August MacGregor

Celebrating Sensuality. Intended for mature audiences, 18 and over

George R.R. Martin on Plot Twists and Interesting Characters


I’m really excited for the new season of Game of Thrones starting today! Admittedly, I have not read one word of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books, but I have been captivated by the TV series based on the books that’s on HBO. The series is spectacular in its intricacies of plot, action, and characters. Many, many times I’ve been surprised by what happens (hello, “Red Wedding” episode from last season). Sure, it’s difficult to keep up with what’s going on. And I also don’t catch every nuance—there are times I have to go back and see an episode again. But it’s thrilling for not knowing what’s going to happen next. Much different than other TV shows out there that are fun their first season, and then simply follow that pattern that made them successful, and then grow boring.

I ran across an interview of George R.R. Martin on in which he addresses surprises in books, as well as interesting characters:

“Nothing bores me more than books where you read two pages and you know exactly how it’s going to come out. I want twists and turns that surprise me, characters that have a difficult time and that I don’t know if they’re going to live or die.”

“I like gray characters, fantasy for too long has been focused on very stereotypical heroes and villains,” Martin said.

“And when I look around, I don’t see pure white shining heroes and absolutely black villains, I see a lot of flawed human beings who have it in them to be heroes or villains; it’s a matter of the choices that they make in crucial periods in their lives, in moments of stress and emotional turmoil.” [Quote from]

Which reminds me of the huge array of characters in Game of Thrones, some of which are actually still alive and haven’t been beheaded or shot by arrows or had their throats slit or … you get the idea. The last part of the quote rings especially true when I think about the story: the characters are put into dire situations, and they are forced to make decisions that have a great deal of consequences. We’ve seen characters promise one thing, change their mind, and then havoc results. The story has been an epic journey to follow these amazing characters in this fantasy world.

Martin’s quote also brings to mind other characters, like Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Marty Hart (Woody Harrelson) in the first season of True Detective, which wrapped up recently. Both were very flawed guys who were trying to make sense of a fucked-up world. Cohle especially was an interesting character—I can’t think of another character so philosophically affected by what he’s experienced. This was a show that kept me guessing and delivered with a story that worked well. Great characters and suspense, with a satisfying ending. Many shows try to throw too many twists and turns with an attempt to puzzle you, but that puzzle ends up like a jumbled ball of string that’s just confusing.

Another TV character that springs to mind is Fiona Gallagher (Emmy Rossum) in the Shameless series on Showtime—another show that definitely keeps me guessing on what the hell’s gonna happen next. Her character during this season in particular has shown flaws. In past seasons, we’ve seen this character work her butt off to take care of her brothers and sister. But now, her responsibility is cracking, and she’s having fun in that Gallagher way. But certainly paying the price for it. Lots of added drama from a character previously seen as more stable than others on the show. A nice plot move, in my humble opinion.

As for book characters, Martin’s quote made me think of Lisbeth Salander in the Girl with a Dragon Tattoo series. These books were written by Stieg Larsson, who died way too soon because the guy could seriously put a good yarn together, and he had a powerful cause in speaking out to denounce violence against women. His three books had plenty of mystery and action to hurl the story forward. In the midst of it was Salander, a character who suffered violence early in life and was formed by it, and then came back at the perpetrators with a brilliant mind. An intriguing character with a lot of depth.

Martin’s quote—and these examples of characters that have stuck with me—challenge me to write characters with depth in my stories. I’m sure there will be times in my erotic fiction that are flat, cardboard characters because I want to zoom in on the sexy action. You know, get right to the hot stuff. But there are other times where I want to add more depth. For example, in my “Opening Day” story, I had the husband (Justin) dealing with being laid off from his job, and how his wife (Michelle) helped him. I could’ve simply written a story about a married couple getting busy on the couch while watching a baseball game on TV, but I liked putting in some more substance than that.

Now, back to dreaming of dragons and wondering what will happen next on Game of Thrones… because, Tyrion, the wait is almost over.

One last thing: I discovered a great video over at that condenses down seasons 1-3 of The Game of Thrones in a hilarious way. It’s from the Honest TV Trailer series by the Screen Junkies, and it’s a funny mash-up of clips around the main characters, nicknames for all those supporting characters, and yes, a montage of boobs (with nipples covered by black bars to make them more PG-13)—something the show has been criticized for showing lots of. But I’m not complaining.


Author: augustmacgregor

I'm a writer of erotica and romantic fiction.

6 thoughts on “George R.R. Martin on Plot Twists and Interesting Characters

  1. I have always found it ironic that the most popular media celebrates “Violence Towards Men” even as our Two faced Society continues to deplore “Violence Towards Women”. All the while encouraging women to become violent towards their intimate partners by celebrating those that do as hero’s while laughing at their victims – for example Sharon Osborne leading her audience on a popular morning program aimed at women in laughing at a male who had been sexually mutilated by his intimate partner because he had asked her for a divorce.


    • I haven’t picked up on this trend of celebrating violence toward men. I didn’t see the TV show with Sharon Osborne with the approving reaction to the woman who attacked her husband because he asked for a divorce — but that is horrific. The act and the idea of laughing at such a violent act. I would hope reactions would be the same for violence against men or women — for violence is only justified in defending yourself.


      • I have been aware of the issue of Domestic Violence and other social issues for a very long time – ever since they began impacting my life at nine years of age and have had a negative impact on both my life as an adult and my marriage.

        Unfortunately our society worships violence and those who dispense it in socially approved ways – this is why our media is saturated with violence. Applauded when it is aimed at men – who are considered disposable – only condemned when it is aimed at women even when they deserve it.

        What most men are unaware of is that the laws concerning Domestic Violence were intentionally – with both malice and forethought – written and are enforced in a manner; that allows any woman to falsely claim that they fear their intimate partner and he will be removed by law enforcement officers from his home with nothing but the clothes upon his back and permanently banished from his children’s lives. If he is not outright beaten or shot to death at the hands of those sworn to protect the general public as has all to often been the case.

        A good place to start researching these issues is A Voice for Men – if you are interested.


      • DaPoet, I’m very sorry about you being impacted by domestic violence as a child, as well as an adult. I do agree that violence is prevalent in media; it seems that violent acts on TV shows now would have made people’s faces turn white twenty years ago. But now, those acts are considered fine on mainstream TV. Those acts used to be done off camera, or with a minimum of bloodshed. Now, however, there is gore aplenty. It’s a sad trend. Thank you for your comment, and for the link to the website of A Voice for Men. I will go check it out.


  2. God I love this show


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