‘Game of Thrones’ Creator George R.R. Martin Is 1 of the Richest Authors Ever. Here’s How Much He’s Worth.

George R.R. Martin wearing a cap and glasses, and smiling

George R.R. Martin | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Even his biggest fans love to hate George R.R. Martin. This famous American novelist and producer is the brains behind Game of Thrones, a massively popular book series and one of the highest-performing HBO shows of all time.

So why do his fans still shake their heads at the eccentric author? For one thing, he takes his sweet time writing each book, and no amount of demanding it can get him to write faster. He’s been called, “the American Tolkien,” by Time magazine and was also named one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2011. As for those impatient fans wondering what’s going to happen to Arya Stark next — they’ll just have to wait. It took him six years to write A Dance With Dragons, the fifth out of seven planned books in the series, and he makes no apologies for the delay.

Still, fans can’t stop buying his books. His insane net worth proves that.

Martin came from humble beginnings

Before he became one of the best-known authors of all time, George R.R. Martin was just a boy from Bayonne, New Jersey. He was born on September 20, 1948, to a longshoreman father and a mom who stayed home with him and his two sisters, Darleen and Janet.

Martin had an interest in travel from a young age and began escaping to far off destinations using the power of his imagination. He was a voracious reader and also a huge fan of Marvel comics. He graduated summa cum laude from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Illinois, and went on to complete a master of science in journalism the following year.

Martin used to struggle to make ends meet

Unsurprisingly, Martin didn’t find fame right away. He started out his career as a part-time writer, chess instructor, and journalism professor at Clarke University. He reportedly “wasn’t making enough money to stay alive” doing those things.

The death of a friend forced Martin to reevaluate his own life and that’s when he decided to start writing full time. He began selling science fiction short stories in 1971 when he was 21. In 1991, he published the beginning of his epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire. The first book of the series, A Game of Thrones, was published in 1996. Subsequent books in the series achieved New York Times bestseller status. HBO purchased the television rights for the entire series in 2007.

In other words, George R.R. Martin wasn’t struggling to pay the bills anymore.

He’s one of the most successful authors of all time

Martin’s net worth is estimated at $65 million and earns about $15 million per year. He’s not the number one highest paid author — that honor goes to James Patterson, who has dominated the industry since 2001 with an estimated net worth of $95 million. Authors Jeff Kinney, J.K. Rowling, John Grisham, Stephen King, Danielle Steele, Nora Roberts, and E.L. James also made the list.

Martin manages to keep it real

Despite his enormous financial success, Martin remains extremely down to earth and humble. He still lives in a modest home in New Mexico and drives an old model Mazda RX7. He’s willing to talk to fans, but he prefers not to discuss the show because at this point he’s sick of repeatedly answering the same questions.

Read more: George R.R. Martin Has Never Gotten Over This Major ‘Game of Thrones’ Change

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