George R.R. Martin Has Been Sneaking Famous Names into His Books for Years

Did you know NFL great Phil Simms shows up in the Game of Thrones series? Or that Harry Potter himself makes an appearance? What about the land of Carcosa?

This article is from the archive of our partner .

Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin will write two real-life people into an upcoming book in the hugely-popular fantasy series, and that's not the first time a modern person has made his way into Westeros. For instance, did you know NFL great Phil Simms shows up in the fifth book of the series, A Dance with Dragons? Or that Harry Potter himself makes an appearance? What about the land of Carcosa?

On Wednesday, Facebook employee Dave Goldblatt donated $20,000 to a wolf sanctuary being promoted by Martin, winning him the right to be named and then killed in a future A Song of Ice and Fire book. But a character going by Dave of House Goldblatt could create a strange contrast on the pages, particularly for a world full of names like Daenerys, Eddard, and Sansa. So how will his name be incorporated smoothly? "I have no idea," Goldblatt told ABC News when asked that question. "You’re going to have to ask George about that."

Judging by his past writing, Martin has a way with sneakily hiding famous people and names into his books. The good people of Ice and Fire Wikia compiled a list of modern references to famed authors, books, and characters that appear throughout the series. Here's a rundown of some of the more notable ones.

Harry Potter

Later in the series, lady knight Brienne of Tarth tells of how two male knights named Harry Sawyer and Robin Potter made a bet to see who could win over Brienne first. She was not amused, and so beat up both in a melee. "She had ridden over Harry Sawyer and broken Robin Potter’s helm, giving him a nasty scar," Martin writes. A Potter with a forehead scar; sounds familiar, no?


True Detective fans will get a kick out of this reference. In the map-filled 2012 book The Lands of Ice and Fire — distinct from Martin's five novels but still part of the larger A Song of Ice and Fire canon — one location in the very far East shows a legendary city with the name Carcosa. Wired picked up on that reference in April, and you can see an image of the map there.

Carcosa was the name for a mysterious land that was used by horror authors Robert Chambers and H.P. Lovecraft in their works, and was recently revitalized on another stellar HBO show True Detective. Martin is the ultimate hipster, as he was making references to Carcosa before it was cool.

Phil Simms

In the far North in the fifth book, readers are introduced to a giant named Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun, who goes by Wun Wun. That giant then brutally kills a man named Ser Patrek of King's Mountain, whose sigil is blue five-pointed star on a silver and white field.

Look closer and you can see the whole death as an analogy for Martin's NFL fandom. Say Wun Wun out loud and you'll get "one one," or as it's better known, the number 11. Phil Simms was number 11 when he played for the New York Giants in the 80s and 90s. Look, too, at the sigil of Ser Patrek, a silver and blue five-pointed star. That's the logo of the Dallas Cowboys, the Giants' rival.

Martin, a Giants fan, put this fight into the books after he lost a bet with a Cowboys-rooting friend named Patrick St. Dennis, he explained on NPR. "So I invented a character called Ser Patrek of King's Mountain and described his heraldry as looking somewhat like the heraldry of the Dallas Cowboys ... . And then I had him ripped apart by a giant." What a lucky friend.

Robert Jordan

The Wheel of Time epic fantasy author is brought up in A Storm of Swords when Tyrion Lannister discusses a great lord of Dorne named Trebor Jordayne of the Tor. Trebor = Robert backwards. The Tor = the name of Jordan's book publishing house. The Jordayne sigil was, appropriately, a writing quill.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.