Min and me went to the Frankfurt book fair to meet George. I think Min will keep you posted on how it was. But here is just a short overview on new information that we got:
Since George has not started writing DWD everything though can be changed ...
DWD will be thinner and quicker.
No new POV
Catelyn will not be a POV
More attention on Casterly Rock
No introduction on what has happened between ASOS and ADWD, but POVs will "reflect" on what happened (so no flashbacks either).
A new story (presumably Dunk) after ADWD, quicker if we can get Silverberg to do a "Legends 2" and he'll as George to contribute. Action please, Ladies and Gentlemen!!!!
A Television station has asked for a meeting regarding an ASOIAF TV-Series. But nothing serious till now. Could change though, if LOTR becomes a box-office smash hit.
George was very precise on "reflections" as opposed to flashbacks. Flashbacks would be "Tyrion remembered being resurrected from the dead ...." while reflection would be "Tyrion wondered why anybody would have tried to resurrect him ..." (of course that resurrection thing is my own theory).
One more bit. George said that the male lead from "Beauty and the Beast" (I forgot his name) would be perfect for playing Sandor. And that the Eyrie is based on Neuschwanstein and Casterly Rock is based on Gibraltar.
... His reason for the gap is simply that he thought each of the first three books would cover a longer timespan. He told us that since he was able just to write down a fictional span of 1-1 1/2 years in these books he had to make the break, otherwise he ASOIAF would be 10 books long.
He said on The Eyrie that he imagines it like Neuschwanstein (esp. how he walked up there) and that CR should be like the Rock of Gibraltar. That means not a fortification on a rock, but a rock as fortification.
One more note. George said that there is no written plan on how ASOIAF will end. So let's all pray for his good health.
...In fact he did not state that he did not know how it will end, he just said that there were no notes on it...
...George _will_ continue the Wildcards series. He thought the books constantly lost appeal since they became too dark, but he really wants to revive the series.
I had planned to go to the Frankfurt Bookfair, where George had said to appear. Min was not too sure whether she'd find the time but she sent a mail to George, asking for a meeting the next friday. On wednesday he called her at work, very politely and quietly waiting to be redirected, even to dial again as she was not there- and confirmed to have lunch with us (Min, her boyfriend and me, that is) at friday, 13:00. We should pick him up at the Fanpro booth. Now Min _was_ sure that she'd go and off we went on Friday morning. Traffic was not too dense so we were there way early. We looked a bit around to find Fanpro and saw George sitting there already and all alone. So Min went up to him, introduced us and asked whether it's a problem or not to start right now (it was 11:00 !!). George said no and so we sat down and chatted a bit. He seemed to be very happy to meet fans as only recently people begin to be interested in him (He told us of an incident where he had a signing session and no-one had appeared for a few hours).
Half an hour later, he invited us to dinner in a restaurant inside the fair where we presented him our present, a Cambridge History of Germany. He was very happy about that since he'd tried to find a book about that topic in English in Germany, but couldn't find one. Then he talked about Leipzig, meeting Omer, and other writers. We talked about Jordan, Tolkien, Cook and Howard, about Arya, Sansa, Sandor, Catelyn (he said that he himself was very surprised by what she did, but he'd had to let her have it her way). About movie business, epublishing, Armageddon Rag, Gothic Rock and Beat-bands, Wild Cards (he constantly came back to that topic), written notes and why people should buy proofs for over $1000. I showed him my drafts for the Castles of Westeros, which he approved.
We went back to Fanpro, still talking about various subjects and later met Werner Fuchs, George's German agent, who showed us the t-shirts (George gave Min the pile to choose one from as gift and she actually picked a Stark one for me! Lady Enchantress, that is.). George willingly signed all the books we gave him. Later he told us that he'd be in Cologne next tuesday, so we agreed on meeting there in the eveing to have lunch together. This first meeting was 4 hours long!
On tuesday, George again called Min to pick him up at a cafe near the Cathedral, which he'd visited after he'd been to the Romanic-German Museum in Cologne. As the chinese restaurant was closed that day, they agreed for a Balinesian one. We met there at 18:30, George bringing Andreas with him, who is his translator. Another friend of Min came with us, so we were 6 people happily eating the balinesian rice-table offered to us. Again lots of talk about ASOIAF, about translations, about Kane and LOTR, about Role-playing with fellow authors and why John Maddox Roberts was not allowed to take part in it. Lots of anecdotes which I won't tell here, and after some beers George even said the one or other not-so-nice thing about some fellow authors, but all with his very warm, nice and touching humour he possesses. Around 23:00 we went to a local in-house-brewery, where Min presented George her personal present while George recollected some incidents that happened to him, e.g. how he was responsible for the fall of the berlin wall. Finally we said good-bye to each other (everyone of us equipped with t-shirts) about 01:00. I had volunteered to drive George back, which took about an hour in which we talked about more serious things, such as history, christianity, ethnic leansing, asimov etc. So after 02:00 I said good-bye to him at the reception of his hotel.
I've met a lot of famous people in my life, but not somebody like George. He was very easy to be around, very witty, funny and good-humoured. It was more like having a beer with your neighbour than with a guy who's received several awards. On two occasions I heard him talk to other people (his agent and his translator) about how proud he was having such "cool" fans. And although he meant Min, D. and me, I think he included the board itself too. He was so enthusiastic about the in-con Asoiaf con and was very proud about it. I'm very proud to have met him.
...About Asimov, I had asked him if he thought about writing an auto-biography, but he said that it would be too boring. He referred to the second part of Asimov's biography where he just writes about when and where he wrote which book and how much money he got out of this, but didn't give away any personal information on his divorce.
...George said that although he has no talent at all to remember people's faces in real life, keeping a cast of thousands inside his head was much easier. He'd forget you in real life, but if you were one of his characters he'll know you.
Yes, in fact he stated he was surprised by what Catelyn did. Those characters seem to have a life of their own that's what makes them so unpredictable.
...I'll not go into details but may point out that GRRM confirmed that there are parallels between christianisation and what's going on in Westeros.