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George R.R. Martin: “I keep wanting to argue with Professor Tolkien”


Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin has criticised J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings due several questions he has about events after the War of the Ring.

Martin, who has created A Song of Ice and Fire, has previously been on the record saying how fond of The Lord of the Rings he is, but also questioning Aragorn’s tax policies. He returns to that subject in an interview at Trinity College Dublin when receiving Burke Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Discourse through the Arts.

In the interview he states:

Tolkien, of all the authors I mentioned earlier, had an impact on me, but Tolkien is right up there at the top. I yield to no one in my admiration for The Lord of the Rings – I re-read it every few years. It’s one of the great books of the 20th century, but that doesn’t mean that I think it’s perfect. I keep wanting to argue with Professor Tolkien through the years about certain aspects of it.

He did what he wanted to do very brilliantly, I’ve said this before, but… I look at the end and it says Aragorn is the king and he says, ‘And Aragorn ruled wisely and well for 100 years’ or something. It’s easy to write that sentence. But I want to know what was his tax policy, and what did he do when famine struck the land? And what did he do with all those Orcs? A lot of Orcs left over. They weren’t all killed, they ran away into the mountains. Sauron fell down, but you see all the Orcs running away. Did Aragorn carry out a policy of systematic Orc genocide? Did he send his knights out into the hills to kill all the Orcs? Even the little baby Orcs? Or was there Orc rehabilitation going on. Trying to teach the Orcs to be good citizens. And if the Orcs were the result of Elves… could Orcs and Elves intermarry?”

You can see the full interview on YouTube.

About the Author: Shaun Gunner
Shaun is the Chair of The Tolkien Society. Elected in 2013, Shaun regularly speaks about adaptations of Tolkien's works whilst passionately believing the Society needs to reach out to new audiences. In his spare time can be found in the cinema, playing video games and Lego, or on Twitter.