"Winter is coming," these are the words of house Stark, the ruling house in the North until house Bolton usurped the seat. It was also the title of the premiere episode of "Game of Thrones," the HBO TV series based on George R.R. Martin's book series, "A Song of Ice and Fire".
The memorable enigmatic line have stuck to the minds of many, even those that haven't read the books or watched the show. So how did George R.R. Martin come up with it?
The story behind the motto was elaborately explained by the author when he returned to his alma mater, Northwestern University, to receive a Hall of Achievement alumni recognition awarded by the Medill School of Journalism. Martin notes that he coined the words during a winter 48 years ago.
"The coldest winter was in Chicago. There was so much snow that winter, you couldn't see, all snow, all ice, and it was so very cold," explains the author. "I remember walking through the trenches and the tunnels of ice, the wind blowing so you couldn't even see. It's an experience that never left me."
The winter that Martin talked about was one that struck northeast Illinois and northwest Indiana in January 26, 1967. Branded as the Chicago Blizzard of 1967, it is considered as the worst blizzard in Chicago's history. Taking these details into account, we now know the reason why house Stark went through what it did, causing its members to be scattered in the winds. But before you engulf yourself in melancholy, bear in mind that Chicago was rebuilt.
Furthermore, the ASOIAF author disclosed that aside from popular history, he crafts his writings based on his and his friends' experiences, such as the winter of 1967.
"The battle between good and evil is fought within the individual human heart every day and every year," elaborates the famed writer. "People who do noble and heroic things on Tuesday may do something vile and selfish on Wednesday. That's what I try to get at."
The revelations made put into question if George R.R. Martin has a bald friend with a gash between his legs. Then again, Varys is quite unique.