I picked up Mr. Martin from his hotel at 9:45 p.m. (shame on me as I was supposed to pick him up at 9 o'clock, but I couldn't ran away from work until a bit later). SO I met him at his hotel, and apologised at least 40 times for the delay (which is typical spanish of course!). we took a taxi, and headed towards Plaza del Sol. In the taxi we talked about our lives, as I showed him all of Madrid's buildings that were on the way. A note for spanish people, Mr Martin met his agent in Spain and I understood that he was going to get published in spanish soon enough, but don't believe me over this wholeheartedly... well, we arrived to the Plaza Mayor, we're we had some beers.
We talked a lot about spanish history (The Cidian legend, the Moors and the Reconquest, spanish military orders, spanish titles... etc) and he told me that he did not borrow much (if anything at all!) from spanish history, since his only language, is, of course, english. We talked about trivial things and joked (I tell you, such a contagious laughter!)- Then, we proceeded to talk about Literature, when he asked me if I read fantasy. I confessed that I read a lot of history and historic novels, and that I read fewer and fewer fantasy. We talked about authors like Jordan, Raymond E. Feist, Terry Goodkind ( I have 3 books from his series, which I bought a couple of years ago, and still haven't touched them yet), Ursula Leguin, Robin Hobb and Guy Gavriel Kay (which we both admire). We spent a lot of time talking about the Wars of the Roses and we talked about the Yorkist, Lancastrian and Tudor ancestry and claims, and we compared our sources. We also touched a lot the Cathar heresy and the Templar implication on it.
We talked about the Spanish empire, Charles V and Phillip II and their reigns, the disaster of the Armada. We also talked about the classics: Shakespeare and Cervantes essentially. We also spent a lot of time talking on Colleen McCullough, and it turns out, that Martin is eagerly awaiting for her next book to come out ( so am I... the October Horse for those interested). We also talked about Patrick O'Brien and naval novels. And he admitted to be a fan of alternate history novels.
Of course, we had to speak about the father of fantasy: JRR Tolkien... and his disciples (mainly Guy Gavriel Kay). Mr Martin confessed that he was eagerly awaiting for the Lord of the Rings film, since as he told me, after the disappointment of Willow, it is a major chance for fantasy to conquer Hollywood... he also confessed that the success of the film could open the gates of Hollywood to many modern fantasists, including himself... oh, wouldn't a SOIAF film be wonderful!!!
After that we went to some "mesones" (typical castilian inns) to have dinner.... and we talked about ASOIAF over some delicious hams, cheeses, sausages, olives, omelettes, and wine. There are some subjects that I will just point out (and I will keep the information to myself. Please understand that I believe that Mr Martin said certain things in confidence; a confidence I will not break, of course), others, I'll make an effort to recall what was said:
* Ser Loras ( and I will keep this to myself as he was explicit) (sic!) LOL
* Warriors and Knights: he told me that he was sort of fed up when people wrote to him asking "who's the strongest fighter? Who's the best? Etc." He explained to me that there are some very strong fighters, he only mentioned 3: the 2 Cleganes and Loras.... ;) however, he could not conceive how people could wonder who was the best in a fight, battle or duel.... it just depends in the day, and everything... a fight is part strength and skill, but outside factors weigh much more that those 2.
* The Lannister succession
* Valyria... oh, and we will get to know much more on the Free Cities during the next books
* Brienne... we joked a lot about this. He told me that it was insane and foolish to believe that as in all fantasy, women warriors were fair and beautiful... For mercy's sake! Female warriors are ugly, manly and brutish... if not how could you expect them to fight against the likes of Clegane!
* I asked him if the Baratheon fight for the throne was after the Trastamara struggle in Castile, (as I asked him in an email) and he replied that well... who knows!! All over the world there have been struggles for thrones! What applies to one is the same in the rest.
* If Robert Baratheon takes after any King in history, that's Edward IV...
* The Wildlings and Tormund... (literally "Oh yes... he is a nice fellow")
* Dorne... and the border struggles in the Marches.... well I cant remember a lot about this precise matter. But he told me that well yes, there have always been skirmishes in the Marches, and new fuel to the Dornish hate towards Highgarden was added when the Young Dragon appointed the Lord of Highgarden as regent...
* Martin does not read the board at all!... sometimes his girlfriend visits us, and comments him about certain matters
* In his books, he takes ideas from everywhere (for example, the Rock is taken from the rock of Gibraltar - for which I glared at him... after all I am a Spaniard!), but he makes these bigger and wider... (Casterly Rock is way way way way bigger than Gibraltar)
* Ways in which you could storm and take the Eyrie with an army... :) basically just besiege it completely, and they will give up!