I managed to make it to this signing, so a quick report.
It was interesting to meet GRRM in the flesh and hear him talk. He looks just like his photos and is obviously smart and very widely read (no surprise there). There were about 40 - 50 people present, with a wide mixture of types, though mostly male.
GRRM talked for about 30 minutes and answered questions for another 15 before the signing started. A lot of people had questions, and I didn't get a chance to ask mine. He didn't say anything new, but I gleaned a few titbits:
- He wasted a lot of time trying to make the 5 year gap work, mostly because he had told so many people there was going to be one, and felt that he had to deliver. Otherwise AFfC would have come out significantly earlier.
- He spent some time talking about his theory that, in most fantasy, the fantasy world itself is a major character.
- He quoted Kipling, which amused me for some reason.
- When saying he would not answer questions about the plot he said "So don't ask me who Jon's [slight pause] mother is." I definitely picked up a little subtext "Yes I know there are theories that Ned is not Jon's father, but I am not going to put the idea into the head of anyone who has not already heard of them."
- When dealing with the "who is your favourite character" question he said "Tyrion has a personality most similar to my own. [Slight pause and then quickly] But I haven't killed my father though". It felt like he was saying that as a sudden afterthought, so unless he was being very devious indeed, it seems that Tyrion is indeed Tywin's son. (I may be biased though, as I have always disliked the idea of A+J=Tyrion.)
The Kipling quote was the one that goes something like:
There are nine and ninety ways
Of writing tribal lays
And every single one of them is right