Long entretien avec George RR Martin, en particulier sur sa façon de déjouer les attentes du lecteur (pour le dire poliment).
– You have very strong reversals and you keep the reader off balance. You might think you’re in Sword in the Stone territory early on — you can see the book it might become, with Bran as the hero, but then it’s like a con game between you and the reader.
– I think you write what you want to read. I’ve been a reader, a voracious reader, since I was a kid in Bayonne. “George with his nose in a book,” they always called me. So I’ve read a lot of stories in my life, and some have affected me very deeply; others I forget five minutes after I put ‘em down. One of the things I’ve come to really appreciate is a kind of unpredictability in my fiction. There’s nothing that bores me quicker than a book that just seems, I know exactly where this book is going. You’ve read them, too. You open a new book and you read the first chapter, maybe the first two chapters, and you don’t even have to read the rest of it. You can see exactly where it’s going. I think I got some of that when I was growing up and we were watching TV. My mother would always predict where the plots were going, whether it was I Love Lucy or something like that. “Well, this is going to happen,” she would say. And, sure enough, it would happen! And nothing was more delightful, when something different happened, when it suddenly took a twist. As long as the twist was justified. You can’t just arbitrarily throw in twists and turns that make no sense. Things have to follow. You want the thing in the end where you say, “Oh my God, I didn’t see that coming, but there was foreshadowing; there was a hint of it here, there was a hint of it there. I should have seen it coming.” And that, to me, is very satisfying. I look for that in the fiction that I read and I try to put it into my own fiction.
– Like with Bran getting pushed, you foreshadow that, too, so the reader doesn’t feel cheated. Same with the Red Wedding.
There’s always this tension between fiction and life. Fiction has more structure than life does. But we have to hide the structure. We have to hide the writer, I think, and make a story seem like it was true. Too many stories are too structured and too familiar. The way we read, the way we watch television, the way we go to movies, all give us certain expectations of how a story is going to go. Even for reasons that are totally unconnected with the actual story itself. You go to a movie, who’s the big star? O.K., if Tom Cruise is the star, Tom Cruise is not going to die in the first scene, you know? ‘Cause he’s the star! He’s got to go through. Or you’re watching a TV show and its name is Castle. You know that the character Castle is pretty safe. He’s gonna be there next week, too, and the week after.
You shouldn’t know that, ideally. The emotional involvement would be greater if somehow we could get past that. So that’s what I try to do, you know? Bran is the first of the major characters you meet, after the prologue. So you think, “Oh, O.K., this is Bran’s story, Bran’s gonna be a hero here.” And then: Whoops! What just happened to Bran there? Immediately, you’re changing the rules. And, hopefully, from that point, the reader is a little uncertain. “I don’t know who’s safe in this movie.” And I love that, when people say to me, “I never know who’s safe in the books. I can never relax.” I want that in my books. And I want that in the books I read, too. I want to feel that anything can happen. Alfred Hitchcock was one of the first ones to do that, most famously in Psycho. You start watching Psycho and you think she’s the heroine. Right? You followed her all the way. She can’t die in the shower!
– Were there writers that you read as a kid, or shows that you watched, that did that kind of thing? The Twilight Zone did it.
The Twilight Zone was famous for its twist endings. Twist endings are hard to do. I worked on the revived Twilight Zone in the mid-eighties, and the network was constantly on us, saying, “You have to have more twist endings!” And what we discovered is, it’s a lot harder to do a twist ending in 1987 than it is to do a twist ending in 1959. The audience has seen tens of thousands of more shows, and they’ve gotten far more sophisticated. We tried to remake some of the classic Twilight Zones, like Anne Francis is a mannequin coming into a store in the original, and we tried to remake that. Three minutes into it, they say, “She’s a mannequin.” Ha ha ha ha! Or the one where the woman has an operation. She’s supposedly hideously ugly and she’s having an operation to make her beautiful. But if you notice how they film that, you never see anyone’s face. You just see her with her bandages. And, of course, they take it off, and she’s incredibly beautiful, and everybody reacts with horror – and you see that they’re all idiot pig people! Well, the minute you remake that, the modern audience says, “They’re not showing us anyone’s faces.” So, trick endings are harder to do. The audience is increasingly sophisticated and wary of such things.