The Citadel

The Archive of 'A Song of Ice and Fire' Lore

So Spake Martin

Reports from Signings, Conventions, Etc

World Fantasy Con (Saratoga, NY; November 1-4 2007)

George threw me under the fangirl bus last night.

See, we all somehow got seated so that GRRM and I were back-to-back with Tim Powers and his wife, and I had mentioned to Lugalirra just how much I love Powers' books. George asked if I had actually told Powers this, and when I answered "No, I don't like to harass writers at Cons because they're probably mobbed at all hours" he said "nonsense!" and turned around, thumped Powers on the back, and said "She loves your books! (turns to me) Tell him how much you like his books!!"

And so Mr. X and I got incredibly dorky and fannish with Tim Powers, and discussed his work teaching at a high school for the arts. He's incredibly friendly and very gracious, despite being accosted in the waning moments of his dinner.

Other notable con guests who rolled on by the BwB party: Scott Bakker. I'm not sure he remembers it all that well -- all 8 feet of him was listing dangerously due to a fair run on the beer downstairs. Hal Duncan stopped by for an hour or so, too, as did a bunch of other people I'm forgetting. I did not bartend much last night (big props to Yags, Mr. X and Alchemist) and spent it wandering the party and the rest of the hotel.

World Fantasy Con (Saratoga, NY; November 1-4 2007)

George read a revised version of the prologue. I'm not going to post anything here (spoilers, etc), but I thought it was pretty good. The ending is a total kicker (as all prologue endings should be). He also answered some questions regarding warging (the term only applies to those who can communicate with wolves/dogs), the HBO series (no greenlight yet, and it's in vague competition with a King Arthur-themed series), and Wild Cards (the January release is the first of a 3-book series, and there is the possibility that if this series does well, all the rest of the Wild Cards series will be put back into print).

I've just fled from a panel on HP Lovecraft. As much as I fangirl Tim Powers, I was just not ready to spend an hour listening to people talk about Lovecraft's rejection/subversion of the supernatural. Especially since I STILL have to finish this damned article for work. Which is what I'm about to do right now.

Trinoc*Con 8 (Durham, NC; August 3-5, 2007)

At Trinoc GRRM confirmed he has several publishers interested in the 3rd Dunk and Egg story he just hasn't settled "on the best venue" yet. He also said that D & E will be collected into a book and that all of the stories he has planned will not fit into one volume.

Trinoc*Con 8 (Durham, NC; August 3-5, 2007)

Another interesting thing from the con, at one point in a panel GRRM was commenting that he didn't like how in a lot of fantasy stories various races are all defined by a single personality (i.e. all orcs are evil, all elves are wise, etc), whereas it would be more realistic for various individuals within a race to have different personalities, viewpoints, etc. Some quick-witted audience member asked him how that idea applied to the Others in his own books, to which he replied, "I'm not gonna answer that." Food for thought.

Trinoc*Con 8 (Durham, NC; August 3-5, 2007)

Nobody as relayed this-but the question about this did come up with GRRM at the last con. And his answer was-basically... forget about it. For now there is nothing happening and he said that HBO could loose their option (let it run out). They are still waiting for an initial script and that would probably be rejected, a new one resubmitted, etc. It sounded to me like the option was probably going to expire with nothing happening - but that is just my take on what he said when the question was asked during the reading as well as later.

Trinoc*Con 8 (Durham, NC; August 3-5, 2007)

Oh, George said all the Stark children of this generation were full Wargs. I thought they were like one shot Wargs and were only bonded to their wolves but no they can warg into just about anything. Bran is just the only one working on it.

Trinoc*Con 8 (Durham, NC; August 3-5, 2007)

We did talk quite a bit of football...

I believe that he said that he felt that the Jets would do better than the Giants this year (i hope i didn't get that backwards)...He's very knowledgeable about football. I lament the fact that i had other duties at that particular time.

As far as fans of Oberyn (of which I'm the biggest, of course), I was talking to him about how much I liked the character even though we only got to spend a short amount of time with him and that the mountain killing him was my throw the book across the room moment. He then asked me how much I liked his daughters. I answered that I liked them quite a bit and that the Martells are my favorite family in Westeros. He commented that I should be very pleased with some of the coming events then.

Trinoc*Con 8 (Durham, NC; August 3-5, 2007)

I'll post more details and stuff later. It was really great meeting everyone. we had 19 people at dinner, and when we invided George to party with us in our rooms, he countered with inviting us up to his suite. He made sure he talked to most people up there at least a little. It was great being able to be that personal with him. an all around awesome experience.

...

Most of us were not pre-registered, but that wasn't a problem. Registration was opened pretty late too. As far as I know, it went rather smoothly for most of us.

The biggest problems were of course with the schedule. As noted earlier, it wasn't until nearly the last 2 weeks that a schedule was even posted online and only a day or so before that the program had been posted. Of course the schedule that was posted was drastically different from the schedule given to us at the con. Eventually we got it figured out. The only real problem after that was with George's reading. The "Reading Room" had a capacity of 25. stunned.gif of course 3 times this number wanted to hear George. More then a few missed the reading because of this. Plus points to the con though, they very quickly realized the problem and moved us down to the large room where the meet and greet was held and moved those 6 people up to the reading room. Any of those that had stuck around trying to stand in the back or hear from the doorway were now all able to sit and listen to the reading.

Immediately after the reading, SSE and I talked to George and made dinner plans. The hotel staff was great in helping us out, letting us know of a good local place and such.

I don't think many of us spent much time in the con hospatality suite as mine and LP's rooms served for most of the BwB, but I did stop down there Sunday morning to give them our left over sodas. It seemed nice and well stocked and the people were very friendly and inviting.

All in all, the con was a great experience with very minor problems once it got going.

InConJunction (Indianapolis, IN; July 6-8)

DWD is not done. George believes writing is an art and he has to find the right words and the right structure and that takes time and some re-writes. He still hopes for seven books.

He may write other stories in the IAF world that take places 100's of years before or 100's of years after.

He is a student of popular history and likes the story aspect of them. But he does like the sensation of not knowing what is going to happen next.

His experience in television influences the way IAF is written through act breaks that hook the readers.

Wildcards too was a training ground for ASOIAF. IAF is a Wildcards mosaic novel with George telling all the parts.

About the HBO series. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are writing the screenplay. They have written the first draft of the pilot and have sent it to HBO for revision. There will be twelve hours worth of shows and George will write one hour. As for it all actually happening, George has not yet "bought the couch" meaning it is definitely not set in stone.

There are plans for nine D+E stories covering their whole life.

The concept of heroes and villains is a false dichotomy, in George's opinion. Real human beings are a mixture of good and evil.

All the characters are in danger.

There will be no gods on stage in the books and the reader will have to decide whether there are gods or not.

Once the books are done, we will have such a detailed description of Robert's Rebellion that a prequel will not be necessary or at least have little suspense.

The challenge with IAF is that he has to publish each book as it is written so he doesn't get to go back and edit earlier volumes like he would if had won the lottery.

I asked Ran's question about the King of Mountain and Vale [how they came to fall under the rule of the Targaryens] and George told me to keep reading for that one.

Opus Fantasy Festival (Denver, CO; May 25-27)

The Con was O.K.. I enjoyed sitting and listening to Mr. Martin talk for a couple of hours. I felt sorry for him. Like he was a goldfish ina bowl up there on at a table alone. oh well, I think his voice is strangely interesting to listen to. He has some good stories, and is very intelligent.

As far as notes go, I only wrote down a few things:

Every time the HBO thing was brought up he stressed the fact that there are a thousand things that could derail the train before it hits the station. Long and short of it is not to expect anything for at least 2 years.

George is doing an appearance on "Second Life". A virtual reading where he appears as Tyrion. That sounds interesting, except I have worked very hard not to spoil myself on the next book before it is out. If he is reading a new chapter then I don't want to hear it.

One small note, that I am sure he has done before, is that he made sure to add the "I hope" line after saying that he will finish Song of Ice and Fire in 7 books. Not that that says anything.

Comic-Con (New York City, NY; February 23-25)

[Note: The following is a response from Parris, George's partner, regarding the Comic-Con reports which seemed to believe the pilot was greenlit.]

I hate to have to tell you this, but the reports coming out of ComicCon that the pilot for HBO's GEORGE RR MARTIN'S 'A SONG OF ICE & FIRE: A GAME OF THRONES' will be filmed in the summer of 2007 are wildly optimistic.

Here's the current status of HBO GRRMs' ASoI&F:AGOT as far as we know today, Februrary 27th, 2007.

The writers/producers, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, are, as all writers who are WGA members must, waiting for the formal contracts, deals, and options to be completed. Then they'll begin work on the first major draft of the pilot script.

Once that first draft is finished, they'll submit it to HBO and then, sometime, maybe in a week, maybe in a month, they'll get Notes.

Then they'll do a second draft, and repeat the process until HBO is satisified and gives them the green light to start pre-production.

So let me clarify for everyone, that there is not much of a possibility that we'll see even the beginning of pre-production this summer.

David Benioff and his wife, Amanda Peet, just celebrated the birth of their first child, born on Feb 20th.

I'd also like to correct an earlier post about WILD CARDS - Melinda Snodgrass has developed an independent new script based in the Wild Cards universe. But it is not for a televison series.

Comic-Con (New York City, NY; February 23-25)

My first stop was the George R. R. Martin session. He began things by stating the rules: no asking who dies, what happens at the end, and when the next book is coming out. He announced that they're re-releasing his book The Armageddon Rag (the book that "nearly ended" his career and sent him to exile in Hollywood). He also announced that Tor will be releasing three new Wildcards books. And, of course, he announced (for anyone who didn't already know it) the deal with HBO to do a set of Song of Ice and Fire miniseries. The one difference in this announcement is that while the original stories that came out indicated that the miniseries would be produced for sometime next decade to coincide with the ending of the heptology, Martin today indicated that the producers were working on a pilot episode now with the intent that HBO would pick it up and start on season one next year. He is very, very happy about the HBO deal, btw, gushing over the quality of television that HBO is producing and saying this was really the only good choice for getting Song produced in the visual media.

Some other bits of info from Q&A: In Song, he considers Bran the hardest viewpoint character to write, while Tyrion is the easiest. The Red Wedding was partly based on a historical event in Scotland called the Black Dinner. His biggest lament in splitting A Feast for Crows from A Dance with Dragons is the parallels he was drawing between Circe and Daenerys. He credits the creative success on Wildcards to the system that they put in place, making all authors sign an agreement at the outset and establishing a point system that gave creators extra distribution of profits for use of their characters in the works of other authors (thus encouraging them to let others play with their creations, making the shared universe cohesive).

Comic-Con (New York City, NY; February 23-25)

On the shooting of a pilot it did seem like it was definate that they would do one but I don't remember him ever specifying "quot;this summer"quot;. He also said he was happy that it was HBO because of the odds of it happening. GRRM said if HBO "quot;develop"quot; 5 shows 3 will be used.

Also, as I said in the "quot;New POV"quot; thread, GRRM kept referring to the new POV as "quot;He"quot;. As in "quot;He will be the last new POV"quot;.

Comic-Con (New York City, NY; February 23-25)

[Note: Thanks to Relic for bringing this to our attention, and to Stag Lord/Chris for providing additional details.]

Some notes form the George RR Martin signing and Q&A that I thought would be of general interest to the community:

A: I was able to distribute every single promo card, play mat/poster and demo deck/rules set within about twenty minutes of my arrival. People seemed genuinely impressed by the art and happy to have cards like Ilyn Payne, Jon Snow, Ghost, and Harrenhall. I was even asked by tow people for demo decks after I had given them all out. It was very encouraging but whether or not it will bear fruit in terms of the local play group remains to be seen.

B. One of the questions Martin fielded was about whether or not he was happy with the ancillary art surrounding AsoIaF. He said that although he wasn’t crazy about the response time of some artists on the comic books, he was thrilled with the job FFG is doing. He talked about how he is aware that "people love the card game and the board game" and the most frustrating thing for him has been with other licensees like Guardians of Order and Testors. He now owns all stocl on the RPG stuff since Guardians bit the dust and he really wants to see the miniatures game get to market -- he seemed annoyed with Testors for how long they are taking. So kudos to FFG -- he was very positive about the work you gushy are doing.

C, He said about the HBO series: Its in development, which means there is nothing like a timetable for when (or if) we will see the series. But he is very optimistic about it getting the go ahead -- they will be shooting the pilot over the summer for submission to and approval by the brass at HBO, and if all goes well there, they will really go into high gear on the series we are all so excited about. He seemed really, really pumped to get going on this adaptation.

D. There will be a new PoV in Dance -- but he isn’t saying who. This will be the last new PoV we get for the series and he expects the current list to be culled down as the story progresses.

E. His dragons have no front limbs -- just rear legs and wings. He said that although the traditional depiction of dragons as six limbed creatures has become a staple of fantasy -- the fact that no animal in nature has ever evolved in such a way always bothered him. As a sci-fi writer originally, he insists on the depiction of the dragons with just four limbs. I never heard that before and though it was pretty neat.. In addition, he said that although AsoIaF dragons are intelligent, they cannot speak and will never evolve into the sort of dragons we see in Tolkien or Le Guin. Specifically he said’ Drogon is never going to share witty aphorisms with Dany. The Targaryens rule by Fire and Blood and that is what the dragons represent in the story". I guess the power icon is more Nedly for them than some of us thought when they were first rolled out back in AfoD.

F. Cersei and Daenerys are intended as parallel characters --each exploring a different approach to how a woman would rule in a male dominated, medieval-inspired fantasy world.

G. He is getting a lot of interest in his Wild Cards series. Specifically I think there are new books coming out and there is a possibility of that being developed for TV as well. He isn’t sure how this is going to fly though in the wake of Heroes -- which apparently is very similar in concept. Either Heroes will open the door for Wild Cards, or it will close it entirely. I’m no really into either -- but I figured a lot of you would be interested in this tidbit.

H. When asked about ideal casting choices, he formally endorsed the idea of Nicole Kidman playing Cersei. He says she has the perfect look for her. But it would never work, because where are you going to find a guy that looks like her to play Jaime? I really got a kick out of that. He also said Ron Perelman would be perfect as the Hound -- but I am pretty sure I had hears or read that somewhere before.

I think that’s all the really important stuff. Somehow I really felt responsible to the CCG community to get back to you guys with some notes form today’s event. If it bores anyone I apologize. However, I urge anyone who gets a chance to go to one of his signings or talks to do so. He is very entertaining and very down to earth. This is the second time I have seen him and would definitely do so again.

...

He didn't talk about budgets at all.

While talking about how HBO is the perfect medium for the series, h e mentioned Rome and Deadwood several times as examples of how HBO is best equipped to get the look, fell and themes of his work in place without having to cut much of anything.

...

Just to follow up and reiterate (because I really don't wnat to start any rumors or get anyones hopes up too much) please make it clear - we are still a long way from seeing anything. HBO will see the pilot and decide where we go from there. Although I did get the impression that this part of the project is moving ahead very quickly - Mr. Martin was very matter of fact about it, and I am just worried I heard what I wnated to hear.

I don't want to get anyone's hopes up too high is all I am saying. I love Mr Martin and I love the community.Please make it clear that alhtough I stand by what I worte - we are still very very far of form seeing anything.

Boskone 44 (Boston, MA; February 16-18)

OK, just to make this an actual Con report, I'll report on the only panel I was able to attend: The Increasing Rift Between Fans and Pros.

On the panel was Steve Miller, one of the Boskone organizers, Gay Haldeman and GRRM. The panel itself turned into a rather pointed criticism of most professional writers (which naturally angered the professional writers in the audience, as I heard a few bitching to each other after the panel), who think rather highly of themselves and sequester themselves from their audience. The panelists did make the concession that a WorldCon is a different beast from other Cons (in that a shitload of business and flesh-pressing with editors/publishers happens at WorldCon, and doesn't leave most authors a lot of time to socialize), but they were all pretty critical of authors who never showed up to the party floor at a smaller Con.

GRRM's quote that stands out: "There are, what, 50 or more professional writers here at this convention, and I only saw a handful of them on the party floor last night."

(for the record, I remember seeing Daniel Abraham and Gay Haldeman and meeting Nick Mamatas -- at least I think I did. I was pretty hungover at that point. There were at least 4 or 5 others I recognized, but I cannot remember their names. Anyone want to help me out? Which writers did y'all see either Friday or Saturday night?)