In an interview with Conan O’Brien last year, George R.R. Martin let slip that he uses a word processor from the 1980s, WordStar 4.0, to write his famous fantasy series. The main reason for this? Spellcheck. With names like Daenerys, Targaryen and Clegane flying about, a modern program’s spell-checking feature can become quite the frustration for an author looking to create an authentic fantasy settings.
Martin may no longer have reason to fear Office, though, as the world’s most popular word processor now recognizes most names from the Game of Thrones universe. These include fan favorites like Daenerys, Tyrion and Arya, among many others. Only minor characters are left out, such as Mossador, Gared and Mycah.
You might think this would be common, but in fact the breadth of Office’s love for the A Song of Ice and Fire series is unusual. Fans of The Lord of the Rings have long had to deal with the fact important characters like Gimli and Arwen aren’t recognized. You’ll also see red squiggles under Star War’s most famous bounty hunters, Boba Fett and Greedo. In fact, no other work of science fiction or fantasy has more names recognized by Microsoft Office.
Microsoft, in an official response, has made it clear that this isn’t just an easter egg. The company stated “we regularly update the spellers to keep them fresh, including additions from the latest, most frequent names from movies, books, and TV shows.” But why do so many names in Martin’s books appear, while some characters from other fantasy words are left out? This apparently has to do with the “data sources” that Microsoft combs when considering words to add to its dictionary. The company didn’t reveal what those sources are, but apparently the recent surge in popularity of A Song of Ice and Fire was noticed as it combed for words to add.
That’s unlikely to lure Martin to a newer machine — it doesn’t solve the problem for new characters and locations, after all — but it’s good news for anyone planning to write their own recap, review or fan-fiction based on the popular books or TV series. The word processor will even correct you, if you happen to miss-spell Daenerys as Daynerys, Daeneri, or some other combination. That’s sure to save you from some nasty comments.
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