Category Archives: Influences

A collection of essays that discuss the different books, poetry and other media that have shown tremendous influence on how George R.R. Martin has written A Song of Ice and Fire.

Bloodraven: Greek God of Sleep

Simply put…

There are an overwhelming number of similarities between Bloodraven and Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep.

Investigating these similarities leads to a couple of interesting ideas:

  1. The similarities are intentional, and suggest an homage by Martin to Virgil’s epic Aeneid.

  2. It further incorporates ideas from other Greek epics and myths.

  3. Finally, the idea leads to some very interesting (and perhaps reaching) speculations about future events, including the god of death, demonic possession and incest.

This essay hopes to be a relaxed stroll through these ideas, hoping not to make any specific claims about what’s truthfully happening in A Song of Ice and Fire. Instead I just want to point out the symmetry and speculations, hopefully something that you’ll enjoy thinking about. Continue reading

Influences: And Seven Times Never Kill Man!

And Seven Times Kill Man! has probably the largest influence on A Song of Ice and Fire of any of Martin’s other works. First published in Analog in 1975, it tells the story of a race of primitive religious pacifists who are largely annihilated by a cult of warlike humans who seek to colonize their planet.

There is so much clear, potent influence on A Song of Ice and Fire it’s practically Martin plagiarizing his own work. Continue reading

Influences: Sandkings

As flies to wanton boys are we to th’ gods.
They kill us for their sport.

— Shakespeare’s King Lear

Sandkings is chock full of potent symbolism that has been reappropriated for A Song of Ice and Fire. First published in Omni in 1979, it tells a rather morbid tale that one would expect to find in a volume of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories: a tale of a man with a strange creature that grows beyond his control whilst driving him to inhuman behaviors.

There are a tremendous number of important elements that Sandkings and ASOIAF share, which provides us great insights into what they might mean for readers. Continue reading

Influences: With Morning Comes Mistfall

“…Man needs to know.”

“Maybe,” Sanders said. “But is that the only thing man needs? I don’t think so. I think he also needs mystery, and poetry, and romance. I think he needs a few unanswered questions, to make him brood and wonder.”
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One of GRRM’s earliest works, With Morning Comes Mistfall was first published in May 1973. It gives us a lot of early insight into the themes and issues that attracted his interest the most.

He seems to be especially concerned with the value of mystery in Mistfall. In particular, he presents a single, thematic conundrum that the reader is left to ponder: Is a mystery sometimes more useful than the truth?

Additionally, the novella introduces a few motifs, symbols and other ideas that can be readily shown to have been transplanted into A Song of Ice and Fire. Continue reading