CONAN: The show is, you need to be dedicated.
There are so many characters.
There are so many houses.
There are so many branches.
There are so many plot twists.
This actually comes in quite useful.
I used this because it tells me who is who and sometimes I need to refer to it.
I have this tattooed on my low back.
GEORGE R. R. MARTIN: That's good, that's good.
CONAN: Worst place to tattoo it.
Anyway, I have heard, it's one thing if you're watching the show and need to keep it straight.
Do you ever have trouble keeping it all straight as the guy who is writing this?
GEORGE R. R. MARTIN: Occasionally, yes.
I have a guy in Sweden that I call, not one of Alexander's nude polar bear writers, but he is actually an American fan who lives in Sweden and they run the website.
They know the world better than I do.
Occasionally when I'm stuck on something, I call them up and say what color eyes did this guy have?
Was that his nephew or cousin?
He has it all.
CONAN: He can tell you right away?
GEORGE R. R. MARTIN: That's right.
CONAN: You made mistakes that these fans have caught, is that right?
Over the books, there are inconsistencies?
GEORGE R. R. MARTIN: I'm terrible with eye color.
Some had blue eyes and then green eyes.
Fans noticed this, I get tons of letters.
A horse changed sex between the first book and the second book.
I'm not good with horses.
CONAN: That happens.
CONAN: You are writing book six out of seven, is that correct?
GEORGE R. R. MARTIN: The winds of winter.
1,500-page gigantic monster like the last one.
CONAN: Do you know how it all ends?
Is it still up in the air?
GEORGE R. R. MARTIN: I know how it all ends.
ANDY: Get him, boys!
GEORGE R. R. MARTIN: In broad strokes, I know how it all ends.
I discover a certain amount of it as it goes.
There is no guarantee that the show will end the same way.
I mean, David and Dan who script the show have been known to make changes including in the red wedding.
I already had a scene that many people considered extremely brutal and as bad as anything and they turned it up to 11 by including even more deaths than I had in the books.
There are at least four characters who are dead in the TV show who are alive in the books still.
Hopefully it will end the same way in the TV show as it does in the books.
Meanwhile, I'm writing very fast because my great fear is that David and Dan will catch up with me.
CONAN: I would think.
You're getting closer and closer to where they'll need the new material.
GEORGE R. R. MARTIN: It took me six years to do the last book and they do a season a year.
They're moving like a freight train.
CONAN: I have to ask you, the biggest surprise to me about all of this is you have this fantastic imagination you have created this exotic multidimensional world.
Just watching the show at first, I thought this writer, George R.R. Martin, he must be from a small island off Norway.
I'm just imagining you coming from this completely other world and you're from Bayonne, North Carolina.
What about growing up there brought you to this world?
Was there anything about your childhood?
GEORGE R. R. MARTIN: It was imagination.
I come from a blue collar family.
My father was a long shoreman.
We lived in the projects on first street there which has a deep water channel in front of it, it's the connection between the bays and Staten Island across the way.
We didn't have much money.
We didn't even own a car.
My world was five blocks long.
We lived on administrative street, I went to school on first street.
I read books and watched television and film.
I would watch the big ships with all of the flags of different countries of the world and lights of Staten Island across the way where we never even went and wondering what exotic mysteries and wonders lurked on Staten Island.
Would I ever see them.
CONAN: That is your concept of what Staten Island is?
CONAN: That's fantastic!
GEORGE R. R. MARTIN: I did finally get to Staten Island and I have to say it was kind of disappointing.