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Is Redemption Possible for Anybody in 'Game of Thrones'

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"ONE OF the things I wanted to explore [with my characters] is the whole issue of redemption. When can we be redeemed? Is redemption even possible? I don't have an answer. But when do we forgive people?...How many good acts make up for a bad act?...I want there to be a possibility of redemption for all of us, because we all do terrible things. We should be able to be forgiven."

That is George R.R. Martin, better known as the man whose books are the basis for HBO's massive hit, Game of Thrones. Martin spoke to Mikal Gilmore of Rolling Stone.

The basis of the 10 hour (yes, 10 hours!) interview was actually -- his books, his characters and how they are being translated for TV consumption. But the author is, as Gilmore put it "loquacious" -- to the nth degree. Martin covers so many subjects -- his own life, politics, history, ancient and modern, Woodrow Wilson, the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The interview takes on an almost breathless quality. How does a man answer a 14 word question with 2,000 words?! Amazing. Does he ever take a breath?

Asked where his imagination comes from, Martin answers: "Ideas are cheap...I'm proud of my work, but I don't know I'd ever claim it's enormously original."

His fans would disagree.

•THIS, Rolling Stone is kind of the Game of Thrones issue. On the cover is Kit Harington, who plays Jon Snow in GOT. What I mostly gleaned from Harington's interview here and also in the latest issue of GQ, is that the actor's hair has become so famous it has its own fan clubs. The actor himself doesn't seem to want to go on about it too much, but those who interview him can't seem to get their minds off the tangled locks that he must maintain for his role. (In both RS and GQ Kit seemed compelled to pull his hair back away from his face, to show how different he looks without his raven halo. This implies he's anxious to look different, in other roles.)

Well, not having read Mr. Martin's books, I don't know Jon Snow's fate, but given the general bloodletting in the fantasy land of Westrous, Harington could be without hair -- or a head! -- at any point.

•AS IF a Netflix series with Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda wasn't good enough news, now comes word that Tate Taylor will direct the series. Don't know the name? Well, he's the guy who helmed a little movie titled The Help -- big box-office, Oscar nominations and wins.

The Tomlin/Fonda series is called Grace and Frankie. It's a 13-episode deal and debuts next year.

It's a good thing I finally signed up for Netflix!

•ALTHOUGH I wasn't much of a fan of Craig Ferguson's late-night sidekicks -- Geoff the skeleton and Secretariat the horse -- I am a great fan of Craig. I'm sorry he's leaving his CBS show. He is the funniest, most original and, I think, sexiest of all the late-night men. Craig has appeared on a few recent episodes of Hot in Cleveland and when I heard the news of his departure I hoped he might be heading toward more acting. It doesn't seem so, from his remarks, but who knows?

I'll miss his hilarious, off-beat monologues. His interview style was breezy and relaxed -- so relaxed at times that both he and his guests would forget to promote whatever the guest was there to promote. But I also had the feeling that a good many who sat on his couch were just there for the laughs and a good time. You can promote a movie anywhere.

Good luck, Craig!

•I TOLD YOU a while back about the latest coming in the incredibly long line of books about Marilyn Monroe. This one is titled Icon: The Life, Times, and Films of Marilyn Monroe by Gary Vitacco-Robles. (Vol 1. 1926-1956) It has arrived.

No great secrets are unearthed -- at this point are there any? -- but using most of the reputable material out there, the author presents Monroe's life in a refreshingly straight-forward manner. This work reminds me of 1968's sensible, sensitive Norma Jean by Fred Lawrence Guiles (Don't blame Fred for misspelling her name -- blame Elton John.)

Not a lot of over-analysis in "Icon" but Vitacco-Robles' points about Marilyn's bleak childhood and how she could not escape it, are valuable in connecting the dots of her adult actions. She went through life as an open wound, and analysis never helped her. (That she eventually found herself working in a process -- The Method -- requiring her to draw on her own past is tragic, almost grotesque. Lee and Paula Strasberg might have meant well, but Monroe would have been better served by Lawrence Olivier's advice to a laboring Dustin Hoffman -- "Why don't you just try acting it?" Olivier's own experience with Monroe was excruciating for him. And for her!)

The author also takes the time to unravel some of the more absurd tales about MM -- she was a call girl, she had 12 abortions, she gave up a baby for adoption, etc. Although, 51 years after her death, many of those tales fuel the legend -- for better or worse.

This book concludes at the pinnacle of Monroe's life and career, in the wake of Bus Stop, The Prince and The Showgirl -- the latter produced by her own company -- and the early months of her marriage to Arthur Miller. It was the point at which it seemed she could indeed "have it all." She could not. So it will be interesting to peruse the second volume, especially as it relates to Monroe's final year -- the Kennedys, etc. Hell, a two-volume book could be written simply on the various conspiracy theories surrounding Marilyn's death. At this point I'm open to: "It was Miss Scarlett in the library with the candlestick!"

It never seems to occur to modern fans and conspiracy buffs that a woman who was chronically depressed and had survived a number of intentional or accidental overdoses, might succumb, eventually, to her depression and her addiction to prescription medication.

Murder most foul is always a better read, I guess.