George R.R. Martin's First Inspiration For 'Game Of Thrones' Cracks Up Stephen Colbert

The author's childhood pet turtles battled over a toy castle.

Even George R.R. Martin’s pets battle over castles.

While promoting his new “Game Of Thrones” history book, “Fire And Blood,” on “The Late Show” Wednesday, Martin discussed the books he read as a child that inspired him. Not surprisingly, he and host Stephen Colbert talked at length about “The Lord Of The Rings” series.

However, Martin’s earliest inspiration for writing began with pet turtles he had growing up in Bayonne, New Jersey. He said he kept them in a bowl with a castle, but unfortunately they didn’t survive. 

“I fed them the turtle food, and I thought I was doing everything right,” Martin said. ”I couldn’t figure out why they were dying.”

Martin joked that since it obviously wasn’t his fault, he would create a story as to why his turtles had perished.

“I decided they were competing for the turtle throne,” he said. “They were killing each other to determine who would be the turtle king.”

Colbert leaned back in his chair laughing at the premise.

“That was my first fantasy, ‘Turtle Castle,‘” said the author, who now lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. “It preceded ‘Game Of Thrones’ by many years.”

Careful, George. You’ve got a lot on your plate already, and now fans are going to want to read your turtle epic.