George R.R. Martin addresses lack of gay sex in 'Game of Thrones' books

Asked about the absence of gay sex scenes so far, the writer explains that his "viewpoint characters" aren't gay. He also tells stories of how his teachers tried to stop him from reading sci-fi.

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Writer George R.R. Martin of "Game of Thrones" signs autographs at Comic-Con in San Diego last month. Tiffany Rose/Getty Images

I understand that most people watch the HBO series "Game Of Thrones" for its copious and brutal acts of violence and for its regular bouts of carnal exercise.

It's noticeable, however, that this carnal exercise has explicitly been of the heterosexual variety in George R.R. Martin's books, though that's not the case on the TV show adapted from the novels. Why might this be?

Martin was asked this very question at the Edinburgh International Book Festival only last night.

As the Guardian reports, he explained that the voices of his books come from "viewpoint characters."

"Frankly, it is the way I prefer to write fiction because that is the way all of us experience life. You're seeing me from your viewpoint, you're not seeing what someone over here is seeing," he said.

However, this makes the books far more rigid in structure than TV. For him, because none of the viewpoint characters is gay, there hasn't been the opportunity for gay sex.

He still has two books to write. Might that mean a broader carnal viewpoint would be accommodated?

He said: "It might. I've had letters from fans who want me to present particularly an explicit male sex scene -- most of the letters come from women."

While I leave you to ponder the genesis of that logic, I'll tell you that Martin isn't keen simply to create sex scenes for the sake of them (something HBO has no qualms about at all).

"You can't just insert things because everyone wants to see them," he said. "It is not a democracy. If it was a democracy, then Joffrey would have died much earlier than he did."

Some lament that Joffrey isn't still around. Surely there was so much more he could have wrought in his young, tempestuous life, at the physical and emotional levels.

Martin also told the audience that his teachers used to take sci-fi books by authors such as Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov away from him, pleading with him to lift his tastes to a higher plane.

He said he was told: "You're a smart kid, you get good grades. Why are you reading this trash? They rot your mind. You should be reading 'Silas Marner.'"

Organized education's pernicious influence has turned so many lives. Instead of reading tales of a weaver, Martin weaved far more wondrous tales that have captivated many.

What might he have become if he'd listened to his teachers? Yet another novelist telling tales of unrequited modern love? Yet another poet offering stanzas of frustration and songs of woe?

Instead, he's given us gore galore and sex unbounded.

Sometimes, things just work out.

 

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