] Martin sees it a right to withdraw anytime and enjoy his leisure times as he chooses.[15] Martin believes of himself as being bound by an informal contract with his readers; he feels that he owes them his best work. He does not, however, believe that this gives them the right to dictate the particulars of his creative process or to complain about how he manages his time. As far as the detractors are concerned, Martin's contract with them was for a story, their engagement with it offered on the understanding that he would provide them with a satisfying conclusion.[3]

Interaction with the author[edit]

Martin is committed to nurturing his audience, no matter how vast it gets.[3] Starting out as a fan himself, he visited his first convention in 1971 after selling his first story.[19] Since there are different types of conventions nowadays, Martin tends to go to three or four science-fiction conventions a year simply to go back to his roots and meet friends,[19] such as the Brotherhood Without Banners.[3] His fan mail occasionally includes photos of children and pets named after his characters,[1] which Martin displays on his website.[20] He also administers a lively blog with the assistance of Ty Franck.[3] Martin does not read message boards anymore, so as not influence his writing by fans foreseeing twists and interpreting characters differently from how he intended.[19]

Celebrity fans[edit]

The series has a devoted global following of people from a range of backgrounds.

Celebrity fans include former U.S. president Barack Obama,[21][22] former British prime minister David Cameron,[23] Australian prime minister Julia Gillard[24][25] and Dutch foreign minister Frans Timmermans, who framed European politics in quotes from Martin's novels in a 2013 speech.[26] Other fans includes singer Zara Larsson, Adam Lambert, and Scott Ian from the metal band Anthrax, with the later one having read books, stated that he likes the show better, saying that it's very rarely that a TV show or a movie is better than the source material.[27]

Other celebrity fans include actors Laurence Fishburne, Richard Dreyfuss, June Squibb, Amanda Peet, Zach Braff, Patton Oswalt, Elijah Wood, Mindy Kaling, Dax Shepard, Kristen Bell, Elizabeth Banks, Anna Kendrick, Kerry Washington, Dylan McDermott and Jennifer Lawrence.[28][29][30] Singer/songwriters T-Pain, Kelly Clarkson, Snoop Dogg, Ed Sheeran, Madonna and Joe Jonas, and comedians Kevin Smith, Seth Rogen, Aziz Ansari.[29] Blake Lively and her husband Ryan Reynolds are also both fans of the show.[31][30]

Author Stephen King is also a fan of the series.[30] Jay-Z and Beyonce are both fans of the show, while Jay-Z once bought dragon eggs for his wife Beyonce.[32] In 2017, Prince William and Kate Middleton also said that they watch the show.[33]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d La Gorce, Tammy (March 12, 2006). "Books: Dreaming of Places Far, Far From Bayonne". nytimes.com. Archived from the original on April 19, 2012. Retrieved February 6, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Interview: George Martin". Deep Magic. 41: 19–21. 2005. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Miller, Laura (April 11, 2011). "Just Write It! A fantasy author and his impatient fans". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on April 4, 2012. Retrieved April 23, 2010. 
  4. ^ Martin, George R. R. (October 27, 2014). "George R. R. Martin: The World of Ice and Fire (Video)" (Interview). Interview with Laura Miller. New York. Retrieved November 9, 2014. 
  5. ^ History of the Board, Westeros.org, posted February 2008.
  6. ^ Lough, Chris (October 29, 2014). "19 Strange Things Hiding in The World of Ice and Fire". Tor Books. Retrieved October 31, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Blistein, Jon (October 28, 2014). "George R.R. Martin Admits His Dragons Couldn't Beat Tolkien's Smaug in a Fight". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 1, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Check Out Dragonstone and Other Art Pieces From The World of Ice & Fire". Tor Books. October 30, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2014. 
  9. ^ Collins, Sean T. (November 3, 2014). "10 Craziest Things We Learned From World of Ice & Fire". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  10. ^ Bradley, Bill (October 27, 2014). "Here's What Westeros Really Looks Like, According To George R.R. Martin". The Huffington Post. Retrieved November 1, 2014. 
  11. ^ Farley, Christopher John (October 30, 2014). "George R.R. Martin Writes a Big Ice and Fire History". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 1, 2014. 
  12. ^ "The 25 Most Devoted Fan Bases". Vulture. October 15, 2012. Retrieved October 17, 2012. 
  13. ^ Nguyen, Nicole (May 3, 2013). "In the Game of Thrones, These Podcasts Play to Win". Geeksugar. Retrieved May 4, 2013. 
  14. ^ a b Martin, George R. R. (February 19, 2009). "To My Detractors". grrm.livejournal.com. Archived from the original on July 21, 2011. Retrieved October 18, 2011. 
  15. ^ a b Hibberd, James (July 12, 2011). "EW interview: George R.R. Martin talks A Dance With Dragons". ew.com. Archived from the original on April 4, 2012. Retrieved January 21, 2012. 
  16. ^ Barber, John (July 11, 2011). "George R.R. Martin: At the top of his Game (of Thrones)". theglobeandmail.com. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved August 18, 2011. 
  17. ^ Flood, Alison (February 10, 2010). "Excitement as George RR Martin announces he's 1,200 pages into new book". guardian.co.uk. Archived from the original on April 19, 2012. Retrieved January 21, 2012. 
  18. ^ Gaiman, Neil (May 12, 2009). "Entitlement issues.." neilgaiman.com. Archived from the original on April 19, 2012. Retrieved February 7, 2012. 
  19. ^ a b c Ryan, Maureen (April 29, 2010). "George R. R. Martin talks Game of Thrones as the HBO show's 'Daenerys' departs". chicagotribune.com. Archived from the original on April 19, 2012. Retrieved February 2, 2012. 
  20. ^ Smith, Dinitia (December 12, 2005). "A Fantasy Realm Too Vile For Hobbits". nytimes.com. Archived from the original on April 4, 2012. Retrieved January 21, 2012. 
  21. ^ Shear, Michael (December 29, 2013). "Obama's TV Picks". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 21, 2016. Retrieved December 29, 2013. 
  22. ^ Ghahremani, Tanya (December 30, 2013). "President Obama 'Really Likes' Game of Thrones, In Case You Were Wondering". Complex. Archived from the original on January 5, 2014. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  23. ^ Armstrong, Victoria (April 7, 2015). "David Cameron admits he is a 'Throney' and 'huge fan' on Game of Thrones studio tour". Daily Express. Retrieved April 10, 2015. 
  24. ^ Taylor, Lenore (May 30, 2013). "Julia Gillard reveals Game of Thrones addiction". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on July 16, 2013. Retrieved May 30, 2013. 
  25. ^ Gillard, Julia (April 7, 2014). "Game of Thrones has parallels with my time as Australian prime minister". The Guardian. Archived from the original on April 26, 2016. Retrieved April 7, 2014. 
  26. ^ Luoma, Sarah (May 31, 2013). "Dutch foreign minister uses 'Game of Thrones' as political analogy". Digital Spy. Retrieved November 2, 2016. 
  27. ^ "Game Season: Why These Famous Fans Love 'Game Of Thrones'". NME. April 22, 2016. Archived from the original on August 21, 2016. Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  28. ^ "'Game Of Thrones' Cast Reveals Biggest Celebrity Fans". Access Hollywood. March 19, 2014. Archived from the original on August 21, 2016. Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  29. ^ a b Renfro, Kim (April 29, 2016). "15 celebrities who are obsessed with 'Game of Thrones'". Business Insider. Archived from the original on August 21, 2016. Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  30. ^ a b c Dionne, Zach (September 20, 2016). "25 Famous 'Game of Thrones' Fans: Madonna, Obama, Snoop Dogg & More". Fuse. Archived from the original on August 21, 2016. Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  31. ^ Malkin, Marc (April 14, 2015). "Ryan Reynolds Obsessed With Game of Thrones: It Caused Tough Time In Our Marriage, Jokes Blake Lively". E!. Archived from the original on August 21, 2016. Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  32. ^ Brown, Laura (May 11, 2015). "Emilia Clarke Is BAZAAR's June/July Cover Girl". Harper's Bazaar. Archived from the original on August 21, 2016. Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  33. ^ Webber, Stephanie (April 24, 2017). "Prince William, Duchess Kate's Night in Means Curry and 'Game of Thrones'". Us Weekly. Archived from the original on May 21, 2017. Retrieved May 30, 2017.