Dungeons & Dragons Borrowed the Name of One of Its Iconic Monsters From George R. R. Martin

A pre-Game of Thrones George R. R. Martin story was the source for one of Dungeons & Dragons' most iconic creatures. Earlier this month, millions of video game fans watched the opening cinematic for Baldur's Gate 3, the new Dungeons & Dragons video game by Larian Studios. In the cinematic, a mind flayer nautiloid ship is chased through several different planes by the githyanki, a race of psychically-powered beings who live on the Astral Plane who hate mind flayers with a passion. While we got to see the githyanki chase after the mind flayer ship while riding red dragons, most D&D fans don't know that the githyanki were inspired by famed fantasy writer George R. R. Martin.

David Hartiage's DM David blog provided a look into the origins of the Githyanki along with the origin stories of countless other classic D&D creatures. Charles Stross, the creator of the githyanki, admitted that he took the githyanki name from Martin's 1977 science fiction novel Dying of the Light. Martin's version of the githyanki also had psychic powers and were originally the slave race of an alien species, similar to how the githyanki were originally slaves of the mind flayers. However, Martin never really fleshed out the githyanki in Dying of the Light, and Stross noted in a 2014 interview that he only used the name when creating the now iconic D&D monsters. "In the late seventies, I was looking for a name, and George R. R. Martin has always been pretty good with names," Stross explained to Lightspeed Magazine. Other aspects of the githyanki, including their relationship with the illithid, were inspired by Larry Niven's book The World of Ptvass.

Although Martin didn't allegedly know about Dungeons & Dragons using the githyanki until years after they were introduced to the game, there seemed to be no hard feelings. Martin published a four chapters of his 2005 novel A Feast of Crows in a 2003 edition of Dragon Magazine, the official magazine of Dungeons & Dragons.


We'll see more of the githyanki and the mind flayers in Baldur's Gate 3, which will likely be released in 2021. D&D players can also play as a githyanki character thanks to the Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, which was released back in 2018.

What do you think about this random D&D/GOT connection? Let us know in the comment section or find me on Twitter at @CHofferCBus to chat all things D&D!