George RR Martin, whose epic fantasy books series Game of Thrones was made into a wildly popular TV show by HBO, posted a video of ravens delivering the invitations to his talk at the 2019 Chicago Humanities Festival. It is, of course, a promo.
In a dramatic montage, the birds can be seen flying off with scrolls in their beaks, perching on tour buses, being captured on CCTV, and even landing in a newsroom. Why ravens, though?
Martin’s writing, including the Game of Thrones books, has always been heavily informed by mythology (where ravens are considered to be highly intelligent birds). Odin, the Norse god of wisdom, poetry and death had a raven perched on his shoulder, providing him with knowledge.
In Greek mythology as well, ravens help humanity. In Edgar Alan Poe’s poem, “The Raven”, the bird is depicted as a mysterious creature, and yet a source of inspiration and self-reflection. Joe Roberrson argues that in Game of Thrones, the decision to make ravens the messengers of the Known World is the work of history buff.
So far social media users are excited about the ravens, but more of them are imploring Martin to complete the book series.