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[Note: This report draws from two separate events at the convention: a reception for GRRM as Guest of Honor on the 6th and a Q&A on the 7th.]
The book is not done, but he did say "soon". He has 1527 manuscript pages done, making it bigger than aSoS. He says he has about 100 pages left to go, in various stages of doneness.
He confirmed that the publishing will be rushed, since the book is so late, and that the American and the British publishers are working together so that the UK version will not necessarily come out earlier than the American version. Maybe a *little* earlier, but not by much.
He has "a few" chapters done for aDwD, with a [spoiler removed] chapter specifically mentioned.
Dany has more chapters than anyone. He also said that Dany's love life is going to become "extremely complex"
Dorne and the Iron Islands will be a big part of the book.
The name pronoucinations on the audio books are NOT necessarily per George. The people doing the recording asked him about maybe 15 of the harder names, but they screwed up some of the simpler ones, Petyr Baelish being one of them (it's just Peter, not Pee-tier).
The names Arya and Sansa are meant to represent the polar opposites of their characters, Arya being a hard sounding name, Sansa a softer more pretty name, etc.
Parris has proclaimed that Arya cannot die! (No, she wasn't there :( but he mentioned it when someone said that he's not allowed to kill Dany)
He has half of the next Dunk and Egg story finished.
Hammer, I asked him about the women taking over, and all he really said was that he realized it after he had four female chapters in a row, and with the breaking down of the prolouge it gave him more female POVs.
The Rainbow Guard isn't meant to symbolize Renly's sexuality. It was more of a culmination of several unrelated things, such as the fact that he'd already used white for the Kingsguard and black for the Night's Watch. A rainbow is seven colors combined together in one object - he compared it to a shamrock being a Irish Catholic symbol of the Holy Trinity, three parts which make up one thing. Plus it has seven colors and is tied to the Seven, plus worshipers of the Seven use prism rainbows in their temples.
And speaking of Renly and Loras...
George specifically stated "Yes, I did intend those characters to be gay." Not that we didn't already know that of course, but I don't believe it's ever been actually confirmed before.
All of this information came from a GOH reception party, which was specifically open to people who registered early and paid to be a "premium" member, so it was a really small gathering and a really great experience just to sit and listen to George talk for about two and a half hours straight. And he knows me! This amuses me to no end. :D
So yeah, in short, book not done but soon, lots of Dany, the Ironborn, and the Dornish, and Renly and Loras were INDEED knocking boots.
[Note: Immediately below is a quote of GRRM's response to the question of how much time does A Feast for Crows cover internally.]
"Way, way, way, way, way, way short" He didn't give an exact time though 'cause he refused to call on me until the very end. Figures!
George wanted to be able to announce the completion of the book this weekend, but obviously he can't do that if it's not done. Is it wrong that I'm hoping for KC? ;)
He has one chapter left to largely still be written, the rest of the unfinished chapters are mostly done. He repeated the fact that the book will be done "soon".
He's still saying that he's planning on 6 books, maybe pushing it to 7.
Coming up with the names for the characters is very tough. They can't be too weird (with like apostrophies and stuff) and they can't be too "real", like Francois or Patrick or any kind of a name that is tied to a place (Sandor being a Hungarian name was unintentional)
Many things happened at Harrenhall. Some are known, some are unknown. Yeah, we mostly knew that already, but I thought I'd mention it.
The seasons are "completely fantasy based". There's no sci-fi type element to it at all.
After the third Dunk and Egg novella is published, he is thinking about binding all three stories into one book, with some "linking materials" (no details given). He wants to do "six, or seven, or eight" and then do the two or three bound copies of multiple stories.
Hopefully we'll learn more at KC...the problem with these panels is that people ask questions we already know the answers to. :)
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