The Last Kingdom author hasn't "yet forgiven" George R.R. Martin for killing Ned Stark

Authors George R.R. Martin and Bernard Cornwell compliment and tease each other in a lengthy interview about their work, adaptation, and how Sean Bean always dies in everything he's in.
2023 Atlanta Film Festival - Image Film Awards Gala
2023 Atlanta Film Festival - Image Film Awards Gala / Paras Griffin/GettyImages

Do your favorite fantasy authors know each other? In the case of Bernard Cornwell — the writer behind The Last Kingdom, Winter King and Sharpe series — and George R.R. Martin — the guy behind the Song of Ice and Fire series — the answer is yes. The two of them were chatting like old friends on an episode of the Bangcast a couple months back, complimenting and teasing each other.

For instance, at one point in the hour-and-a-half-long interview, Cornwell razzed Martin about killing Ned Stark in A Game of Thrones, which came out way back in 1996. "I'm not sure I've yet forgiven you for killing Ned Stark, but that's your business. Not mine."

This came up while Martin and Cornwell were discussing how Sean Bean, who famously played Ned Stark in Game of Thrones, HBO's adaptation of Martin's books, tends to die onscreen a lot. Although Bean doesn't die in his breakout role as British soldier Richard Sharpe, whom he played in a series based on Cornwell's Sharpe books about the Napaleonic Wars. "He died in my show. He died in Tolkien," Martin said. "There's a YouTube thing where you can see Sean Bean die 25 times. He very frequently dies, but Sharpe does not die."

Both authors were complimentary about the others' work. It sounds like Cornwell has read A Song of Ice and Fire, although you get the idea he might have seen Game of Thrones first. "I love George's books, although I am, I think, somewhat influenced by the TV version," he said. "And I took on a rather ridiculous affection for Cersei."

Hey, you'll get no objections from me about Cersei Lannister being worthy of ridiculous affection. "Yeah, Lena Heady is is an amazing actress," Martin offered.

Game of Thrones - Cersei Lannister /

Author Bernard Cornwell "doesn't want to be involved" in The Winter King show

Martin and Cornwell also got to talking about The Winter King, a new show on MGM+ based on Cornwell's trilogy of novels about King Arthur, The Warlord Chronicles. "How active are you?" Martin asked Cornwell. "How involved in these shows? Do you are you one of the producers on it? Do you help cast it? Do you write scripts?"

Apparently, Cornwell isn't deeply involved. "I'm a cheerleader," he said. "That's it. I don't want to be involved. I mean, the Last Kingdom very nicely offered me a cameo in which I get murdered by my own hero. Probably best to stay away from it."

On the other hand, Martin has been fairly involved in House of the Dragon, a new Game of Thrones prequel show that has a second season airing on HBO this summer. House of the Dragon is based on his book Fire & Blood, and while he's not part of the writing staff or anything, he's consulted with them:

George R.R. Martin: House of the Dragon season 2 is “powerful, emotional, gut-wrenching”. dark. Next. grrm

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