The Citadel: SSM

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Vericon (Harvard University, MA; January 27-29)

Vericon is a wonderful concept; a small college convention catering primarily to youth. There is anime aplenty, webcomics galore, and cosplay abounds. Furries rub shoulders with those present for the Dance Dance Revolution tournament, while the CCG people huddled in their bunkers strategizing world domination through cardboard.

It was a geekfest in grand Harvard style.

On Friday night, George had a panel on magic with lesser known authors Greer Gilman and Sarah Smith.

Ms Gilman was asked some sort of question about inherent mythology in her world, and she stated that her world's inhabitants know that if they do not perform certain rites, then the sun wil not come up.

George then said, and I am paraphrasing, "Well, they don't know that for sure, do they? They've never tested it."
Greer: "They just know. If certain things aren't done, the sun will not come up."
George: "Has the sun ever not come up before?"
Greer: "No."
George: "So how do they know? They only suspect."
A flustered Greer: "They know, just as they know that if they drop a pot it will shatter."
A jovial George: "They know that because they've dropped pots before."<
Sarah Smith: "Well in my books, the magic is very subtle."

I found this exchange hilarious. I just thought I'd share it.

After the panel, George gave a reading from A Dance With Dragons, and although it was the Davos chapter he had previously read, this was the first time he had officially done a reading from ADwD. If you want spoilers from the chapter, wonderful ones are provided already in the ADwD forum.

After the reading we (my wife Maureen and I) went back to George's suite with him and some of the convention organizers. We ordered in pizza and soda, and spent the next few hours in an ever-fascinating conversation.

It's always a surprise how wonderful and interesting a human being George is. I never fail to be amazed.

On Saturday, George sat on a panel about 'Love in Fantasy' which inevitably turned to 'Sex in Fantasy.' I wasn't present at the panel, but that's the report I got. (Maureen and I were sleeping in after a long Friday night.)

We also missed his signing across the street at the Harvard Book Store in the early afternoon. Harvard campus is a difficult place to find parking, so we had taken the train in. I was simply NOT willing to take my beloved collectibles on public transportation, so I'm holding off on getting things signed until Boskone. (3 weeks is hardly a long time)

On Saturday afternoon, George gave his Guest of Honor speech. The topic was 'Why We Read,' and like all of Martin's work, it was moving. I'd like to get a transcript at some point.....perhaps he'll make it available at his website. His assertion was that we read for vicarious experience. He's fought a thousand wars, loved a thousand women, all from the comfort of his home. I'm incapable of condensing his hour long speech and expressing all he touched upon... here's hoping he makes it available.

After the speech, Maureen and I took George out for a burger at the local 'famous burger place.' There's something infinitely cool about having a burger with your favorite author.

Saturday night featured ASoIaF skits performed by the Harvard SF association. This included an 'ICE and FIRE PUB: Live Characters Only' skit that was Westeros meets Cheers. Then there was a World of Warcraft Westeros movie which portrayed Ned Stark as the infamous Leeroy Jenkins. "That dumbass got everybody killed!"

Then came the grand finale....... Celebrity Jeopardy in Westeros. The contestants were Arya Stark, Hodor, and Robert Baratheon. (as Sean Connery from Saturday Night Lives Celebrity Jeopardy skits) Alex Trebek was the host, of course.

In classic celebrity Jeopardy style, Trebek gets sick of the constant stupidity and moves on to final Jeopardy where he asks the contestants to write down their names.

Arya, of course, has a hard time with this task. She just has too many names. She ends up getting mad and adding Alex Trebek to her infamous 'list.' "Ser Gregor, The Hound, The Tickler, Raff The Sweetling, Alex Trebek."

Hodor got his name right. (His first correct answer of the evening.) Unfortunately, his wager was Hodor.

King Robert's answer to 'Write down your name' was 'Other's.' Of course King Robert Baratheon is not an Other...... but the answer made sense when his wager was revealed, and the entire sentence came into view.....

"You're mOther's a whore, Trebek!"

George was howling with mirth, and I for one almost peed myself.

I'm trying to get a recording of the skits on tape so that I can upload it and share it. If unavailable, the entire skit may be performed again at Boskone in a few weeks..... at least I'm trying to make that happen. Stay tuned.

We finished up the evening in proper BwB fashion, drinking at a local brew pub.

We said our farewells to George at a reasonably late hour, with a "see you in a few weeks at Boskone!" I've promised George that we will make Boskone memorable for him, and that many more BwB members will make it. You all need to help me fulfill this promise. Stay tuned for that, as well.

-----I forgot to add that we were not priviledged this weekend with the presence of the wonderful Parris. She was indeed missed.

...

I don't know what other's have heard and passed on.....

My understanding from what I've heard is that "Yes, we will see Arya." Asha was NEVER mentioned.

I asked George later "But will Arya see us?" He said, of course not.....she's a fictional character....she can't see the reader. "But will she see...I dunno.....anything?"

"That would be telling," he said merrily.

The book, as I understand it will feature Jon, Dany, Tyrion, Davos, and probably Theon(?) and the other mystery POV. Arya will be in towards the end, he said.

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