George R.R. Martin is one of the 100 most influential people in the worldAccording to Time Magazine, George R.R. Martin, scribe of the enormously popular A Song of Ice and Fire, is one of the 100 most influential people on the planet.

Here’s what they had to say about Martin:

I had two missions last summer. One was to watch The Wire because I was tired of admitting I hadn’t seen it. The other was to read George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones.

The experiences turned out to be surprisingly similar. Both kidnapped me to intimately drawn worlds with stories of a grim conflict and characters so achingly human that you end up rooting, tragically, for both sides. And neither one has dragons in it — at least, not at first. Martin, 62, is as fine a researcher as he is a storyteller, and he packs in enough miserable fact about the meanness of medieval life that it occasionally echoes Baltimore in its harshness.

With HBO’s adaptation and Martin’s long-awaited fifth book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series about to be published, my endorsement isn’t necessary. But I’ll still feel compelled, like all those fans of The Wire, to pull you aside and tell you that Tyrion Lannister is the best character in fiction since Stringer Bell and that if you have not read these books, you should be ashamed of yourself.

Also included on the list?

  • Arianna Huffington, co-founder of The Huffington Post
  • Hamada Ben Amor, a 21-year-old musician whose song helped spur the political uprising in Tunisia
  • Mark Zuckerberg, (co?)founder of Facebook
  • William and Kate Middleton, the royal couple©
  • and… Jusint Bieber.

The list itself is chock full of everything from sport stars to media moguls to political activists and leaders to authors (Martin’s not the only one, Jonathan Franzen, author of Freedom is also mentioned among others). It’s a list that both identifies and (in some cases) celebrates those people who have had a significant cultural, political or societal impact on the world in the past several months and will continue to do so in the future.

Martin’s inclusion on the list is, of course, wonderful news for fans of genre fiction. The inclusion of an author like Franzen is expected, for he’s a critical darling and taking nine years to write a follow-up to a modern classic (sound familiar?) sure gives your fans and the general public to get literary blue-balls, but the inclusion of a Fantasy author like Martin is another weight added to the scales slowly tipping in favour of the genre. Sure, he’s there more on the strength of his recently-debuted television series than his long-running series of novels, but if the anecdotal evidence provided by my blog stats are any indication (on Monday, the day after the premiere of Game of Thrones aired, nine of the top ten most-viewed articles on my blog related to Martin, his books or the television series), his star is going to rise quickly and his already large audience will grow even bigger.

Like him or not, Martin’s about to find the overnight success that he’s worked so bloody hard for these past 35-or-so-years, and his inclusion on the list is just. Congrats, Mr. Martin.

  • Raphael April 26, 2011 at 8:34 am

    Still, his lack of regular releases disturbs me. You could say it is a sign of unprofessionalism, but that would assume he has no good reason for being slow. In the end, I rather a read a good book later than a sloppy book sooner.