• Tue. Jun 18th, 2024
House of the Dragon, Radio Westeros, Game of Thrones

When it comes to fandoms few are as passionate as the thousands upon thousands of readers that continue to be drawn to George R.R. Martin’s work. Even among passionate fantasy fanbases, ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ devotees are a dedicated bunch. Long after the ending of the series’ HBO adaptation, they remain, united by a love for a series that has transformed so many lives for the best. 

The podcast Radio Westeros is just one example of how Martin’s fans have kept the flame burning. Hosted by Jen and Matt, known as Lady Gwynhyfvar and Yolkboy respectively, the platform has become a haven for fans. For nearly a decade they’ve offered fans detailed analyses, stirring readings, and a positive atmosphere that keeps them coming back for more.

“We met on the Westeros forums in about 2013 and we both were contributing analyses, wacky theories, that sort of thing. We hit it off and eventually decided that we wanted to funnel our energy into something. I suggested a podcast, she agreed, and in 2014 our first episode came out,” Yolkboy told The Clarion. 

Photo from radiowesteros.com

Those that have not read the books or seen the show may find their dedication odd. But anyone familiar with Martin’s style of writing most definitely does not. Lady Gwynhyfvar cites his attention to detail and penchant for embedding mysteries into his work as major reasons that have kept readers devoted all these years. 

“There’s such richness to the material. The way George lays out mysteries is much more than your typical fantasy, there’s mysteries everywhere so part of the fun is in trying to solve them. Because it’s unfinished there’s also room to speculate on what will happen next in the book we thought was going to come out within a year or two of us starting the podcast,” she said.

Both found their way to online communities for the same reason: a lack of people in their local community they could deeply converse with about the series. It’s had a massive effect on their lives to say the least. 

“When we started out it was about season two or three of the show. It was just starting to snowball into this phenomenon. There was a really thriving community of like minded people that wanted to explore, indulge discourse, and share theories all in a community setting where you’re making friends and so on,” Yolkboy explained. 

Thanks to the series the two would go from meeting on westeros.org to being happily married. 

“We’ve been to conventions and given talks, done panels, and stuff. The online community became a real-life community for a lot of people. There’s been a lot of marriages, many friendships, and relationships that have endured beyond the shows ending,” Yolkboy said. 

Joe Magician is another ASOIAF content creator that has built lasting friendships and a dedicated following based on a mutual love for one of the most epic fantasy sagas of all time. Like many he started on the ASOIAF subreddit looking to escape a boring job by trading posts with other fans. Going from a moderator known for detailed essays to a YouTuber has taken him further than he imagined. 

“I love deep dives, picking a topic and learning everything I can about it. And ASOIAF is strange in that I can never find the point where I’m tired of it or there’s not more to go into. For someone like me that’s so rewarding,” Joe Magician said.

At nearly 10 million views his YouTube channel continues to grow. It’s thanks to a community that enjoys his livestreams, listens to his podcasts, and interacts with him in the positive environment he’s created. 

“There are so many different characters, so many different POVs, so many things you can dig your teeth into it sort of ends where you find yourself in the books. You find different characters who are like you in different ways,” Joe Magician added. 

Like Joe Magician, Yolkboy finds himself drawn to Sam the Slayer. Lady Gwynhyfvar , on the other hand, is a firm supporter of House Stark, Catelyn, and Brienne. 

“I love reading Jaime, not necessarily Jaime Lannister but I love his chapters. And I love Tyrion for the same reason. I think with Tyrion we get the closest to George’s mind. Samwell too. I think the two of them are the two sides of George’s personality so they’re both quite enjoyable,” she said. 

Just as vivid are the tapestries Martin has woven for his characters to operate in. Duels, court scenes, and executions are just the tip of the iceberg on Planetos. 

“If I could say anything to him it would be ‘thank you, George.’ I have a wife and a family because of what you’ve done.” 

– Yolkboy

“I’ve read it many times now but thinking back to when I first read it and I was reading what the show hadn’t covered. I remember reading the Oberyn vs Gregor showdown and I remember just being wrecked, I couldn’t believe what I was reading. It was so twisty, so devastating, and so awesome at the same time. From one sentence to the next there were massive shifts of emotion in my heart,” Yolkboy said. 

While she cites the Trial by Seven in The Hedge Knight as probably her favorite in the series, Brienne’s stand against Rorge and Biter includes her favorite line. 

“I think ‘No chance and no choice’ was incredible because I’m a sucker for selflessness,” she explained.

For his part, Joe Magician doesn’t have to look far to find his favorite scene. He need only flip open the first page of book one. 

Photo credit Ollie Upton, HBO

“That whole first chapter was just amazing but the thing that was really compelling about it is the way George strings you along. Waymar dies, one of them makes it back, but then everybody just ignores it. It’s like, you guys are fighting over all this stuff, there’s House politics, is no one going to pay attention to the ice zombies? Contrasting Waymar dying with the Starks getting the direwolves creates sort of the perfect opening for people to get into,” he said.

The trio and many millions around the world have waited patiently for Martin’s next instalment in the mainline series. No one could have predicted the wait following the release of “A Dance With Dragons” in July 2011 would last this long. Yet Martin’s readers are, for the most part, an understanding bunch. But that doesn’t mean some of the negativity and abuse the writer has been subjected to goes unnoticed by them. 

“I find it incredibly sad to think about George seeing this endless parade of comments about the winds of winter whenever he posts anything remotely off topic. ‘How dare you talk about football, why aren’t you writing?’ I find it very sad for him and I find it disrespectful,” said Lady Gwynhyfvar. 

As Lady Gwynhyfvar explained, some fans have developed a strong sense of ownership over the series because they have invested so much into it. 

She said, “But look, we don’t own it, we’re just borrowing it, but we aren’t entitled to what George hasn’t given us. And the book will come out when it comes.” 

Until it does, there’s still plenty of characters to analyze and scenes to dissect. 

“There’s about 24 different POVs in ASOIAF. Although we think of it as this one overarching story it’s really these 24-ish novellas stitched together into one whole,” said Joe Magician. “I’ve done something around eight hours on the Blackwoods and they aren’t even in the show.” 

Not to mention the plethora of other writers that have been strongly influenced by Martin. Many authors cite his example in helping them learn to put their characters through hell for the entertainment of readers. In Yolkboy’s words, it’s the tragedy of the Red Wedding and Ned’s execution that has kept people hooked. 

“The idea that nobody is safe may sound cliché but at the time you didn’t have your main character die in the first book of a series then do the same thing to his son. It was just audacious,” said Yolkboy

For that reason and more, when ‘The Winds of Winter’ comes out the author will have millions of readers touched by his work eager to support him like they always have. 

“If I could say anything to him it would be ‘thank you, George.’ I have a wife and a family because of what you’ve done,” said Yolkboy. 

It’s a statement Lady Gwynhyfvar and many others share. 

“I’d tell him thank you but would also say ‘don’t let the trolls or negativity get you down because the vast majority of your fans are here and we’re happy to take it as it comes. And we will. When that book comes out we will read it as eagerly as we did ‘A Dance With Dragons’. End of story,” she said.

(Featured Image from

Ismael David Mujahid, Executive Editor

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