All Sorts of Weird Stuff: News

All Sorts of Weird Stuff offers news and information about George R.R. Martin, in particular about his A Song of Ice and Fire series.

"When I was young, I read all sorts of stuff. One week it would be Lovecraft, the next Vance. It was all imaginative literature, or as my dad called it 'Weird Stuff.' It was all 'Weird Stuff.'"

George R.R. Martin

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Brotherhood without Banners

Updates on Dance With Dragons and More

A very busy past week on several fronts. Here’s a quick recap of some notable items for fans of A Song of Ice and Fire:

  • In his latest “Not a Blog” update, GRRM points out the newest trailer from HBO for Game of Thrones (our screen captures and commentary are linked here) and also notes that of the two “krakens” he was wrestling with,  one is down and one was “down to the last tentacle.” Sounds like one chapter done and one nearly done. After them, he said he had a “wolf” to see to. In comments, when asked about page count, he says it’s at present a toss-up whether A Dance with Dragons or A Storm of Swords will be the longest novel in the series.
  • Speaking of A Storm of Swords, it took the #6 place in Tor.com’s Best SF/F of the Decade. Tor.com has a series of guest appreciations of the top ten novels lined up, and we were very graciously asked to provide one for A Storm of Swords, which is set to be published on the 10th. To commemorate the list, Tor.com is also running a contest with one lucky winner recieving copies of each of the top ten novels.
  • And speaking of ourselves… If you missed it, HBO.com very kindly asked to interview me about George’s fandom, the origins of Westeros.org, and my visit to the sets and production offices of Game of Thrones back in October. You can read the interview here, and the first set visit report if you’re interested.
  • Dark Sword Miniatures has revealed that Tom Meier sculpted a bonus diorama for his figures of Jojen Reed, Meera Reed, and Hodor with Bran Stark, and this is being sold as part of a figure pack. Though the diorama isn’t on display, some great pictures of the miniatures can be seen. Meier’s a legend among miniature sculptures, and you can see why from these.
  • Finally, Voyager has followed through and released both A Storm of Swords and A Feast for Crows for the Kindle in the U.K. Newly proofed, these texts should be superior to those that were available earlier. We’ve also heard from Voyager that mid- to late-March should see the re-release of A Game of Thrones with art from the HBO series (airing on Sky Atlantic in the U.K.)
Amazing Map of Westeros

Long in the making, yesterday saw the publication of Other-in-Law’s map of Westeros at his Deviant Art page. A huge, 10mb file stretching more than 3,000 by 10,000 pixels, it puts together all of his regional maps and adds both some adjustments and a terrific series of bordering elements, including a depiction of the Seven and King Aerys II with his Kingsguard. There’s a number of “easter eggs” as well, amusing references to figures both past and present. On top of that, it’s an extraordinary catalog of the heraldry of the setting, drawn from the books and GRRM’s heraldic notes (note that the placement of some these arms are, however, speculative).

Although Tear’s map is a stunning achievement for a fan cartographer, easily equalling any other map for the series, we have to say that we’ve never seen a map that’s this outright charming. And all of it created by OiL in MS Paint, which makes the achievement even more remarkable!

Podcast of Ice and Fire Interview

This is a new one for us. Linda and I were invited by the A Podcast of Ice and Fire crew to an audio interview, which is something we’ve never done before. It was a little nerve-wracking, but Mimi, Amin, and the rest of the APoIaF hosts were fantastic! After an interview discussing the website, our history with it, the World of Ice and Fire world book we’re co-authoring with George, and more, we move on to discussing some recent news and then move on to discussing two chapters from A Game of Thrones. It was excellent fun! The APoIaF podcasts are amusing, occasionally irreverent, and filled with some interesting insights from avid fans of the series—check all the rest out!

Two corrections: I was quite wrong about House Manwoody being mentioned in the AGoT appendix. In fact, they aren’t mentioned until A Storm of Swords. However, at the time when George sent us his first set of heraldry notes (April 1999), he had been done with A Clash of Kings and was at work on ASoS, so that’s the first time we had ever heard of the house. Also, as Mimi notes, the wrestler who was the model of Shagga was named Haystacks Calhoun, not Haystacks Howard.

Sean T. Collins on ASoIaF

Blogger Sean T. Collins, who I know best from his incisive commentary on comics (both mainstream and alt), also happens to be a fan of George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire”. After a recent post about the TV series, he’s decided to expand a comment he made into a persuasive argument aimed at those who are curious about the series but aren’t decided on reading it.

A good piece, covering ground ranging from prose to themes to world-building, and all without spoilers. Have some friends or family you want to get into the series but they just aren’t budging? Point them at Sean’s write-up and it may just push them over the edge to giving the series a try.

GRRM Updates

At Not a Blog, George R.R. Martin explains his long silence over this holiday season having been due to an acute infection from E. coli. This led to an extended hospital stay from Christmas morning to just about New Year’s Eve, but antibiotics and other treatment have helped beat the illness. He is still recovering, and remains somewhat tired, but he confirms that he will follow through on his commitment to appear at the media-only TCA event this Friday, and will carry out his signing at Vroman’s bookstore in Pasadena on Sunday (he does ask fans who attend to go easy on him, however, and only bring a book or two for him to sign).

He also indicates that one of the announcements he hoped to make won’t be happening due to this, but he hopes to be fully recovered by the end of the month, and back to work before that. This does suggest he had hoped to spend the holidays finishing up A Dance with Dragons, but it appears he’ll need to get his health back on track.

Our best wishes to him as he recovers!

GRRM in Pasadena

As George has mentioned, he’ll be in California to promote HBO’s Game of Thrones. We’ve been informed that the details of the bookstore signing he noted was in the planning have now been finalized, and have now added it to our calendar. It will take place on January 9th at 5 PM Pacific Time, at Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena.

Also as noted in George’s post, at some point that day—not sure if it’ll be before or after the signing yet—he’ll be joining fans for a little mini-meet sort of event, just to hang out with them. If you want more details, check out this thread at the Brotherhood without Banners section of the A Song of Ice and Fire forum.

The Mountain vs. the Dragon

After having won this year’s Suvudu 2010 Villains’ Cage Match, the Mountain that Rides faces his last obstacle to claiming complete domination: last year’s winner, Rand al’Thor from Robert Jordan’s epic Wheel of Time series. If you’ll recall, last years cage match led to a frenzy of voting with the lead changing back and forth as fans argued the merits of George R.R. Martins’ and Brandon Sanderson’s write-ups for how they thought the match should go.

In the end, the Dragon defeated the Kingslayer… but will al’Thor bite off more than he can chew with Ser Gregor Clegane? You decide with your votes! The poll runs through January 2nd, but don’t delay in voting!

GRRM in LA

Another update from GRRM, one of the Angelenos. He’ll be over in Los Angeles in early January (remember, he’s due to attend the TCA Winter Press Tour panel on January 7th) and he’ll be seeing about arranging some public events, such as a signing (probably in the San Fernando Valley area) or a mini-moot. The latter seems almost a certainty, as he adds that David McCaman—a fixture and long-time organizer of the Brotherhood without Banners fan club—will be organizing event on that same day, January 9th.

Keep an eye out here and on the this thread for more details in the days to come.

George adds a tantalizing final note: he may have something exciting to announce ... and maybe two exciting things, “but don’t quote me on that”.

Profiling the Onion Knight

As part of the fifth anniversary of their site, the Tower of the Hand has polled its community of users to determine a list of the top 30 favorite characters, and each day features a profile for one of these characters as they count their way down to the most popular character of them all. Today, they’ve presented the #8 character in their poll, Davos Seaworth, with a profile written by yours truly.

I was quite honored to be invited to participate in this. Congratulations to Johnny, Alex, and the rest of the Tower of the Hand crew!

Video from Days of Ice and Fire

Via “Not a Blog”, George informs fans that a report and video from Fantasy Flight Games following their Days of Ice and Fire event have been posted. The video’s quite cool, featuring GRRM’s remarks on his cameo in HBO’s Game of Thrones, a few examples of name pronunciations, and remarks from a panel including two of his Wild Cards collaborators, Melinda Snodgrass (who’s just posted some interesting thoughts on Dragon Age 2) and Ian Tregillis.

You can find these reports (plus the video), along with other Days of Ice and Fire reports, at the So Spake Martin collection.

Villains Championship: The Mountain vs. the Reaper

Ser Gregor Clegane, the Mountain that Rides, has climbed over the corpses of his enemies to reach the championship of Suvudu’s Villains Cagematch 2010. His final opponent? The Reaper, from the works of Terry Brooks. Suvudu has a great write-up of how they think the battle would go… except for the fact that they have the end result wrong. ;)

Want to weigh in? Vote now!

The Mountain vs. Arnie

Suvudu’s Villains Cage Match continues, with the Mountain that Rides against victorious after having smashed Gaius Baltar’s head in for him. Now his next challenge: the Terminator (T-800 model)! Suvudu’s own experts have made their prediction that the Mountain will prevail… but only votes from fans and readers can really decide the outcome, so vote now!

Days of Ice and Fire Report

Reports from Fantasy Flight Games‘s Days of Ice and Fire event, featuring GRRM, have started to come in thanks to Ice and Fire forum member the Mastiff. First off, we have non-spoiler Q&A discussion, with some amusing anecdotes. This will be added to the So Spake Martin collection soon.

And then… big, honking spoilers here, because this is an exhaustive report of GRRM’s reading of a chapter from A Dance with Dragons, featuring the onion knight, Davos Seaworth: Davos 2.

Thanks to the Mastiff, and everyone else who is likely to put in additional reports both from the event and the Brotherhood without Banners lunch with George.

Songs of Ice and Fire

Fans of the A Song of Ice and Fire series around the world have found inspiration in GRRM’s series, whether it leads to cosplay, fan art, game mods, and more. One area fertile for inspiration are songs inspired by the novels, and certainly several metal bands have taken up the cause, as have instrumental composers.

Songs directly taken from the novels, on the other hand, have been less common. Presented below are two very fine examples, however. The first, from the second Belfast Moot (my report on it can be found here), is a rendition of “The Last of the Giants” from A Storm of Swords, by Brotherhood without Banners and A Song of Ice and Fire forum member lilsisorcha:

When she started singing, I have to admit, the emotive lament of the song sent a shiver up my spine. Beautiful.

The next is a truly amazing rendition of “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” ... but in Spanish! It’s a remarkable version, not least because it’s such a lively song that seems absolutely right for a crowded feasting hall, with men and women slamming their fists down in time with the jaunty tune:

Have pointers to any other songs developed directly from lyrics in A Song of Ice and Fire? Note them in the comments!

 

Villains Cage Match: The Mountain Battles On

Suvudu’s latest cage match series focuses on villains, and representing George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire is the Mountain that Rides, Ser Gregor Clegane. He’s defeated Dracula and Morgan le Fay in his last two matches, but now he faces his biggest challenge yet:

Gaius Baltar, the sleazy, self-aggrandizing celebrity scientist of Battlestar Galactica.

Voting on the result of the cage match continues through Thursday. The winner of this contest—and we’re sure it’ll be the Mountain, right?—will go on to face the winner of the contest between the T-800 Terminator and Fenris the Feared. The Terminator seems to be winning that one handily, but if you have the time to vote, we urge you to vote for the Feared, one of Joe Abercrombie‘s more memorable villains.

In any case, go and vote for the Mountain!