“Game of Thrones” and “A Song of Ice and Fire” author George R.R. Martin says internet fan culture is “toxic.”
In a wide-ranging, 90-minute interview on film critic Leonard Maltin’s “Maltin on Movies” podcast, Martin discussed his nostalgia for the early days of fan culture, when he was publishing a fanzine on a typewriter. Both Maltin and Martin got their start in the world of fanzines, which they credit with helping them get in touch with other like-minded people in the pre-internet era.
“Going all the way back then to my beginnings, I was a comic book fan,” Martin said on the podcast, which Maltin co-hosts with his daughter, Jessie. “That was the fandom I was involved in, writing superhero stories for little comic fanzines.”
“Now you can Tweet and Facebook, but I don’t know that’s an improvement! The internet is toxic in a way that old fanzine culture and fandoms … in those days, was not,” Martin said. “There were disagreements. There were feuds, but nothing like the madness that you see on the internet.”
The comments come after the eighth and final season of “Game of Thrones” was lambasted by fans who thought the show’s conclusion was a rushed and ineffective ending to Martin’s decades-long story.
But if fans had such a strong reaction to the finale, it’s only a reflection of the show’s culture-defining success. It’s a success Martin says he couldn’t hope to repeat with the long-gestating prequel series at HBO, or with any of his other projects.
“The scale of ‘Game of Thrones’s’ success … reaching all over the world and invading the culture, it’s not something anyone could ever anticipate,” Martin said. “[It’s] not something I expect to ever experience again.”
“Kindergarten teachers are going to hate me, with the “a” and the “y,” when all these little Daeneryses start hitting school,” Martin said, laughing.