Game of Thrones author George RR Martin has said he doesn't "really take any responsibility" for changing the lives of the actors involved in the popular fantasy drama, and admits it is all down "to their own brilliance" and "their own talents".

The 70-year-old writer,  who received the International Recognition Award as part of this year's Irish Book Awards during a special ceremony in Dublin on Tuesday evening, said he is thrilled for the success the show has brought the cast.

While Sean Bean was an established actor, others like Kit Harington had only undertaken stage work beforehand, while Emilia Clarke had one low-budget horror film to her name and a commercial.

"It has transformed their lives and that is pretty heady stuff and I am glad of it but I don't really take any responsibility for it," Press Association quotes Martin as saying.

"It is their own brilliance and their own talents that have done it but it is still pretty amazing to know that because of all the characters I thought up sitting all alone in front of a computer 20 years ago it has had this profound effect on them."

Martin also praised Northern Ireland's "marvellous" filming locations, singling out the Co Antrim quarry which stood in for the Nights Watch headquarters and The Wall in the show.

"The buildings were not just facades, you could actually walk on the balconies and open the door and there would be room behind it.

"Cameras could track in and out and up and down stairs.

"That is a great thing, I have worked on a lot of sets that are just facades."

The author, who is currently working on The Winds of Winterthe sixth and penultimate book in his Ice and Fire series, praised the impressiveness of the wall.

"Not as big as my wall as I described it but still pretty big and they had a working elevator, which was amazing.

"They did not have to build the iron cage elevator as I described, so that was an amazing impressive set and I gather they have kept that and it is still a tourist attraction."

Game Of Thrones' eighth and final series concluded to mixed reviews in May.

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