George RR Martin has called out the “anti-fans” who delight in pillorying underperforming films, books or TV shows.
Writing on his personal blog on 29 January, the prolific Game of Thrones author and screenwriter reflected on 2023, calling it “a nightmare of a year”.
“I take solace where I can,” Martin, 75, said. “In chocolate thrones, if nowhere else. In books. In films and television shows… though even there, toxicity is growing.
“The era of rational discourse seems to have ended,” he lamented, adding that it “used to be fun talking about our favourite books and films, and having spirited debates with fans who saw things different”.
“But somehow in this age of social media, it is no longer enough to say, ‘I did not like book X or film Y, and here’s why’,” he continued.
“Now social media is ruled by anti-fans who would rather talk about the stuff they hate than the stuff they love, and delight in dancing on the graves of anyone whose film has flopped… It is all so sad.”
Looking ahead to the new year, he said: “Unfortunately, so far 2024 looks to be even worse.
“There is war everywhere. Ukraine and Gaza dominate the news, but there is a war in Myanmar as well that our western media just ignores, things are heating up in Yemen and the Red Sea, North Korea has nukes and is testing missiles and rattling sabres, Venezuela is threatening to annex three quarters of neighboring Guyana.”
This isn’t the first time Martin has reacted to “toxic” fan culture. In a 2022 interview with The Independent, he expressed confusion about “how people can come to hate so much something that they once loved”.
“If you don’t like a show, don’t watch it! How has everything become so toxic?” the author said.
In December, Martin confirmed his involvement with House of the Dragon, the prequel series to HBO’s juggernaut Game of Thrones adaptation, based on his bestselling book series.
That same month, he was given an exclusive preview of the first two episodes of the show’s second season. “Powerful, emotional, gut-wrenching, heart-rending,” he told fans of the forthcoming installment.
Season two of House of the Dragon is expected to be released sometime this summer.