George R.R. Martin has probably already secured his immortality. The Game of Thrones author penned five fantasy tomes (with two more perpetually on their way) that then became a widely acclaimed HBO series—the sort of thing that bends pop culture even for people who haven’t seen it. Game of Thrones has just become part of our shared lexicon, whether it’s appearing in memes, being referenced in politics, or showing up as a cameo in Westworld.
So Martin is probably secure knowing that he’ll be remembered. But like a lot of creators, he apparently couldn’t resist inserting himself into his creation. As the writer revealed in a blog post on his website, as his A Song of Ice and Fire was being turned into the Games of Thrones television series, he had a few shots at a cameo.
His first, from the pilot, ended up on the cutting room floor after reshooting. Then he thought he might appear as a severed head on the wall of the Red Keep. That time budget constraints kept him from being immortalized (dead) onscreen. And finally, he thought he might appear during the Red Wedding—the famously bloody third-season episode.
“I also campaigned to die horribly at the Red Wedding,” Martin writes, “which seemed only fair since I was responsible for it, but it was felt that my presence in that powerful, wrenching, bloody scene might have taken the viewers out of the moment.”
He graciously acknowledges that was the right creative choice, though he does sound a little wistful to have never appeared on the show. Still, as he mentions, it’s not like he’ll have to live on through his books alone. In Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, the esteemed fantasy author appears, utters no lines, and has his head bitten off by a shark. A bloody death, indeed.
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