George RR Martin reading: George did indeed read from The World of Ice and Fire, a lengthy excerpt concerning Aegon's conquest of the Seven Kingdoms, with some character info on the Targaryen siblings and a little history of the line from its Valyrian exit to the Conquest. The best parts were some of the more detailed ones, such as the fall of Harrenhall, the Final Storm (the Targaryen conquest of the Storm Kings), and the Targaryen sibling character sketches (Aegon was nearly as mysterious to his era as he was to the Ice & Fire era, Rhaenys was his favorite sister-wife but she may have dabbled with other bed-mates, etc.) He also said that the conceit (at least in their minds, not sure that it will be a formal part of the book) being used is that Linda and Elio are writing from the perspective of one arch-maester and George is writing from the perspective of another, more opinionated one.
He read for nearly the entire hour so only took one question: will there be more Dunk & Egg stories? Yes, he said, in fact there is one being done for a short story collection and then these four will be collected into a single volume together (although do not expect that for several years).
I caught up with George briefly afterwards and asked him if he considers this to be like his Silmarillion. He laughed and said probably not, especially since Tolkien had many songs in The Silmarillion. I suggested maybe it was time he wrote some and he laughed again and said perhaps he should.
A couple more details from Day One now that I've slept a bit :)
--George mentioned the maps book in passing and said, despite repeated fan requests, there will never be a full world map...he used his often-cited reasoning that folks in the Middle Ages didn't have full world maps, or at least accurate ones, so why should the folks of Westeros?
--The Aegon's conquest section began with the Targaryens leaving Valyria and the reason why. It then followed the line, briefly and quickly, through the settlement of Dragonstone. It also covered Aegon's landing at Aegon's Fort/King's Landing and the various ways in which each of the Seven Kingdoms was, or was not, subdued. IIRC, the submissions of Harren the Black, Argelac the Arrogant (the last of the Storm Kings), the Lannisters, the Gardeners, the Arryns, the Martells, Oldtown, and the Starks were all given a bit of explanation, with more detail being spent on the battles for Harrenhall and Storm's End, as well as the unique way in which submission of the Arryns was achieved and the lack of conquest of Dorne. The Dorne passage included an awesome description of how the Dornishmen all faded away in front of the armies of Aegon's sister (forget which one), leaving only the 70-ish years old Princess of Dorne to openly defy the Targaryen and her dragon.
--He also mentioned which other sections he had done, but of course they've escaped me now...I think the original Dance with Dragons has a section, as well as some information on Aegon's peacetime policies and some history on the rule of his sons Aenys and Maegor the Cruel.
--The book will include some information on the Dawn Age and the Age of Heroes (presumably by Linda and Elio), but George pointed out that even in the age of the books these were long-distant times with little in the way of accurate information.
--George said that though this seemed like a somewhat easy task, basically collecting money while everyone else did most of the work, it hasn’t been quite like that. The information is background information that the people in the books know (just like we know about Thomas Jefferson without having to recap all that name means and implies) but that doesn’t directly come into the story or the characters’ discussions. In short, it exists and is fairly easily put forth, rather than being created from whole cloth. The problem is that he’s always been a big believer in show not tell and writing this sort of historical material in an appropriate voice requires mostly telling and very little showing.
--Francisco is correct re: the timing of the Dunk and Egg book. The new one will be in an anthology that won’t be out until later this year and that anthology holds the rights for a full year…then the D&E rights revert and the collection can be published.
Genre in Film and TV Panel: This was my favorite panel as it was basically GRRM, Melinda Snodgrass, and Michael Cassutt just shooting the breeze. They talked a bit about various shows and why they may have failed (Terra Nova, V, Life on Mars) and what kind of shows seem to be working now as genre fare (GOT for one). They were not confident that SyFy's recent announcement of a Blake's 7 remake will stick, mostly due to lack of confidence in that channel to do it right. They also enthusiastically brainstormed the idea of Beverly Hills 90210 with dinosaurs in it, so be prepared for that to hit the screen near you soon. Michael Cassutt was really cool and really funny, he had George in honest-to-goodness giggling fits on at least three occasions with his wisecracks. The dinosaur schtick also led George to tease us that despite dinos often being done wrong and used as ineffective window-dressing (Terra Nova, looking at you), fellow New Mexico writer Victor Milan's upcoming Dinosaur Lords trilogy from Tor does the "big, f-ing lizards" right. I've been hearing about this series off-and-on for a bit, so this added to my interest.
So, he confirmed Dangerous Women anthology for the publication later this year? Could you remember what's the name of the last Storm King?
On the anthology, I believe so... keeping in mind lots of events between Friday night and now. :) The last Storm King was Argilac the Arrogant, who was conquered by Orys Baratheon, King's Hand to Aegon. Orys joined his line with the Storm Kings' by taking Argilac's daughter as his wife.
That's the Princess of Dorne rather than a king's sister. Who is mocked as the Yellow Toad, but... she's pretty badass, let me tell you. ;)
... yes, she is a tough toad! In the excerpt, she basically sits alone in an empty throneroom and tells Aegon's sister (who rode in on a dragon, mind you) to get lost.
This is so cool! I actually find myself wanting this "World" book more than the next installment. Also, very interesting about Orys being the first Hand. Any other details that come to mind? What was the "unique" method of forcing Arryns to submit?
While I'm definitely pumped, I think I'd vote for Winds of Winter myself. :) George was right when he said this was a lot of telling, rather than showing. The best sections were when the telling gave way to a bit of showing (conquest of Harrenhall, etc.)...that's definitely his strength. What I'm really interested in is how the whole will come together; remember that George was really reading from a sidebar article and there will be a bunch more "stuff" in the book itself.
The Arryns (also at this time ruled by a young boy and his regent mother) sent a massive army to the Bloody Gate and then high-tailed it into the Eyrie. But Visenya Targaryen simply rode her dragon up into the courtyard of the Eyrie and the regent rushed outside to see the young king seated on the dragon and begging her for a ride. The Arryns surrendered and the king had his ride.