Wednesday 18 September 2019

'Don't forget history', warns Games of Thrones author George RR Martin as he accepts Irish book award

George R.R. Martin, author behind A Game of Thrones, has received The An Post International Recognition Award as part of this years An Post Irish Book Awards. Picture: Patrick Bolger
George R.R. Martin, author behind A Game of Thrones, has received The An Post International Recognition Award as part of this years An Post Irish Book Awards. Picture: Patrick Bolger
'Game of Thrones' actress Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen
George R.R. Martin, author behind A Game of Thrones, has received The An Post International Recognition Award as part of this year’s An Post Irish Book Awards. Picture: Patrick Bolger
Liam Cunningham who plays Sir Davos in ‘Game Of Thrones’. Photo: ©2017 Helen Sloan/HBO

Allison Bray and Aoife Kelly

Game of Thrones author George RR Martin has urged his global legion of fans to not forget history - and said he feared the world was in danger of repeating the mistakes of the past.

The American creator of the hugely popular fantasy book and TV series said he appreciated that readers loved his fantasy writing, but urged people not to “neglect real history.”

He made the comments in a public interview at the GPO in Dublin this evening, where he was awarded the 2019 An Post International Recognition Award for his contribution to fantasy and science fiction writing over the past 40 years.

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George R.R. Martin, author behind A Game of Thrones, has received The An Post International Recognition Award as part of this year’s An Post Irish Book Awards. Picture: Patrick Bolger

 “I’m glad so much of the world has fallen in love with my books and my TV show. But we’re living in perilous times, folks, in the US and UK and I’m sure it’s affecting every part of the world.

"Nothing is ever truer than those who do not know real history are doomed to repeat it."

 “I sometimes wake up at night wondering what precise history we’re about to repeat.

"Being in this building, infused with its enormous sense of history and knowing the men who fought here and the men who died here in the names of having the right to govern themselves and the right to freedom is a very moving experience.

"So thank you so much for bringing me here to this place and for giving me this award. It means a lot."

He said he was delighted to share the award with previous recipients as fellow American writer Bill Bryson, and British writers Jilly Cooper, Jeffrey Archer and comic actor/children’s writer David Walliams.

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David Walliams (Ian West/PA)

The 70-year-old writer revealed he sold his first work - a collection of ‘monster stories’ - to other children in ‘the projects’ in his blue-collar New Jersey neighbourhood for five cents each.

He said he was inspired by comic books as a kid growing up in the 1950s, but was more interested in fantasy and science fiction.

 “Gotham City and Metropolis was OK, but I wanted to go to Pluto,” he said to the invitation-only gathering as part of the An Post Irish Book Awards taking place in November.

His first fantasy novel in the A Song of Fire and Ice series, A Game of Thrones, was published in 1996 and the series has since earned worldwide sales of more than 90 million copies.

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'Game of Thrones' actress Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen

While the Emmy award-winning HBO TV series based on the series wrapped earlier this year, fans are eagerly awaiting the sixth and seventh instalments in the book series.

Maria Dickenson, chairwoman of the An Post Irish Book Awards, said that recipients of the award are authors who have “contributed substantially” to the Irish book trade and who have a “large corpus of popular work behind them”.

“A Song of Ice and Fire has become much more than a landmark series of books. The series has been elevated to the ultimate pantheon of JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis,” she said.

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Liam Cunningham who plays Sir Davos in ‘Game Of Thrones’. Photo: ©2017 Helen Sloan/HBO

“A Game of Thrones is now an iconic artefact of popular culture, a cottage industry, a primer for the conduct of foreign policy among nations, the locus for impassioned debates about the very nature of power and the interplay of good and evil. 

“It looms large in the collective imagination of millions of fans, not least in Ireland, and in particular in Northern Ireland, now known as The Home of Thrones.”

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