George R.R. Martin is not here for internet trolls.
All eyes have been on the A Song of Ice and Fire author in the wake of Game of Thrones' divisive final season, with many readers clamoring to find out how the series' originator felt about his final "holy s---" moment coming to life on-screen and whether his final two books will present the same ending. And while Martin wasn't ready to dish on either of those subjects this week, he did have a thing or two to say about the landscape of modern fan culture that inspired 1.6 million people to sign a petition to demand a re-do of Game of Thrones Season 8.
In a new podcast interview with critic Leonard Maltin, Martin talked about the impact that fanzines had upon his youthful fandom and how that compares to the internet age, wherein technology has made it easier for people to connect with creators than it was when he was young, but the discourse isn't necessarily better for anyone involved.
"Now, of course, the internet has taken [fanzine culture] up several orders of magnitude," he said. "You can tweet and Facebook, but I don't know if it's an improvement."
Martin, who himself runs a blog and a Twitter feed to keep fans in the loop, said that the pervasiveness of anonymous commenting creates a "coward's way of discourse" for detractors who want to argue online about their various pop culture interests.
"The internet is toxic in a way that the old fanzine culture and the fandom -- the comic fandom and the science-fiction fandom of those days -- was not," said Martin. "I mean, yeah there were disagreements, there were feuds, but nothing like the sort of madness that you see on the internet."
As for his feelings about the final season and those controversial submissions for the upcoming Primetime Emmy Awards? Well, Martin pointed to the "below the line" talent as being the true stars of the show, saying that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss "put together a sensational team" and that while the show has been celebrated for its writing, directing, and acting as well, the vast majority of its trophies were earned by those on the technical side.
So at least we know who he'll be rooting for to make it onto the ballot again this year.
Game of Thrones is available for streaming on HBO.