George R.R. Martin Knows Fans Think Game Of Thrones Is ‘Gratuitous.’ He Has A One-Word Response

 Sophie Turner in Game of Thrones.
Sophie Turner in Game of Thrones.

Even if you never watched a single second of Game of Thrones, you probably know at least one thing about it, and that’s that the hit fantasy was a lot. It was a lot of drama, murder, crossing and double crossing. The show also featured a lot of blood (obviously), undead killing machines, villains, and (probably even more obviously) sex. Well, the author of the source material, George R.R. Martin, knows that many fans think his popular book series is “gratuitous,” but he has a great one-word response for those people.

What Did George R.R. Martin Say To Fans Who Think Game Of Thrones Is ‘Gratuitous’?

When the HBO mega-hit, Game of Thrones, wrapped its eight-season run in 2019, it was already pretty clear that fans would basically never be able to fully stop talking about the best moments or all the things we disliked about GOT Season 8, especially in that highly contested series finale. The creators even came out recently and admitted they get asked about Thrones now, five years after it ended, so it’s kinda still top of mind for a lot of people.

The Official Game of Thrones Cookbook was just released, and in his foreword, George R.R. Martin opened up about why there is so much food in his books and how all of his descriptions for pretty much everything have been labeled “gratuitous” by many, saying:

There is a lot of food in my novels. Everything from wedding feasts with seventy-seven courses to that horse’s heart that Daenerys Targaryen wolfed down. Too much food, certain critics are wont to complain. The word they like to trot out is gratuitous. Uncalled for, unnecessary, unwarranted, just too damn much. My great big fat novels would not be nearly so big and fat if only I would cut out all the gratuitous feasting, the gratuitous violence, the gratuitous heraldry, and of course the gratuitous sex (that is usually the biggest complaint).

I can reveal here that I’ve never read any of the writer’s GOT books, so I had no idea that his descriptions of the feasts and other food-related things was something that annoyed readers. The TV series never spent too much time on that, likely because, as he notes later, it “did not advance the plot” and there just wasn’t the space for such things on the show. Though, as he also mentioned, the “gratuitous sex” stepped in easily for getting the “biggest complaint” when it came to the show, with one actor even having to clarify her comments about filming the sex scenes being a “frenzied mess.”

So, what does Mr. Martin have to say to all who feel his desire to thoroughly describe everything is way too much? Get ready:

To which I say, ‘pfui.’

LOL. I mean, you gotta love it, right? Listen, the man who has been promising to deliver Winds of Winter for well over a decade is not beholden to your word limits or anything else when it comes to his epic fantasy novels, OK? His foreword continues, and says that he believes fiction should be about “the journey” and “not the destination.” For readers to “live” his stories they have to “taste the food” (And…have the sex, I guess? Murder the people? He may not have fully thought this through…) so they can be completely immersed in the world he created.

If readers are really that uninterested in all of his food talk, I think they would have simply stopped reading his work by now, but they haven’t. So, clearly he’s doing something right.