That's a hard question. There are so many Wild Cards characters that I love... though, hell, I'm the editor, if I didn't love them, they would never have been included in the series in the first place.
Croyd Crenson would definitely have to be one of them. The Sleeper. All time best Wild Card character, the archetype for the series.
Fortunato, maybe. The heroic pimp was a real breakthrough character. Just think, Lew Shiner was twenty years ahead of those guys who won an Oscar for "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp."
I also loved Jetboy. Although he only appeared in that one story, he set the tone for much that followed. Even so, I might have to pass him over for Gregg Hartmann. A good story needs a good villain, and Gregg was our best, with a story arc that went all the way from book one through book fifteen.
[Did GRRM always mean to write from multiple POVs?]
[What are the strengths and weaknesses of this method?]
It is really the only way to tell a large, sprawling, complex story if you are using a third-person, limited viewpoint, as I do.
[Number of dragon limbs?]
Two. The forelimbs are the wings.
[Are dragons male, female, hermaphroditic, or is there something magical involved in their reproduction?]
Sexing dragons is difficult. More in future books.
[Do all the Great Houses own Valyrian steel weapons?]
Oh, there are more Valyrian swords than we have seen so far. Not all of them belong to the Great Houses. Lesser nobility would oft purchase one as well, for the prestige, and sometimes knights or even lesser swords would acquire one on the battlefield, after the original owner fell. But there have been no more made since the Doom of Valyria.
[Can a maester's chain include multiple links of the same metal?]
Mulitple links are possible, and signify that the maester is especially accomplished in that area.
[GRRM is asked how involved he'll be in the HBO series, if it goes forward.]
If HBO does indeed go ahead with the series, I will be doing one script per season.
I can't do any more and still hope to finish the novels.
[Any chance of his past work being optioned for future adaption to the screen, now that he's an international bestseller?]
Anything is possible, but I'm not holding my breath.
[Are the children of the forest like elves, and are there other races besides them?]
No, no elves. The children are... well, the children.
Westeros has its giants too, so there are other races in my world. But no elves. Elves have been done to death.
[Does GRRM know there's still an active Beauty and the Beast fandom?]
It doesn't surprise me that there is still a B&B fandom, no.
In fact, I think there's two. The ones who embrace the entire series, and the ones who insist on "44 and No More." Are they still at war, after almost twenty years? I hope not.
I don't think either one is as large as it once was, but maybe I'm wrong.
[Willl we have a complete map of the world at the end of the series?]
The whole WORLD? No, definitely not. No European map of the middle ages could possibly have included the Americas or Australia, and even their ideas of China (Cathay) and India were rather... ah, inaccurate.
The regions where the action takes place, through which the characters move? Yes.
[GRRM is asked about the section numbering scheme for his novella, "The Meathouse Man"
That's a good question, and a hard one. It's been a couple of decades since I wrote that story. I had a profound and artistic reason for the numerbering, I recall, but just what it was...
One obvious difference, however, is that all the Arabic numerals reference song titles, and the content of those sections were in part inspired by those songs, or alluded to said content. The Roman numeral section titles are simply descriptive.
[Willl Hot Pie, Gendry, Nymeria, Rickon and Shaggy be seen again or mentioned in A Dance with Dragons, or later in the series?]
Later in the series? Yes, to all of them.
In DANCE? Yes to some, no to others.
[Will GRRM write stories for the next two Wild Cards books?]
Sadly, no, but I will be heavily involved as editor.
[GRRM is asked who comes up with titles for the Wild Cards series, and whether titles for future Wild Cards books will be difficult to come up with, as they are all drawn from card game terminology.]
I come up with the titles.
Yes, we will eventually run out of "card" titles. There's a scene in CITIZEN KANE when Kane is informed that his paper lost a million dollars last year. "Yes," he says, "and I expect to lose a million dollars next year, and the year after that. If that keeps up, I'm going to have to close the paper... in thirty-seven years." (paraphrase)
Which is a long-winded way of saying that I already have enough titles for another twenty or thirty wild card books, if need be. Some are better than others, mind you, but we won't run out soon.
Wild Cards grew from a roleplaying game you ran. Did you and your fellow writer-participants stop gaming in the setting when you started turning it into a book?
Yes. It was too confusing to do both at once.
And speaking of gaming, I know you still take part in regular gaming sessions. Is there a main campaign/setting that's played primarily, or are you guys sticking to shorter campaigns these days?
Well, we played in Walter Jon Williams' Rome game (GURPS) for a decade or more, but Walter hasn't been running that lately. More recently we're playing a space game run by Ty Franck, which uses a D20 system. Ty's game is great fun, but frankly I don't like D20 nearly as much as GURPS. (Old GURPS, 3rd edition, at least)
[Would polygamous marriages be accepted in Westeros today, especially if Targaryens were involved?]
If you have some huge fire-breathing dragons, you can get people to accept a lot of things that they might otherwise have problems with.