'Game of Thrones' Season 3 Characters and Scoop From Creator George R.R. Martin

It's hard to believe that HBO's "Game of Thrones" has only been on the air for two seasons; it feels as though we've been living with the show for much longer.

Of course, the creator of the "Game of Thrones" book series, George R.R. Martin, has been conjuring the world of Westeros for more than two decades. The first book in the series came out 16 years ago, so the long-standing attachment many people have to that world isn't too odd. But there's no denying that the HBO show, which debuted in 2011, brought Martin's saga to a much wider audience.

Why is that saga so resonant, on screen or on the page? What is it about the novels and the TV show that make those Medieval-esque fantasy worlds so compelling to people who live in societies that appear to be very different? What techniques and strategies does Martin use to bring us very deeply into the worlds of his characters, who have inspired fierce loyalty and a million message board debates?

On September 1, Martin was asked dozens of questions like these at a 70-minute panel discussion at Chicon7, the World Science Fiction Convention, which was held in Chicago this year. At the panel consisting of myself, Martin and Peter Sagal (host of NPR's "Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me"), Martin discussed the themes of his "A Song of Ice and Fire" book saga, the challenges of making the TV show and the nitty-gritty of his approach to fiction writing.

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