One Avenger that Stan Lee introduced in Avengers #9 became the key factor that influenced George R.R. Martin to write Game of Thrones the way he did.

george r.r. martin, avenger, game-of-thronesCredits: Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore

It’s hard to find someone who isn’t a fan of the iconic Stan Lee. He’s not just the reason fans get to enjoy those epic superhero movies that tug at every emotion. But it turns out he’s also a huge inspiration behind the cultural phenomenon that is Game of Thrones.


Stan Lee and Joan LeeStan Lee and Joan Lee in X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
Surprisingly, even George R.R. Martin, the mind behind Game of Thrones, is a huge Stan Lee admirer. Thus, Stan Lee’s storytelling abilities had a huge impact on Martin as he crafted his own universe. Here’s how!

George R.R. Martin Is A Huge Stan Lee Fan!

This might come as a surprise, but it’s true, George R.R. Martin, the author of Game of Thrones, is a massive Marvel fan, particularly a Stan Lee fan. The writing style of Stan Lee has always been a profound inspiration for Martin. In fact, his journey into writing began with a fan letter to Lee that was published.
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In an interview with The Independent, the Game of Thrones author openly acknowledged Stan Lee’s revolutionary impact on the comic book genre. He recalled one of his letters, saying,

“‘Dear Stan and Jack, you guys are better than Shakespeare!’”

He then explained how Lee changed everything. Instead of sticking to a two-dimensional storyline and characters, superhero stories evolved by moving beyond a single story arc. They began to progress emotionally and develop their characters in new and profound ways. He explained,

“There were cowboy comic books and there were war comic books, and for the girls there were romance comic books – which I didn’t touch of course! The stories never went anywhere, Superman would be there, and his girlfriend Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen his best friend, Perry White the editor of the Daily Planet, and something would happen. At the end of the story, everything would be exactly the way it was at the beginning of the story, for issue after issue, year after year.” 

George R.R. MartinGeorge R.R. Martin (image: Wikimedia Commons)
He further stated,


“Stan Lee’s writing was so much better than what you’d been getting, things happened. Spider-Man was progressing. It was so refreshing.”

Stan Lee’s writing completely revolutionized the landscape by introducing emotionally complex characters. It wasn’t merely a two-dimensional tale anymore, it went beyond the boundaries of traditional comics. It became more than just a form of entertainment, it became something people could relate to, a story that superheroes truly deserved.

How One Avenger Inspired George R.R. Martin to Write Game of Thrones

In Avengers #9, released back in October 1964, a new Avenger named Wonder Man made his debut, but little did it know that it would end up shaping the Game of Thrones world. Initially portrayed as a villain. However, immediately after that, Wonder Man sacrificed himself for his new friends. This morally complex grey character changed Martin’s perspective as a writer.
“Stan Lee’s writing was so much better”: George R.R. Martin Liked Stan Lee’s Spider-Man Way More Than DC’s Superman Because It Was Refreshing
The lessons he learned from Stan Lee’s storytelling, he still carries with him to this day. He revealed in the same conversation,


“That’s all Stan Lee, and you can see it all over my work! Unexpectedly killing characters, characters who are not what they seem, characters who are partly good and partly bad. Grey characters. You don’t know which way they’re going to jump when the moment of crisis comes. Stan Lee’s fingerprints are all over that.”

Kit Harington as Jon Snow in a scene from Game of ThronesKit Harington as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones
From the gut-wrenching moment when Jon Snow was betrayed by the Night’s Watch to the devastating Red Wedding, where Walder Frey stabbed Robb Stark in the back, Game of Thrones is filled with unforgettable acts of betrayal. Whether it’s the deceitful schemes of characters like Littlefinger or the heartbreaking betrayals within the Stark family, the novel successfully keeps its readers on their toes. Who would have thought fans would have Stan Lee to thank for all of this!

Game of Thrones is available for streaming on Max.