George RR Martin has addressed the lack of gay characters in his Game of Thrones book series.
Unlike the TV series – in which characters Loras Tyrell and Oberyn Martell are regularly shown to be interested in men – in Martin’s original A Song of Ice and Fire novels, male homosexuality is only ever hinted at.
Speaking at the Edinburgh international book festival, the author said that fans often challenge him about the imbalance, given the frequent and descriptive heterosexual sex scenes, and occasional incidental lesbian scenes.
He told the crowd that “limitations” prevent him from including homosexuality, because all his chapters are written from the perspective of central characters, none of whom are gay.
He said: “Frankly, it is the way I prefer to write fiction because that is the way all of us experience life.
“You’re seeing me from your viewpoint, you’re not seeing what someone over here is seeing.
“Will that change? It might. I’ve had letters from fans who want me to present particularly an explicit male sex scene – most of the letters come from women.
“I’m not going to do it just for the sake of doing it. If the plot lends itself to that, if one of my viewpoint characters is in a situation, then I’m not going to shy away from it, but you can’t just insert things because everyone wants to see them.
“It is not a democracy. If it was a democracy, then Joffrey would have died much earlier than he did.”
Kristian Nairn, who plays Hodor on the TV show, came out as gay in March, saying he had been “waiting for someone to ask about” his sexuality.