When we spoke with Game of Thrones and Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin before the second season of his hit HBO series began, he was especially excited about season two’s penultimate episode. Now that it’s almost upon us (the episode, called “Blackwater,” premieres Sunday at 9:00 p.m. on HBO), find out what Martin himself has to say about the major turning point in Thrones’ “War of the Five Kings.”
SmarterTravel: You wrote the screenplay for the central set piece in season two, the Battle of the Blackwater. One of my favorite parts of the whole sequence in the books is the trap that Tyrion springs involving a giant chain boom, which reminds me of a similar tactic employed in the real-world battle of Constantinople centuries ago.
GRRM: That certainly was one of the inspirations. Chain booms have been used a number of times in history and in battles for various purposes. So, that was part of the inspiration. Of course, there’s different ways you can use a boom like that. You can raise it early on to close off the harbor—or the river in this case—so ships actually can’t get in. But that wasn’t Tyrion’s plan. What Tyrion wanted to do was to lure in as much of Stannis’ fleet as he could, and then raise the chain so they couldn’t get back out when he unleashed the wildfire on them.
Wildfire, of course, is my magical version of Greek fire—to go back to the Constantinople reference. And once again, fantasy is bigger, so wildfire is Greek fire times 10. It’s Greek fire but it’s worse than Greek fire, and it’s got a little magical element to it. It’s really nasty stuff, and it burns with green flames, which is a nice pyrotechnical effect. Not sure we’ll get that into the show, but I’ll look forward to seeing it. I hope they do.
Read the full interview, in which Martin also makes his most revealing comments yet about what to expect in the upcoming sixth book, The Winds of Winter, by clicking the link below.