As of two years ago the 70-year-old author has sold over 70 million copies of his A Song of Ice and Fire book series.
Fans of both his written work and the Game of Thrones TV show will have noticed his characters aren’t always so black and white.
It’s no Lord of Rings good vs evil, but a much greyer murkier moral landscape.
So it’s no surprise that he’s revealed the key to writing his villains is not really see them as the baddies.
Speaking on PBS’s The Great American Read, Martin revealed: “I don’t try to write anyone who’s, ‘Oh, I’m a villain. Let me get up today and just go out and do villainy and pull the world [in]to darkness.’”
“They all have grievances. They all have wounds, and they have things that drive them to do the things that they do.”
To Martin writing his characters in this way is actually a reflection of our own humanity.
He added: “We’re all these complicated people, who are capable of doing a heroic act on Tuesday and on Wednesday doing something horrible.”
Game of Thrones: George RR Martin opens up on writing major VILLAINS in ASOIAF books
George RR Martin is currently writing The Winds of Winter
Martin said: “Tolkien’s greatest invention was the characters who struggled with the temptation of the ring and what to do with it.
“They’re all fighting these battles inside their hearts. That can take place anywhere in anytime in any space in all of human history.
“And then Gandalf dies!”
Game of Thrones’ deaths were inspired by Gandalf’s death in The Lord of the Rings
Martin continued: “I can’t explain the impact that had on me at 13. You can’t kill Gandalf. Conan didn’t die in the Conan books, you know?
“Tolkien just broke that rule and I love him forever for it because the minute you kill Gandalf the suspense of everything that follows is a thousand times greater because now anybody could die.
“Of course, that’s had a profound effect on my own willingness to kill characters at the drop of a hat.”