I went. He read the first Jon chapter from Dance with Dragons (which I won't go into here because of obvious spoilers). Then he took questions from the audience for the rest of the time. For the most part he didn't say anything we haven't already heard from other interviews. I haven't read every interview with him ever so it may be something people already know, but someone asked him about the whole "dream casting" thing, and he said that he thinks Ron Perlman would make a great Sandor Clegane. Let's see what else... It was mostly stuff he's said other places, that there will be one new POV in the next book and that people we adore are going to die. Most of the questions people asked were about his writing method and such. I had to leave a little early to get to the Battlestar panel (sacrilege, I know), so I may have missed some. He did an extra signing today too and was giving away free copies of Game of Thrones (paperback reissues). Anyway I took notes on the Jon chapter, but I imagine someone might already have posted that from another con. If not I'll post something after the end of the weekend if people want and it wouldn't be a total faux pas.
[Veira later noted that the word "adore" was part of his paraphrasing, and was not necessarily a quote of what GRRM said. Suffice it to say, in any case, GRRM indicated that significant characters from the novels can be expected to die.]
He did another panel yesterday with R.A. Salvatore and a few other authors that was really entertaining. I missed the beginning of it on account of the shuttle being late, did anyone catch it? Also if anyone saw the Snakes on a Plane thing today I'm curious what they did. As far as I know he won't be doing a reading on Saturday since it's another shared panel. So there won't really be time for that.
[Additional reporting from the panel.]
It seemed like not many other people made it to the Thursday panel, or if they did they haven't posted anything about it. If you missed it and were wondering what was talked about, a lot of the same questions were asked on the Friday & Saturday panels. Of course, not all the questions were for GRRM; he was sharing the panel with R.A. Salvatore, Elizabeth Bear, Jenna Rhodes and Anne Groell. That's what the program said, anyway, but there was another author there whose name I didn't catch who is a veterinarian (?). I was late, afterall, but I really do suck at this. No more note taking for me! Since no one else has posted about Thursday, I'll keep on going, but it ain't gonna be pretty
There was some fairly humorous banter between GRRM and Salvatore, who at one point asked GRRM if he has a giant, wall-sized whiteboard in his house to keep track of all the ice & fire characters that he then puts red X's through when they get killed. GRRM replied that's what his fans on the message board are for lol.gif
Some of the points that wound up being repeated in later panels included some discussion of the "architect" (build the world first, a la Tolkien) vs. "gardener" (plant a seed and tend it as it grows) approaches to writing, GRRM coming from the gardener camp. He also talked about making danger to any given character feel real by establishing early on that he's "playing for keeps" by killing a main character. Otherwise, readers tend to think of main characters as invincible (the whole 'he's not going to die, he's the hero!' thing) and as a result the story isn't as engaging. At one point an audience member asked the panel something about making young-reader-friendly material, in response to which GRRM expressed his concern at receiving fan letters from 11 year olds, wondering if their parents know what they're reading.
R.A. Salvatore said some pretty funny stuff too, such as one time he couldn't remember what various tricks/goodies/whatnots a particular character had used up, so he anonymously posted on a message board asking what people thought that character had left in his backpack. He got about 10 pages in response and saved himself a lot of work. He also said that he majored in math in college. At least for me, it was very reassuring to hear that if you 'accidentally' went into math/science it's still possible to change careers so dramatically.