Public Radio International has published an audio interview between Daily Show comedian/Apple commercial “PC” John Hodgman and George R.R. Martin, author of A Song of Ice and Fire, the book series that begat the HBO hit Game of Thrones. As Hodgman is a famous nerd and fan of comic books, it’s an as-expected thrillingly geeky conversation full of talk of science fiction and conventions and more. Listen here:
JOHN HODGMAN: One thing in the book, which I presume is made out of whole cloth of imagination, is the religions of this world. These are not religions of the primary world that we live in; the world of your novels has several major religions, some minor sects, the continent in which most of the characters spend most of their time have two well developed religious philosophies with a new sect that’s coming to the continent and gaining inroads. I was curious as to – - how does one sit down and create a religion?
GEORGE R.R. MARTIN: The religions are made up religions, in that sense, imaginative religions. I based them on real world religions just tweaking it or expanding it a little. The faith of the Seven is of course based on medieval Catholic church and their central doctrine that there is one god who has seven aspects is partly based on the Catholic belief that there is one God but he has three aspects: Father, Son, Holy Ghost. With the Seven, instead, you have The Father, The Mother, The Maiden, The Crone, The Smith, The Warrior, and a Strangers, who’s the death figure.
That’s the general process for doing fantasy, is you have to root it in reality. Then you play with it a little.