Plot twist, with no dead bodies
search

Plot twist, with no dead bodies

George R.R. Martin, left, shown with “Finding Your Roots” host Henry Gates, Jr., was shocked by his DNA test. (Courtesy of McGee Media/Ark Media)
George R.R. Martin, left, shown with “Finding Your Roots” host Henry Gates, Jr., was shocked by his DNA test. (Courtesy of McGee Media/Ark Media)

The black hat should have been a tipoff.

Author George R. R. Martin is always photographed in a cap that would do Tevye proud.

Maybe it’s genetic.

Martin, 70, is famous for “Games of Thrones,” the popular HBO show. He wrote the notoriously unfinished book series it’s based on.

Now, it seems that he has Jewish ancestry.

On Tuesday night, he appeared on the season premiere of the PBS celebrity genealogy show “Finding Your Roots” — and discovered that he has a dramatic secret Jewish history.

Martin grew up in Bayonne. He knew — or at least he thought he knew — that his mother was part Irish and his father was half Italian. Martin was very close to his paternal grandmother, Grace, whose Italian husband, Louis, left her and started a new family without first getting a divorce . (Grace was a devout Catholic.)

Martin believed that he was genetically one quarter Italian, but a test of his genetic makeup revealed he actually has no Italian DNA at all. However, the test also showed that he is 22.4 percent Ashkenazi Jew. That means that he had one Jewish grandparent.

To check their results, researchers found one of Louis’ sons from his second family and tested him. If Louis was George’s grandfather, there should have been a partial match — about 6 percent. But there was no match at all.

A test of Martin’s maternal grandparents showed only Irish ancestry, so the show’s researchers speculated that Louis left Grace after discovering she had an affair with a Jewish man.

All a stunned Martin can say on the show is: “You’ve uprooted my worldview.” CURT SCHLEIER/JTA Wire Service

read more:
comments