Sorry to those awaiting breathtaking news, but the MG signing didn't reveal a whole lot of new information, most of the questions were geared on the how-do-you-write-such-and-such level. Someone asked if everything was planned out in advance and GRRM replied that while he had to outline in Hollywood he doesn't do it naturally. Although some writers do outline to a fare-thee-well, and he knows the broad strokes going in, it works better if some of the twists and turns are spontaneous along the way. And in the event of his untimely death, we're just SOL. Comments about his writing women characters really well (which he was pleased to hear, because when identifying with a character not of your own gender, you have to do it purely on empathy, and it's nice to hear you got it right). The reading we got was from the Jon Snow meeting Mance Rayder scene. He mentioned that he's picking a different passage for every reading.
I had dinner with him afterwards (weep with envy!), but being a spoiler-phobic person, I talked about a lot of Other Things instead (collecting things off e-bay, origami, comic books, cons, the Frankfurt bookfair (which he said was BIGGER than the ABA with ten halls and attendance in the 100,000s, waiting to see who was president [he'd stayed up until 3:00am while in Toronto the night before], Ran's working out of the Targaryen succession, etc., etc.) But I did get up the courage to blurt out one small SoIaF query, which was if we've met a descendent of Dunk's in the SoIaF. He said yes. I also asked if his older books were coming back into print and he said that Bantam does intend to re-release them, in the order of most-like-SoIaF to least-like: so (I think. I have teflon brain) Dying of the Light, Windhaven, Fevre Dream, and then Armageddon Rag.
I don't think I was very entertaining during dinner, and it was just me and him (or it could be the fact that he'd just lost three hours [shifted from Toronto, the signing was actually 10:30p, and he'd stayed up until 3am for the voting results]. As to how I managed it, I'm still not quite sure, but it started about a dozen years ago at the San Diego Comic-Con. GRRM was still guesting the SDCC because he was doing Wild Cards. At that time, I was having fun learning origami out of books, and I had learned to do a turtle. So, while at a panel, I folded one, and then gave it to him afterwards (for the Wild Card virgins, GRRM wrote a superhero character called The Great and Powerful Turtle for that series). I apparently did this in successive years, although, with my teflon brain, I'd forgotten.
But when I wrote him my first fan e-mail this last August after reading SoS, he remembered, and asked me in the e-mail if I was the person who'd handed him an origami turtle, and was I coming to the signing. I said yes and yes, and he sent me another e-mail asking if I'd like to have dinner with him aftewards. After recovering from the heart attack :^), I said "HELL YES!!!" So, I've had about a month to choose a restaurant and fold origami, and specifically one particular model from a book I had.
[Someone mentions GRRM's statement about how hard it was for him to kill characters, and that he would play computer games to distract himself.]
I loved that, too. Also the mention of Lord Vance as a tribute to Jack Vance (GRRM mentioned that the Dying Earth books are back into print as one volume), and that he starts to put in those kinds of names when he has to fill out a list of minor lordlings and can't come up with anything.
Oh, for the historical fiction fans, the author that GRRM most enjoys is Nigel Tranter (whom he said was often depressing because he wrote about Scottish history :^). We had an interesting conversation, because we were sort of mirror images of each other in our Scottish historical reading. I'd read one Tranter, and all but one (King Hereafter) of Dunnett, while he'd read a little bit of Dunnett and all of Tranter. He mentioned his frustration that Tranter books don't have maps since Tranter tends to describe journeys using ALL the available landmarks (I also stupidly complained about there not being a map of the landmass Dany's on in the books, and he VERY politely pointed out to me that there was one in SoS [O the shame!]). He also recommended that I compare and contrast how both Tranter and Dunnett write about MacBeth, going off in very different directions with essentially the same historical material. And also that while he'd read some of the Niccoló series, he'd never read Lymond. I told him to stop reading Niccoló and start reading Lymond, or he'd be really confused by Unicorn Hunt. He said he hadn't got that far with Niccoló, yet.
I asked GRRM if we'd met one of Dunk's descendents in the SoIaF, and he said Yes. I didn't ask him who, because I'd rather find out by reading or reason, only I'm lousy at the reasoning part and want to make you guys do it for me.
Found out from GRRM over dinner last night that the BosKone book will have four pieces in it. The two previously unpublished pieces already mentioned [the script for the pilot of Starport, a proposed SF tv series, and the first part of what would have been a mainstream historical/horror novel set during the height of yellow journalism in the late 19th century, Black and White and Read All Over, "Blood of the Dragon", and "The Skin Trade."
God, my teflon-brain worsens. Another driplet missing from my reports: I asked if we were going to Dorne in DoD, and GRRM said "Yes. Briefly." I guess that means we're gonna see at least a few more Dornishmen.
A couple more drips and dribbles of what I remember: I mentioned that Beauty and the Beast scene (in the episode "Snow") I'd found where Snow dressed all in black (Lance Henriksen) says to Gabriel (Stephen McHattie), "Cold Night." and Gabriel replies "Yes. Winter is coming." He laughed pretty hard and said something along the lines of no harm in using a good image over. I then got cute and asked him if Winter was ever gonna frickin' arrive. He said, "Yes. In Book 5: the Winds of Winter."
LE's description of the Rock jiggled loose another small piece from the San Diego signing. Someone complimented GRRM on his ability to write realistic swordfights, and he thanked the guy, and mentioned that he uses experts to help fact/feel check for him: he knows an architect who can help with the castle designs, an SCA combat expert to help with the swordfights and a horseowner (something he said made me guess Melinda Snodgrass, but not sure) to keep him from turning horses into "cars with legs," as one sees in lots of fantasy. All the names of the guilty parties :^) are listed and thanked for their help at the end of the books.