George RR Martin had to convince fans he was ‘not dead’ after mix-up

House of the Dragon: Trailer for brand new series

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In March 2016, acclaimed producer Sir George Martin died at the age of 90 with members of the Beatles breaking the news with tributes on Twitter. Enamoured Game of Thrones fans tragically confused the producer for George RR Martin, who is still alive and celebrates his 74th birthday on September 20. 

In 2016, musical sensations Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Ringo Starr took to social media with tributes to their late producer, who Sir Paul had previously described as a “second father” to him.

Following the highly publicised tributes, fans mistook the man credited with the Beatles’ success for fantasy author George RR Martin. 

The internet buzzed with condolences and concern, eventually garnering the attention of the author himself who had to address his living status on his blog in a post titled: “Not Dead Yet”. 

Martin shared his appreciation for seeing how many people cared “so deeply about my life and death,” but admitted the “rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated”. 

The author shared his condolences for the actual Sir George, noting that although the two had not met he still appreciated the producer’s great efforts in creating the Beatles. 

He said: “As for me, I am still here, still writing, still editing, still going to movies and reading books, and I expect to hang around for quite a while yet, thank you very much. 

“But thank you all for caring.”

At the time, Martin had just passed the original deadline for his sixth book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, which the Game of Thrones series is based upon, leading fans into a frenzy thinking they would never get a conclusion. 

The novel’s publishing deadline had already been pushed back, as the author originally shared that he hoped to have it released before the sixth season of the television series. 

Writing in a blogpost in January 2016, he noted: “Assuming the show would return in early April, that meant The Winds of Winter had to be published before the end of March, at the latest. 

“For that to happen, my publishers told me, they would need the completed manuscript before the end of October. That seemed very do-able to me – in May.”

However, the writer admitted that “distractions of other projects” had gotten in the way of his progress and told fans “you can blame my age”. 

The surprising reaction to the missed book deadline seemed to have an effect on Martin as he refused to make another deadline, simply insisting it would “be done when it’s done”.

Speaking at the Chicago Humanities Festival in 2020, Martin revealed the retaliation he had experienced due to the delay in publishing the final novel: “They will point out to me some other writer and say ‘In the time you’ve been working on Winds of Winter he’s published seven novels’. There are writers who do that and that’s great, I wish I could do that but I can’t.”

The author challenged the audience, saying that if they left after the interview and tweeted that they had seen him “one of the first three responses will be ‘Where’s Winds of Winter? Why isn’t he writing it?’.”

Martin said he is grateful for his large and vibrant fanbase, noting his current situation was still better than “having no one give a damn about when my next book is coming out”.

The best-selling author admitted he knew what that felt like too, as he had been writing novels for over two decades before his A Song of Ice and Fire series started to gain traction. 

He admitted: “It made me famous to a degree that I had never anticipated in my life but this happened to me when I was in my sixties. So it’s changed my life in ways I don’t necessarily love but there things about it that are great.

“It’s given me an understanding of why people like Lindsay Lohan and Justin Bieber go crazy.”

As of 2022 the novel is yet to be published, as Martin stated in July: “I am working on it, I have been working on it, I will continue to work on it.”

In the meantime, fans have received the surprising series House of the Dragon, a prequel to the Game of Thrones storyline which concluded in 2019.

The House of the Dragon was released in August 2022, and takes place 200 years before Game of Thrones, telling the story of the pivotal House Targaryen. 

Public backlash has haunted the Game of Thrones series as fans were incredibly dismayed at the ending, which may have affected the fantasy writer. 

On the day House of the Dragon released, Martin wrote a small tribute on his blog for all those who had worked on the series, noting that “whatever happens from here, my sincere thanks”. 

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