NIMBYs Stop Game of Thrones Author George R.R. Martin From Building the Castle of his Dreams

The Santa Fe Historic Districts Review Board refused to grant an exception to its height limits to accommodate a seven-sided keep.


Winds of Winter is not the only George R.R. Martin project that might go unfinished. On Tuesday, the Santa Fe Historic Districts Review Board turned down the famed fantasy author's application to build a castle on his property.

Martin and his wife, through their Water Gardens Trust, had applied to build a home and seven-sided tower-like structure which would house a library, the Daily Mail first reported. That tower, in order to accommodate a stairwell and elevator, was six feet higher than what was allowed in the historic district in which the structure would be located.

Housing the elevator within the proposed tower (the application calls it the "Water Garden Keep") would forestall the need for "unsightly box-like protrusions" on top of the Martins' castle, their application says. It also says the elevator is necessary to accommodate the couple's limited mobility.

The proposed castle had been revised substantially since it was first proposed (and rejected) in January 2020. Publicly viewable arched windows were removed, the Water Garden Keep's exterior was changed from stone to a stucco adobe finish, and the building's parapet was changed from a Gothic to Pueblo style.

These changes were enough to make the structure compliant with the district's design standards, but the board still got to decide whether the tower deserved an exception to the district's height limit.

Asked by a board member what the architectural style the proposed keep would be, Historic Preservation District Manager Lisa Roach replied: "It's not a typical proposal that we see. It's an accessory structure is all I can say."

The structure's unusual nature is what ultimately doomed it with both the board and the neighbors.

"It is a medieval castle, and I don't understand how we could possibly approve it in this style," said board member Frank Katz, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.

The New Mexican also reports that 40 neighbors in the surrounding area signed a letter opposing the project, writing that "the fact remains that the proposed building is still a prominent castle in the middle of a residential neighborhood in Santa Fe."

Another neighbor compared the proposed project to the fictional castle Winterfell, telling the Daily Mail that "all it's missing is Jon Snow and a couple of dragons."

Perhaps if Martin had a few dragons at his disposal he would have been able to fend off the opposition to his project. Instead, a historic review board is telling him his castle is not quite up to code.

NEXT: The COVID-19 Pandemic Keeps Proving Deadly to Liberty

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. So the Santa Fe Historic Districts Review Board is just as pissed about season 8 as the rest of us?

    1. This is firmly within Santa Fe’s typical behavior, Season 8 or no.

      1. They’re probably pissed about everything following A Storm of Swords.

        1. ★ I quit working at shoprite and now I make $65-85 per/h. How? I’m working online! My work didn’t exactly make me happy so I decided to take a chance on something new…DFs after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn’t be happier.

          Here’s what I do……….► CashApp

      2. Start making cash right now… Get more time with your family by doing j0bs that only require for you to have a computer and an internet access and you can have that at your home. Start bringing up to $8894 a month. I’ve started this j0b and I’ve never been happier and now I am sharing it with you, so you can try it too. You can check it out here…++++++++++COPY HERE====FlySalary

    2. Start earning today from $600 to $754 easily by working online from home. Last month i have generated and received $19663 from this job by giving this only maximum 2 hours a day of my life. Easiest job in the world and earning from this job are just awesome. Everybody can now get this job and start earning cash online right now by just follow instructions click on this link and vist tabs( Home, Media, Tech ) for more details thanks…………USA Online Girls For Jobs

      1. I make up to $90 an hour on-line from my home. My story is that I give up operating at walmart to paintings on-line and with a bit strive I with out problem supply in spherical $40h to $86h… someone turned into top to me by way of manner of sharing this hyperlink with me, so now i’m hoping i ought to help a person else accessible through sharing this hyperlink… strive it, you HERE? Read More

  2. I ‘d have to see drawing to make a comment

      1. For all his money you’d think he could hire someone who could at least make a better rendering. thats piss poor work there

        1. For all his money you’d think he could find a better neighborhood that would accommodate his dreams.

          1. I quit working at shoprite and now I make $65-85 per/h. How? I’m working online! My work didn’t exactly make me happy so I decided to take a chance on something new…LOp after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn’t be happier.

            Here’s what I do…>> CashApp

    1. Dumbledore kills Hermione.

    2. “Use the force, Harry!”, spake Gandalf the Grey. (Played by Patrick Stewart.)

  3. Bend the knee, say the bureaucrats.

  4. “It is a medieval castle, and I don’t understand how we could possibly approve it in this style,” said board member Frank Katz, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.

    I mean it’s real easy, you get the big stamp that says “APPROVED” on it and you stamp the form. I knew most government employees were morons but this is a new low.

    1. It’s an absolutely perfect quote to sum up “The City Different”, though. Because they’re all about being different… as long as you’re exactly the same.

      1. Yeah, it’s funny that, for all of its vaunted progressivism, Santa Fe is incredibly conservative in a lot of ways. Excepting commercial properties, it’s pretty much impossible to get something built that isn’t in the standard Pueblo Revival style.

    2. Santa Fe said nah. What you gonna do about it?

    3. Maybe Martin really has no idea how bureaucracies stifle freedom. Why WOULD you try to build a castle in a “historic district”? I guess it means a shorter stroll to the taco cart.

      If I were building something novel, I’d do it out in the boonies, as far from city planners as possible.

    4. I would be very curious to see how all you guys would react if your neighbor started building a castle. Would you stick by your principles and defend your neighbor’s right to do so? I hope you all would, but I would not be surprised if your principles suddenly changed to deal with the immediate reality.

      1. I would fully support any neighbor who wished to build a castle at this time. I would help with the constructions as long as he would allow me to hep defend it when the revolution comes.

      2. Anyone who lives in an HOA already knows how this works.

        1. Anyone who lives in an HOA already knows how this doesn’t work.


          HOA=Disfunctional Mess

          1. Yeah, that too.

      3. I’d be in favor of it, castles are badass.

        I do have some concerns though:
        Will there be a moat?
        If yes, sharks or alligators in there?
        Do they get laser beams?

        1. Dry moat with snakes.

          1. that’s just a plain old ditch in Santa Fe.

      4. Depends on what side of the moat my house ends up.

      5. Just because you might not like what your neighbor does, it doesn’t give you the right to prevent him.

      6. Cool!

      7. Hell, I’d ask him if he needed any help. Castles are hella cool.

      8. This may be a bad “libertarian purity test” because frankly, that sounds way cooler than any of the stupid cookie cutter things nearby.

        That said, GRRM is proggie as fuck, so I must admit to a touch of schadenfreude about him getting screwed by what he wants for everyone else.

      9. “you guys would react if your neighbor started building a castle” — Hurrah! I went out of my way to look at Cagle Castle with its swimming pool moat in Alpharetta, GA. I’d like a castle for myself, but I’m pleased when other people get cool things even if I don’t get them. That’s probably part of why I’m a libertarian and not one of those selfish, envious lefties.

    5. If it meets modern safety codes, it passes. What a building looks like is up to the owner.

  5. He’s probably democrat so all he’ll need to do is bribe more people to get what he wants.

    1. Unless he changed his mind, he already said he supports Dems.

  6. I’m sure George R.R. Martin’s inability to build his desired residence is national news worthy, but I was kind of wondering when Reason was going to post an article about members of Mueller’s team wiping all of their phones to avoid investigation? Seems like a Libertarian website would want to be all over such high ranking government law enforcement misconduct, but that’s just my thought.

    1. Local news.

    2. Maybe you should be investigated for insufficient libertarianness for being a whiny bitch who wants to investigate the investigators trying to hold the government you’re supposed to hate accountable for its treasons and crimes. Of course that investigation did happen and they found no “bias,” as if protecting Trump from scrutiny is somehow necessary for liberty. But I’m glad to know this actually, and to find out that RT is all over it too.

      1. Of course that investigation did happen and they found no “bias,

        Along with helpful footnotes that said, “here’s where there was bias.”

      2. Oh Tony, we can always count on you to cover for federal law enforcement when they corruptly abuse their power to go after people you don’t like. Your dedication to liberal values is amazing! Lol!

      3. They said “no bias,” but they also, “Man, this whole thing was fucked up.” Which is why there’s now a follow-up investigation, which is being hindered.

    3. That’s just a Deep State conspiracy theory though. Like Antifa.

  7. Just finish your stupid book, you fat fuck! And make sure it’s better than the show.

    1. Ha, at this point the fans should be grateful Dance With Dragons was even finished. If Martin hadn’t wasted so many years running the geek convention circuit, getting distracted with side projects, and upgraded his computer equipment (apparently he uses an ancient IBM computer that runs a DOS word processing program), he might have gotten it done by now.

      1. I liked d.o.s.

        1. Still probably faster than Word.

      2. HBO pretty much ruined the chances of him ever finishing by giving him enough money that he could sleep on a bed made of solid gold bricks. Maybe he has some sort of desire to have a legacy after he’s gone, but at this point he’s old and stupidly rich for an author, and has minimal incentive to bother.

  8. Maybe he should just invite all of the letter signers to a small feast to discuss the matter?

    1. Good idea Walker

    2. First, he should read “Usher II” in Ray Bradbury’s “The Martian Chronicles”. He could replicate the story, but in G.O.T. style.

  9. The New Mexican also reports that 40 neighbors in the surrounding area signed a letter opposing the project, writing that “the fact remains that the proposed building is still a prominent castle in the middle of a residential neighborhood in Santa Fe.”

    I’ve been to Santa Fe… I can almost imagine those neighbors right now…

    1. the neighbors probably just don’t want the increased traffic. the Brady house gets visitors all day long.

  10. One of the worst things about review boards is that they generally do not have specific rules that must be followed, by either themselves, or the petitioner.

    They may issue some general guidelines or examples of the kinds of things that they are looking for, but in the end, it just boils down to how they are feeling at that particular meeting, at that particular moment.

    I’ve been to architectural / historic review board meetings where they wanted a new business owner to change the color of the awnings above his storefront to match some other similar awnings two blocks down main street. Nevermind that it went against his business’s logo and branding scheme. They asked for it and they got it because they could.

    Petty tyrants of the worst type, too – because they believe in their mission statement. They think that they are doing the community a service. They are the bastion that protects us and people ‘just doing whatever they want’. The horror.

  11. His neighbors are probably just incels who can’t wrap their minds around Jon Snow not being the Prince That Was Promised as if they’ve never read a goddamn word of the books.

    1. It’s Santa Fe… they’re going to look remarkably like your circle of friends.

      1. One of my good friends would make a yearly pilgrimage to the balloon festival there.

        1. That’s Albuquerque, you hicklib idiot.

  12. And yet I’ll bet you all read Carl Hiaasen and aspire to be Skink. If that project had been a seven-sided billboard with pics of Dementia Joe servicing both scumbama and the moose, would you still be bloviating?

  13. Gotta have that stucco on your 7-story keep, for historical accuracy.

    1. thats part of the problem isn’t it trying to match local design standards to make a castle gives you crap. Driving through some of those stuccoed communities makes a person sick they all look the same. but still he could have hired an architect with some creativity instead of that bunker he clearly had designed by a child. it looks like a 2nd grader came up with that idea

  14. He needs to play up the limited mobility angle and sue under the ADA. Play the liberals’ own game.

  15. Sorry to sound un-Libertarian, but Herbert Spenser and Henry George were right. There’s no absolute individual right to do what one will with the land. I credit Santa Fe for having sustained its aesthetic architectural integrity. It’s the most attractive town in the Southwest to visit. Please let’s have some cities that aren’t a Disneyland jumble of eyesores. If George Martin wants a medieval castle, let him move to Houston – or just outside the city limits, where rules are laxer.

  16. Tried to build a castle. Got rooked by the bureaucrats.
    I’d just find another place to live. It’s not like he can’t afford to go somewhere better.

    1. “Tried to build a castle. Got rooked by the bureaucrats.”

      I LOLd.

      GRRM should instead worry about kissing the ass of the half of SA Correy that can help him get these last two books done.

      If he wants to rewrite Book 4-5.

  17. That would be good too.

  18. It is amusing when liberals fall victim to their own ideologies that they intend for others and not them.

  19. US Dollar Rain Earns upto $550 to $750 per day by google fantastic job oppertunity provide for our community pepoles who,s already using facebook to earn money 85000$ every month and more through facebook and google new project to create money at home withen few hours.Everybody can get this job now and start earning online by just open this link and then go through instructions to get started……….HERE? Read More

  20. Isn’t he rich enough to buy Albuquerque by now?

    Why not just buy 640 acres or so outside of town and build a castle in the middle of it? Start with the moat so no county bureau-pests can stop by to inspect anything.

  21. working online 24 hours and gets..READ MORE

  22. What is it about rich people that they always insist on being creepy a-holes with bad taste? The SF historic district is just a few blocks of the middle of Santa Fe. Here’s an idea: build your castle down the street, outside the historic district. New Mexico has like 33 acres of land per person. The dude could pick a spot with no neighbors for a hundred miles. He wouldn’t even need a moat.

  23. the 99.9% of people who are not George R.R. Martin are fucking relieved that this eyesore isn’t going to happen, why not focus on them, rather than writing this whiny drivel about a rich fuck getting told no?

  24. He supports/supported Dems. Nice to see he’s being subjected to the government he supports.

  25. Would be cool if Geroge Martin had this redesigned again so that it offers different perspectives depending on viewing direction kind of like the GEB sculpture on Douglas Hostadter’s Godel Escher Bach book cover.
    So from the street the public view it would look like a pueblo, but from the private side it would look like a medieval castle with the said tower Water Garden Keep. And then from above looking down it would look like four knuckles and one long middle finger ending with the tower as the finger nail 🙂

  26. Reason site is great site but…READ MORE

  27. Martin votes for the Democratic politicians who hate property rights, so screw him. He’s getting what he deserves by being forced to live under the government he voted for.

    Finish the fucking books, George.

  28. He can build a castle, just not in the middle of the downtown Santa Fe historic district.
    Without those rules, the district would not exist.

  29. “We’re sorry, Mister Martin. All building design submissions for castles in Santa Fe must be submitted as described in the seventh book in a series of fantasy stories.”

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.