TIME Magazine default image

Here's Why George R.R. Martin Types 'Game of Thrones' on an Ancient DOS Computer

May 14, 2014

George R.R. Martin's word processor is so old, he probably found it in a heap of trash in Winterfell.

The bestselling author writes all of his fantasy novels on an ancient word processor that many of us may be too young to remember: WordStar 4.0, running on the operating system MS-DOS.

George R.R. Martin explained to Conan O'Brien that he has two separate computers: one for Internet browsing, email, filing his taxes and the like. The other is for writing tome after tome of his "A Song of Ice and Fire" series, and he's very happy with his old processor, thanks very much.

"Well, I actually like it. It does everything I want a word processing program to do, and it doesn't do anything else," Martin said. "I don't want any help. I hate some of these modern systems where you type a lower case letter and it becomes a capital. I don't want a capital! If I'd wanted a capital, I would have typed a capital. I know how to work a shift key!"

Martin mentioned that WordStar is also blissfully free of spellcheck, which would likely be unhelpful with names like Daenerys Targaryen and Petyr Baelish.

DOS, a family of operating systems first released in 1981, had a command-line interface that required users to enter orders rather than open programs on a desktop. WordStar was first released in the late 1970s.

All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.